movie: charlie st. cloud

"charlie st. cloud" starring zac efronback in august, i read the book THE DEATH AND LIFE OF CHARLIE ST. CLOUD and i liked it enough that i was looking forward to watch the movie. so i did.

after a few months of waiting, CHARLIE ST. CLOUD is now showing in theaters. i wish i could say it was worth the wait.

first, a recap: CHARLIE ST. CLOUD is the story of charlie, a young man who blames himself for the death of his younger brother sam. he makes a promise to his younger brother that he will never let him go. and he never does. until he meets a girl named tess. and then charlie begins to wonder if there’s something in life he’s missing.

this premise remains in the movie, but for some reason, it doesn’t feel like the same story.

i have this belief that books and movies are separate things, even when they have the same story. i like to pretend that this is so, so that i don’t get disappointed when the movie fails to meet my set expectation. for the most part this works. it didn’t work with CHARLIE ST. CLOUD.

that’s because the movie wants to tell the exact same tale as the book–but it changes a lot of small details that it doesn’t live up to the original story. now, these changes doesn’t really matter if you compare the book and movie side-to-side. the movie’s main plot, of charlie having to choose between life and death, is still the same as the book’s. but because of these changes, the movie feels disjointed, with a lot of superfluous scenes.

one. in the book, charlie and tess are high school classmates, but they only meet again when charlie accidentally disturbs tess at her father’s grave. in the movie, charlie and tess have three other chance meetings before charlie accidentally disturbs tess. it really shouldn’t matter, but these three scenes feel too much like a set-up. which they are. but they’re really not needed as you don’t care much about tess until after that disturbance at the graveyard.

that, and the fact that the change in first meeting also affects how their story ends.

two. in the book, tink is a caring friend who would do everything to help tess. in the movie, you don’t even feel his presence. in fact, an opportunity for drama is missed when they degrade tink’s character from charlie’s foil, to a plot device that would get charlie pushing to search for tess.

"charlie st. cloud" starring zac efronthree. in the book, tess can see sam. and sam even gives his approval for charlie to start dating tess. and this is the biggest “small” change they had done in the movie. because in the movie, sam doesn’t like tess. and we don’t even get an inkling that tess can see sam.

now, for you spoiler-phobes, that’s something they already showed in the trailer. so technically, it’s not a spoiler. technically. take from that what you will.

back to the point i was making.

by making sam not like tess in the movie, you make charlie unlikeable when he starts choosing between sam and tess. sure, a person should always choose to live in the present and not the past, but that doesn’t make tess look any better when she “forces” charlie to pick between her and his dead brother.

the conflict in charlie is more real when charlie has to choose between the brother tess likes, and the girlfriend his brother likes. neither one will want the other gone. and charlie knows that whoever he picks would live with the fact that he picked him/her over the other. it’s a heavier conflict. because both choices affect each other.

whereas in the movie, the choices are of different worlds: one in the world of living, the other in the world of the dead. which one would you pick? it’s not a hard decision, right?

so yes, i have serious issues about the movie. and there i was thinking zac efron was perfect for the role of charlie st. cloud. it’s too bad that he played a different version of charlie.

movie: resident evil: afterlife

staring milla jovovichi’m not a gamer. but i do like playing video games. and i think it was BIO HAZARD that got me so interested in zombies in the first place. so RESIDENT EVIL, the american counterpart of BIO HAZARD has a special place in my heart.

when the game was first made into a movie, i cringed. i hated the first movie. especially since i thought they lost the creep factor of the game. in the game, you come in cold, but you know that something’s not right with the house. i don’t remember what happened in the first scene of the movie RESIDENT EVIL, but i do remember being disappointed.

the movie was more action than horror.

and then RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE came out. and it had game protagonist jill valentine in it. and i was hooked. i watched that film for jill valentine (played brilliantly by sienna guillory), and i was not disappointed. i had already prepared myself for a not-so-good story, so coming out of the second movie, no hopes were dashed.

and then news came out that jill valentine will not be part of RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION. but instead they will have claire redfield, another game character, join the movie franchise’s main protagonist. so i gave it a chance. and while it wasn’t good, it wasn’t as horrible as the first movie.

that first movie really sucked.

but not as much as this last movie did. RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE suffers a condition known as 3D-overkill. the very first 3D movie i watched suffered from this too. which movie? the remake of JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, starring brendan fraser. but let’s get back to the point of the post:

the bad thing about me not liking RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE is the fact that i had zero expectations. it worked for movies 2 and 3, so i was hoping it would work for 4 too. i was wrong. the number of made-for-3D sequences definitely killed whatever joy i would’ve had for the movie.

and let’s not forget the lack of any narrative flow. the first movie had alice (milla jovovich) discovering what the umbrella corporation had done to her. the second movie was a race to save someone’s daughter as a whole city gets evacuated. the third movie was about a group of survivors trying to find safe haven. early on in the fourth movie, it’s clear that there is no safe haven. so what’s the point? where is the story going to go?

also starring ali larter and wentworth millerthen there’s chris redfield. yes, chris redfield is in this movie. he’s portrayed by wentworth miller, and i just want to say: what a waste of good talent. and what a waste of potential story lines.

chris redfield, along with jill valentine, were the first playable characters of the BIOHAZARD game franchise. they were the characters people are most excited to see.

and in RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE, you have chris friggin’ redfield and claire figgin’ redfield together. and there’s so much potential for so much badass-ery. but instead we get a cop out.

== spoilers ==

we have chris hugging claire, happy to see her after four years. and then alice tells chris that claire doesn’t remember most things. and then that’s that. no other follow up.

they do get to kick butt together. one time. and that’s that too.

== end of spoilers ==

i get that alice is the main character, but when you’re going to bring in game characters, you should treat them with at least some importance. i mean, people want to see them, god damn it. also, wentworth miller has a decent acting range. and yet we don’t see chris in his performance. instead we see his character from PRISON BREAK. so what the hell is wrong?

and i’ve long come to terms that RESIDENT EVIL, the film franchise, is more action than horror. so when you have 99% of your action sequences happening at half-speed for full 3D glory — well, you’ve also lost your action-movie credentials.

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE is definitely a movie to avoid.

but if you do still plan to watch it, do stay until the credits have rolled. sienna guillory is credited as jill valentine, and you should see why.