Books Magazine

Odd Thomas Movie Release… FINALLY!

By Appraisingpages @appraisjngpages

Today we have a special guest blogger, Brandon Engel.  He’s a fellow Odd Thomas enthusiast (we’ve maybe written about Odd Thomas a few times… just a few) and when he emailed us with some news on the movie AND wanting to do a write-up on it we (a) talked about our mutual love for Odd Thomas and frustration and the movie delays, and (b) said YES we’d love to have you write for us!

Also, it’s great to get some good news on this movie for a change.  Read on:

___________________

Regular readers of Appraising Pages have been filled in on all of the latest news when it comes to the big screen adaptation of Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas. Unfortunately, there have been even more bumps in the road for this production, and it’s never going to get to see the big screen. The film was originally slated to be released in theaters in September of 2013, but that date came and went without so much as a press release about the movie. No, you didn’t just miss advertisements for it, because there were none. That is the precise reason why the film won’t be making it to the big screens in America.

In January of last year, the producers of the film filed a lawsuit against the film’s financiers alleging they never paid them the agreed upon amount of $35 million to market, promote, and distribute the film. Once the lawsuit hit, the film got stuck in limbo and the official release date was cancelled. In May the first trailer of the film was shown during the Cannes Film Festival to hopefully inspire some filmmakers to step up and help finance the marketing and distribution, but alas, no one seized the opportunity (likely due to the lawsuit that comes attached to the film). Fans waited eagerly through the spring, summer, and fall (when the film was originally scheduled to hit theaters) and nothing.

Just when all hope was lost, it was announced back in December that the film would, in fact, see the light of day in America (it had been released on DVD and in theaters abroad during 2013). While it wouldn’t be in theaters, you won’t need to leave your house to catch the it! Thanks to a deal worked out with DirecTV you can watch it on demand or through their online streaming services (click here for more info on that). For those of you without DirecTV, the DVD release of the film is slated to happen during the first quarter of this year, meaning it should be out sometime before summer.

Now that we’ve covered all the news about the film, let’s talk about the film itself. It does the best it can at following the plot and various story lines from the book within it’s 95 minutes, but due to a, what I imagine to be, rushed editing job, some storylines feel unfinished and leave viewers hanging a bit. The films director, Stephen Sommers of The Mummy fame, isn’t quite used to this paranormal/sci-fi genre and it shows in his approach to covering the film’s central themes. Gone is the hauntingly dark aspects of the film and in it’s place are attempts to make it an action film and CGI effects that seem better fitted to Alien Vs. Predator than this film. What made Odd Thomas so endearing to readers was that it was a modern take on the traditional ghost story, Sommers has turned it into something just scary with his overwrought interpretation of bodachs.

As for the acting, Anton Yelchin is the wonderfully quirky, unlikely heartthrob and fangirl could have wanted. His natural charisma is what really carries this film though it’s somewhat staggered plot. He shows great promise if he’s able to get through to the big leagues. The films secondary characters, namely Stormy (played by Addison Timlin) and Chief Porter (Willem Dafoe) are merely superficial characters without much depth or intrigue behind them. Perhaps this is what makes Yelchin’s performance such a stand out in the film.

All in all the film is a watchable interpretation of the book. Does it follow the book verbatim? No. It certainly takes many liberties with various elements, which is certainly understandable when it comes to translating novels to film. I would recommend watching the film if you’re an Odd Thomas fan, if only just to see how you feel about it. It’s not a terrible film by any means, but it does leave that slight longing feeling of what could have been.

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