a little east of reality

Saturday, February 17, 2007

movie review: ghost rider

If you are looking for a thoughtful storyline about the world we live in and the complexity of human relationships...stop! This isn't that kind of movie.

Sure, there's a story, but it's 'Kal-el comes to Earth and discovers he's faster than a speeding bullet, etc: must decide what to do with his awesome powers'. It's "Peter Parker bitten by spider: must decide what to do with his awesome new powers.' Are we seeing a pattern yet? Granted, 'boy is tricked by devil into making pact and becomes Ghost Rider: must decide what to do with his awesome new powers' offers a little more scope for originality, but truly the thing that most stayed with me is just how damn cool the movie is.

1. His bike is AWESOME. Fierce, gleaming, metal beast. I won't go on...look for yourself.

2. The chain. He carries a length of chain that he uses like a whip...kudos to the comic book writer for that one ~ so much more raw and cool than a whip cliche.

3. Nic Cage. The man likes comic books (he named his child Kal-el...I rest my case) and this is a very good thing, because he really can act, and it's nice to have someone with real skills (and some serious screen presence) in a movie some actors would have considered too frivalous.

4. The cinematography. A well-drawn graphic novel lends itself to the screen. Some of the cinematography in this film was so beautiful, so artfully constructed, that I would have bet money that it came straight from the art of the illustrator of the original comic. For those who have seen it, some of the scenes I'm thinking of are:
  • the tree, the purple flowers, the vast fields beyond
  • ghost rider on the bike, surrounded by the broken up road and pavement he has just thudded into from above
  • the trail of flame as he rides down the curved road through the cemetary, seen from above
Apologies ~ I couldn't find a single one of these available as screenshots.

5. The villains. Not to be confused with an imaginary 50s band of the same name, Blackheart and the Elements (water, earth, air) are quite scary and wonderful to behold. I wasn't sure if Blackheart himself was supposed to represent Fire, or if they simply left that out to contrast the Elements against Ghost Rider's fire. I do wish a little more had been made of the individual Elements, as I'm sure was in the original.

Alas, Ghost Rider was not without its (apparent) plot holes, or at least one big one for which I would like an answer. Sadly if I explain what it is it will constitutes the biggest of big, fat spoilers and therefore I won't. I will however let you know if I find a satisfactory answer.

Final verdict: 3 flaming skulls out of 5, and I'm looking forward to a sequel with a meatier story

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