Dreamcatcher

"Weak"

Dreamcatcher Review


Lawrence Kasdan's Dreamcatcher begins with intriguing promise -- a series of icy cool, shape-shifting visuals make for an eerie credits sequence. Enjoy it while you can, because it's downhill from there in this Stephen King-based thriller. It does take a little while for Kasdan's adaptation to completely fall apart, so there are some decent shakes and scares along the way -- but nowhere near enough to make for a satisfying moviegoing experience.

The story is classic King territory. Four kids stick together like glue in Derry, New Hampshire (Stand By Me), grow up to be adults with their own demons (It), become hindered by snow (The Shining) during a hunting trip, and end up face-to-face with a higher supernatural power (The Stand). In this case, the four men have their own dangerous mental strength as a result of their lifelong friendship with Douglas "Duddits" Cavell (Donnie Wahlberg), a mentally retarded man with overpowering gifts.

Kasdan, who receives co-writing credit with legendary scripter William Goldman (All The President's Men, The Princess Bride, Misery) trips up in so many ways that it's hard to get a singular handle on what went wrong. To begin, Kasdan and Goldman stuff enough subplots into the film to make the whole thing feel oddly disjointed. Aliens have landed in Maine. Underground militia groups work to kill the aliens and cover up the situation. A mentally slow man sends messages to his friends. There's lots of mind reading. A car accident. A body possession. A couple of people farting like mad (I'm not joking).

Kasdan doesn't spend enough time digging into any particular plotline long enough to develop his characters (Morgan Freeman's soldier is the biggest liability), flesh out the more fascinating ideas (a man physically guards his own memories), and get us to a fully realized ending. In fact, the final showdown is not much of one at all, relying on blah special effects and a too-fast resolution that lies limp before cutting to black. Kasdan spends 2 1/4 hours trying to pace his film, only to end with a quick snap that cries, "Thanks for coming, drive home safely!"

Oddly, the performances in Dreamcatcher are uniformly bad (save for the always-entertaining Jason Lee). As Henry, one of the fated foursome, Thomas Jane (61*, Boogie Nights) looks plainly uncomfortable in a movie of this genre; Tom Sizemore, as military man Owen Underhill, is flat; and Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers), in the pivotal role of Jonesy, is too wide-eyed and showy to be believable. In fact, Lewis's journey into dual roles is even a little laughable.

King fans probably won't appreciate this translation of the book, as is usually the case (after 45-plus such theatrical adaptations). Most annoying is the amount of King's book dialogue that makes it to the screen. When King has a character use quirky, self-conscious phrases like "fuckarow" and "Jesus Christ Bananas", it provides a morsel of comic relief within a 700+ page drama but on the screen it sounds wholly contrived.

There's an intense mood that's palpable on the surface of the film, but Kasdan is unsuccessful at building on it. Instead, he often rushes through vital scenes, particularly those involving the guys' past, featuring sub-par adolescent actors (ugh, there's nothing worse to crack a movie's realism). In essence, fans of this film will be people who enjoy a simple monster movie because, at its core, that's exactly what Dreamcatcher is, providing occasional chills and, unfortunately, passing on the bigger opportunities.

The DVD adds the usual collection of featurettes and deleted scenes -- including an alternate ending that's functionally the same as what ended up in the film. What's missing is the footage where they haul out Stephen King and Lawrence Kasdan and dump them in a well. If they never shot that, they should've.

Busy spider.



Dreamcatcher

Facts and Figures

Run time: 134 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st March 2003

Box Office USA: $33.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $75.7M

Budget: $68M

Distributed by: Warner Bros.

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Castle Rock Entertainment, NPV Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 118

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Col. Abraham Curtis, as Dr. Henry Devlin, as Joe 'Beaver' Clarenden, as Gary 'Jonesy' Jones, as Pete Moore, as Lt. Owen Underhill, as Douglas 'Duddits' Cavell, Mikey Holekamp as Young Henry, as Young Beaver, Giacomo Baessato as Young Jonesy, Joel Palmer as Young Pete, Andrew Robb as Young Duddits, Rosemary Dunsmore as Roberta Cavell, as General Matheson, Eric Keenleyside as Rick McCarthy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.