As you read this I am driving up towards the Great White North. While I deal with traffic, border shenanigans and the quest for a cup of Tim Horton’s, enjoy this review of Dreamcatcher, courtesy of Monica Flink. Please check out her blog, at Poached Prose.
When I find something true, or originally mind-blowing enough to leave an impression on me, I like to pay homage in a sincere show of flattery that does not evolve into all-out ass kissing. As such, I knew when I was going to review Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, I could only pay homage to one man. That is right, I’m going to give a huge nod to the Nostalgia Critic, and we’re going to play The Stephen King Drinking Game. Because that is the only way we are all going to get through this movie. Warning: The Stephen King Drinking Game is only for those with the iron liver of a Depression-Era Irish bootlegger.
Dreamcatcher is the story of five friends who are going on a hunting trip just outside of Derry, Maine. If you recognized that every Stephen King story takes place in Derry, go ahead and take your shot. On their hunting trip the four friends realize that something is going on when animals begin fleeing the forest in droves, and a military presence is keeping people from leaving the area.
The animals always recognize evil first. I think the presence of Damian Lewis tipped them off.
The four childhood friends, Henry (Thomas Jane), Beaver (Jason Lee), Jonesy (Damian Lewis), and Pete (Timothy Olyphant), find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion, the infected human beings characterized by a red rash across their skin that is colloquially called the Ripley, after “…the broad in the Alien movies.” What’s that, a group of friends that have been together since childhood? Take another shot. Infection of the Ripley means flatulence, illness symptoms, and eventually an alien creature emerges from one of the holes we all have, the rectum.
These creatures, called “shit-weasels” by the government (Really? Shit-weasels was the best they could come up with? You know what, take a shot. You’re going to need it.) eventually grow and lay eggs to make more of their kind. The four friends discover this in different ways, Jonesy and Beaver get stuck with one in the cabin, while Henry and Pete discover a woman with the Ripley when they have a car accident in the snow.
It looks like a sperm with teeth. So basically anything that would come from Mel Gibson’s shriveled sack.
In flashbacks, it is revealed that the four friends made a fifth friend who does not visit the cabin with them named Douglas, a mentally disabled boy they rescue from bullies one day, who proudly declares himself “I Duddits!” and talks about someone named Mr. Gray all the time. What is this, half a Stephen King story told in flashbacks, and one-dimensional, completely irredeemable bullies put there to make the heroes draw closer? You just took two shots, didn’t you?
Henry figures out somehow that this alien problem is something that Duddits, now a mentally disabled adult dying of leukemia played by Donnie Wahlberg, needs to help fix. You are slowly and menially led through two stories, the story of Henry trying to get to Duddits to help stop the head alien, Mr. Gray, against the overpowering military efforts of Colonel Abraham Curtis (Morgan Freeman), and of Jonesy, who has Mr. Gray’s incorporeal spirit stuck in his head, attempting to poison the water source with alien eggs.
Hey, did you forget to take a shot when an overbearing authority figure was mentioned? Shame on you. Make it up now.
Where are Beaver and Pete during all this, you might ask? Well they were conveniently killed off so that there would be no inconvenient need to develop them past the smart-mouthed and womanizing stages their characters were in, respectively. The story is dull, when something about aliens that ravage your innards and take over your brain should be exploding with excellence, and the actors, the big name actors in this movie which include Tom Sizemore, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Timothy Olyphant, and Jason Lee, are phoning in their performances. The only one not half-assing it is Donnie Walhberg, and he has to play someone mentally deficient the entire time.
Think they’d notice if we just flagged someone down and went to go make better movies?
The director, Lawrence Kasdan, is better than this. The man has movies to his credit like The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dreamcatcher just looks cheaply made for something that had nearly 70 million dollars poured into it, and the end is as anti-climactic as you can get with alien-on -alien action. It’s clear it wanted to be something more, and tried so hard that it popped like an over-ripe tomato on a hot kitchen counter.
If there is anything redeemable in this movie, it would be the child actors in the flashbacks. From the pop culture references that only someone King’s age would understand (take a shot) to the insurmountable courage that they all have which seems to disappear as neurotic adults (take another shot), the kids are the best actors in the whole damn movie. Except maybe for the shit-weasels. Those computer generated little bastards do some good by killing folk off for us.
If you are going to watch a movie based on a Stephen King novel, I suggest one of the ones that are either from his earlier years, such as Carrie or have nothing mystical or paranormal about them at all, like The Shawshank Redemption. These films will be far more entertaining, and will not get you nearly as drunk. Now call your DD and thank the Nostalgia Critic for sharing the whiskey-soaked love.
I think we both know this is just my paycheck movie. Those penguins didn’t pay crap.