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The first third of Dreamcatcher is worth the time. Four childhood friends
make their annual trip to a hunting cabin, weird things happen, and,
you know it, you're smack-dab in the world of Stephen King, at his most
darkly comical and gaily grotesque. It's flatulent, bloody fun on the
and Goldman had no problem translating this hideous orgy of gas and guts
from novel to screenplay form. As the screenplay proceeds, it strays from
the book to the point where the film becomes a Hollywood embarrassment of
The Dreamcatcher novel also fell apart in its second half, but what kept
reading the book was the mind games going on in the lead character,
(Damian Lewis) head. Jonesy's brain and body has been taken hostage by an
alien named, Mr. Gray. In the novel, Jonesy notices Gray becoming tempted
by the trappings of humanity, and uses that to his advantage. It's fun to
watch the alien craving various human indulgences, more and more, with
passing minute. This aspect of the novel is completely removed from the
film, leaving us with nothing more than Damian Lewis, playing both Jonesy
and Mr. Gray, making silly faces, and putting on goofy accents, as he goes
between the two characters.
The second act of the film, one taking place in a concentration camp for
American citizens whom may or may not be contaminated with an alien virus,
is nothing more than a shadow of what is shown in the book. Even the
shoddiest of cliffnote "authors" would be embarrassed to condense a novel
down to this elementary a form.
In the book, the head of the camp, Colonel Abraham Kurtz, played in the
by Morgan Freeman, was a nasty man, so over the edge that he was
frightening, from his first appearance to his last. In the movie, we're
made aware of the fact that he has lost it, but almost exclusively through
exposition, rather than action. Seeing these innocent civilians locked up
like animals was disturbing in the novel, and would make for an extremely
tense mid-section of this movie, if this movie dared to have any tension.
In King's Dreamcatcher, the people locked in the camps join together, with
help from the telepathic Dr. Henry Devlin, in the film played by Thomas
Jane, and start a massive uprising against the guards. At the same time,
Devlin is working on Colonel Kurtz's more conscientious subordinates, both
through words, and the power that he, along with Jonesy, Beaver and Pete,
was given by a mysterious fifth friend, Duddits. In the movie, the
never occurs, and it feels as though each of the concentration camp scenes
were put into the film to pad it out, while giving a plum role to Morgan
I won't give away the finale to either the novel or the film, but I will
that everything good about the finish of the book form of Dreamcatcher, is
noticeably missing from the film version. Instead of an emotionally
climax, we get a sloppy CGI-fest that reminded me a bit of Godzilla VS.
Kong, or maybe even Species 2. Although I found myself squirming over the
laziness displayed during the majority of the second half of the picture,
was still undecided as to whether or not I would recommend it. The lousy
last few minutes of film made up my mind.
This is the first movie I can think of that I can only recommend in
Drink a couple of gallons of water before you attend the picture, and run
to the bathroom to let it out, whenever things start getting stupid.
If you're a fan of horror, you will enjoy the first hour of the film. The
bathroom sequence is a near-masterpiece, and, for that alone, Lawrence
Kasdan should be commended. Kasdan also handles the flashback scenes,
featuring the four main characters as children, adequately enough to get
thumb working its way toward the "up" direction. Finally, during those
times Kasdan does take us into Jonesy's brain, he does so in an incredibly
interesting, oftentimes humorous, manner.
When Jonesy leaves the relative safety of the locked room he has nuzzled
deep within his cerebrum, only to find the evil that is hiding behind
of stored memories inside his mind's warehouse, it genuinely gave me
More scary moments like this, placed throughout the film, and Kasdan may
have had his first instant classic in a long while.
There was a lot of money and time put into Dreamcatcher, and it shows on
screen. Steve Johnson's work on the puppet versions of the "s***weasels"
extremely effective, and shows, once again, that anything CG can do, human
hands can do better. The CG isn't the best I've seen, but it's
significantly less cartoony than either of the last two Star Wars
and does the job nicely, even though I would have enjoyed the effects far
more, if CG wasn't a part of them. The cinematography by John Seale (The
English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Witness) is gorgeous, but not
noteworthy enough to make the Director of Photography the star of the
like Caleb Deschanel's work did for him in the recent semi-stinker, The
What we end up with is a nice looking film that feels hollow.
Tags for Dreamcatcher Full Movie
, Jason Lee
, Morgan Freeman
, Thomas Jane
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