My Mini-Review of Wanted, Now Out on DVD

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:20 am

I’m trying to come up with a description for the kind of person who would like this film without getting too personal about it, but it’s tough. Viewers who don’t pay much attention to plot, who are just in the mood for a rollicking roller-coaster ride of special effects and car flippings will probably enjoy Wanted. People who can’t ignore the screams emanating from their prefrontal cortex while watching a movie probably will not. 

Needless to say, I didn’t care for this film. More specifically, I thought it was awful. James McAvoy puts on the worst performance of his career as a pathetically over-the-top parody of a Caspar Milquetoast office worker who discovers that his father was part of a secret brotherhood of worn-out clichés tasked with protecting the world through CGI gunplay and, apparently, rampant violation of the laws of physics. In fact, the whole point of the casting of this movie seems to have been to stretch the actors’ ability to deliver a mediocre performance to the breaking point. With the exception of Morgan Freeman who. like Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, never plays anyone but himself. He’s not so much an actor as he is a brand name; either you like Morgan Freeman™ or you don’t.

Every hackneyed action-hero vignette is played out in this film: the denial/acceptance/ascendance arc of the main character, the training montage, the HUGE SHOCKING SURPRISE, the betrayal, the revenge. Wanted has it all. But it’s all been done before, and much better. If you want a great tongue-in-cheek treatment of the Brotherhood of Assassins genre, rent Remo Williams. It’s nowhere near as flashy, and it doesn’t include a shot of Angelina Jolie’s naked butt, but it’s a whole lot of stupid fun. To me, Wanted is just a whole lot of stupid.

14 Responses to “My Mini-Review of Wanted, Now Out on DVD”

  1. Joe Says:

    I actually liked this film.

    I have to admit, once I saw the opening sequence I knew that the physics of the film were a fantasy. But, freed of the need for reality I was able to then sit back and enjoy what the film really showcased, the CGI, the explosive rats, the Matrix wannabe use of cinematography and Angelina Jolie’s butt.

    Were there problems with the film? Oh, hell yes. However, this is a comic book movie and as such I was actually expecting much worse. Compare it to the bulk of that genre; films like The Punisher, Ghost Rider, any of The Punisher remakes (why film that story three times when the first two were such duds?) or any of The Crow sequels (the original felt like something new when I first saw it) for instance. Beside them Wanted was strongly acted, engaged in character development as an arc instead of as a plot twist and did not look like it was filmed by the crew from One Life to Live. I never read the comic this film was based upon so I don’t know if the movie does the original justice but as comic adaptations go I thought it worked well on film and I had fun.

  2. Uncle Andrew Says:

    I’m certainly not trying to say that the film was bad because it was unrealistic. You’re right; it’s a comic-book movie based on a comic-book comic book, and has all the trappings of same. But it’s all been done before, to greater or lesser effect. To put it really nastily, saying that this iteration of the mindless action film is better than The Punisher or Ghost Rider is like saying that a bowl of watery pig shit with white truffles shaved on top of it is tastier than a bowl of watery pig shit without. 😛

    And I really have to part with you on the acting. McAvoy was hardly into his second scene before I was sick of him and his mewling screams of terror. It wasn’t the mewling screams of terror themselves that so annoyed me; it was how they were all the same mewling scream of terror. His fright had all the authenticity of a ringtone. Seems like this picture was nothing but a chance to work on his abs. All Jolie had to do throughout the whole film was look smoky and confident, and of course, Morgan™ Freeman® was The Old Black Guy With The Voice From A Life Insurance Commercial. It’s not any of their faults, really; the more I think about it, the more I have to admit that there was pretty much nothing to act about. God knows no one joins the cast of a movie like this expecting to pick up a Best Actor nomination. You phone in your part and buy another mansion. But when I think of good use of a bad part, I think of Jane Fonda in Barbarella (also a comic-book film, come to think of it). Here she is, cast in a movie so dumb it would lose out in a contest of wits with a sack of flour, and she acted that motherfucker into the ground.

    Bah, humbug, whatever. Tastes differ, opinions are like assholes, and no one has the right to tell anyone else what they should or should not enjoy on the silver screen. For you, I’m happy. 😀

  3. mike Says:

    Andy, why r u reviewing this movie ❓ Haven’t u heard, Star Trek has been out since last Thursday. Bust out your technical manual and head to the cinema! Please tell us about Uhura’s butt!

    I hear writers are already working on the sequel. Angie Jolie would make a good vulcan don’t you think?

  4. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Oh, there ain’t no way I’m going to see that on the big screen. I rarely see anything in theaters anymore on account of how much I hate people, but when I do it better be something I’ve a real hankering for, and the new “Not You Father’s Star Trek” doesn’t make the cut. Everything I’ve heard tells me everything I need to know: “Not preachy or filled with ‘messages’ like the old Star Trek but the special effects kick ass!” Sounds awful. 😐 I’ll wait until it comes out for the small-big screen, thank you. Meanwhile I’ll try to catch matinees of Wolverine and Terminator Salvation.

  5. Dalek Says:

    Totally with you on the rarely going to movie theaters anymore, although in my case the “don’t like people” is not so much the primary factor as “too many other things to do with my time and not enough films I really feel I need to see on the big screen”. I make the effort for movies that really pique my curiosity and/or hit the geek button in my soul.

    Meanwhile I’ll try to catch matinees of Wolverine and Terminator Salvation.

    😯 You’re kidding, right? Why? If I make it to the multiplex anytime in the next month or so, I figure it’ll be for Pixar’s UP.

  6. Uncle Andrew Says:

    You’re kidding, right? Why? If I make it to the multiplex anytime in the next month or so, I figure it’ll be for Pixar’s UP

    Beeeee…..cause I want to see them? I can understand why you wouldn’t be interested in TS being a girl and all, but what about Wolverine doesn’t appeal to the comic-book geek in you?

    I swear to Christ: if one more person tries to pimp UP to me I will vow to never watch it in my life. It is fast going from a potential interest to something more akin to a character-building exercise, like piano lessons. This is getting worse than Harry Potter. 😡

  7. fisherbear Says:

    I’m indifferent to UP so far, but I *would* like to have the Tylenol concession just outside the exit doors…

  8. Dalek Says:

    Heh. Sorry about the inadvertant “UP” button-pushing. I don’t actually know much of anything about it, other than it’s Pixar. I very much enjoyed the last two films of theirs I saw (Ratatouille and The Incredibles), so I’m willing to give it a try if I get out to a movie while it’s still in theaters. For all I know about it, UP might be an abomination, or worse, entirely boring and predictable. Don’t mind me.

    As for Wolverine, I’m probably a bit too *much* of an old comics geek to want to go see it. I very much like Hugh Jackman as an actor in the things I’ve seen him in, but I’m no fan of the continual retconning of the Wolverine character (or the fact that they’re continually retelling/reworking the stories I first read when they were new 20 years ago, instead of telling new stories). And given what TPTB did with the 3rd X-Men movie…let’s just say I have no confidence in what they’ll pull for this one.

    Who knows? Maybe it’s great. Maybe the Terminator movie is great, too; I certainly enjoyed both T1 and T2. Can’t say that the ad campaigns have sold me on either movie, but then again, I’m not their target demographic. 😉

  9. Uncle Andrew Says:

    As for Wolverine, I’m probably a bit too *much* of an old comics geek to want to go see it.

    Ya know, I hadn’t thought about it that way, not actually being a long-time comics fan myself. I just assumed that it was a more or less “historically accurate” prequel; I hadn’t really considered that it might be otherwise, though that’s hardly a shocking revelation. 🙂

    I’m sure I’m going to be disappointed with TS on one or more levels, but this is the story I’ve wanted to see told since the first film came out, and I’m counting on them not to screw it up too badly. I’m already a little taken aback by the special effects. I kind of wish that they’d dialed back the various Hunter-Killer machines to be more in line with what they were able to portray in the first film. OTOH, I think Christian Bale is the only choice for an adult John Connor, and he unlike the Batman flicks doesn’t even have to talk like he’s got a big hunk of glass lodged in his trachea. 😉

  10. Joe Says:

    Re: Wolverine

    I saw that movie with Don and Scot. You may hate me for this but I think Wanted compares favorably against it. Hugh Jackman was good, and since this was a Wolverine movie and not a X-Men movie his prominence did not inappropriately suck all the air off the screen the way he did in the first three. However, the cinematography was nothing special and the plot twists were largely telegraphed. Also, this was clearly a film used to expand the X-Men franchise so some of the characters were added just so they could show up in other films and were otherwise not necessary to the story. I thought the acting was pretty good but the script was such that the actors seemed to be working really hard to get there.

    Terminator Salvation on the other hand. That looks cool.

  11. Uncle Andrew Says:

    You may hate me for this but I think Wanted compares favorably against it.

    Nah, if there’s anything I’ve learned in this thread it’s that tastes differ. I think I’ll probably enjoy Wolverine more because I like the franchise more, and ever since I heard Liev Schreiber on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me I’ve been dying to see him in action. Nothing really of substance behind it, which I suppose makes my rant against Wanted completely bogus. Yeah, well….neither of them can hold a candle Remo Williams. :mrgreen:

  12. Gavin Says:

    This is the first time I can say this about a Star Trek flick: It doesn’t suck.

    But if you’re going to stay home, you should probably read something from Allegra Goodman, follow it up with Harry Potter, so then you’ll be ready to watch UP. Did I miss anything? Twilight maybe?

    Oh, and don’t forget, GI Joe is coming out soon.

  13. Uncle Andrew Says:

    This just in: I hate you. :mrgreen:

  14. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Actually, I have to take exception to your first paragraph. Did you really think that Star Trek II sucked? I thought it was a fine combination of everything that made the series great, including over-the-top acting from Shatner. And IV—was it IV? The whale one, anyway—was campy but fun….particularly on mushrooms. 8) And what about the first TNG film? I thought that was pretty well done. Sexy Borgs…..rarrr….

    But yes, the rest of them sucked.

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