Monday, April 7, 2014

Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas
Reviewed by Char Hardin
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writers: Stephen Sommers (screenplay) and Dean Koontz (novel)
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Addison Timlin, Leonor Varela
Comedy - Horror - Mystery

3.5 Out of 5

"Dean Koontz Odd Thomas book fans will love Odd in his own movie. Anton Yelchin is casting perfection!"

Welcome to Pico Mundo and the Pico Mundo Cafe where Odd (Anton Yelchin) Thomas is a short order cook. Odd name for a guy, but that is what's on his birth certificate. His mother claimed it was a mess up, but his father said otherwise.

Odd has an unusual talent, he sees spirits. I could say he see's dead people but that is so Sixth Sense and been done. Odd is contacted by ghosts who speak to Odd though touch. He can see what they need to tell him. Odd feels compelled to help these souls so they can rest in peace. He is quirky and a little goofy, but I liked that about him. His love for his girlfriend is sweet and when tested, I admit I felt a few teardrops fall. 

In the beginning of the film,

Odd is visited by a little girl named Penny who lays her hand on him and the details of death flash into his mind and he sees who killed her and he knows the man. Odd sees a car approaching and it is being driven by the killer, so he flags the killer down. The car stops and Odd reaches in to remove the car keys. And the moment Odd mentions to the guy, "her blood is your's still in your pocket", the guy knows that Odd knows and he jumps out of the car and takes off running. The men run through the back streets leaping over cans and Odd calling out apologies to those they encounter (I thought that was sweet) only to crash a back-yard pool party. The killer runs into the house and up the stairs and he and Odd end up fighting more and then the cops arrive.

Chief Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe) is Odd's friend and knows of his young friend's clairvoyant abilities. He has a soft spot for Odd and it is evident in how he handles the killer crashing the pool party. The chief wishes that Odd would go through the proper channels so that it would be easier to explain in a report other than by paranormal interventions. 

Not only can Odd see ghosts but he sees a different sort of predator worse than any ghost or even man, they are what he calls "Bodachs" they feed off of evil/pain and they are just about the ugliest things you would ever want to see. Odd explains how he doesn't acknowledge that he can see them or they would be kill him. Because that's what they do, if you show that you can see them, they kill you. One friend of Odd's had a face splatting experience that happens so fast, if he'd blinked, he'd missed it, simply because he acknowledged their existence. 

After the pool party incident, Odd is at work in the cafe and he sees a Bodach enter the cafe and within seconds this male customer is teeming with Bodachs. Odd follows the man outside and watches as he leaves and the area is crawling with Bodachs. From this one man, the story takes off. He is the catalyst to an adventurous experience. Odd's girl friend, the Chief and more are touched by an evil so vicious; it will take your breath away. Dreams and visions show Odd riddles of what's to come and he must try and put the pieces together to prevent a catastrophic event that will rock the community of Pico Mundo and cause a riff that Odd never saw coming. 

A few years ago, a book came across my counter at our used bookstore, "Odd Thomas" by a favorite horror author Dean Koontz. It had been some time since, I had last read and enjoyed a good book by Koontz, so I was thrilled to have the chance to read "Odd Thomas". One small problem, I couldn't get into the story. I just couldn't picture it in my mind. It just wouldn't work; I grew bored and put the book down. I watched more copies coming into the store and then the sequel and proceeding titles. All my customers thought the books were excellent and I should try it again. I just never could get into the story and just left it at that.

A few months ago, I saw where the movie was coming out and I was pleased to see Anton Yelchin was in the film and he was playing Odd. So I thought I would try to read the book before it came out, so I could do a comparison. I was contacted and asked if I would be interested in a link for me to view "Odd Thomas".

I was interested. I was surprised at how easily; I was able to get into the film. I didn't have to concentrate on a visual as I was able to see it unfold on my screen. I fell in love with the character largely because of Anton who brought this charming character to life perfectly for me. Odd is the narrator of them film and is a comical commentator at times. I did laugh out loud, but also, I enjoyed being drawn into his life and experiences.

This is not a straight horror but a mixing of horror, supernatural, mystery and FUN. The creatures the Bodachs are a wicked piece of work and they are transparent at times and then become solid and they are just gross looking. Really hard to describe and I want to let you see them for yourselves and not ruin the surprise. So let me know if you see it and tell me what you think of the Bodachs.

There is a lot going on in this film and if you are a stickler for details like I am, you will see without being told what is going on. Later in the film Odd does explains and through memories, dreams/visions what happens, so if you miss the signs, don't worry Odd will explain it. That was one of the things I didn't like that it seemed so much was going on. The film was fully loaded and it felt overloaded. The ending (no spoilers), but it does set up for a sequel and I hope they do follow through with one, but this film felt like it was two films packed into one. It really doesn't have room to breathe because of the many goings on of what's happening.

Aside for feeling overly loaded, I loved the characters and the special effects were good. CGI is used throughout; something that I wished was not overly used. I enjoy the use of practical effects and would have liked to have had more instances of practical, but it doesn't take away from the film. That is just a preference of mine. 

There are strange twists and turns and it gave me the boost I needed to read the books. I am happy to say, I have read the first one and look forward to reading the next books in the series. I would recommend reading the Odd Thomas series and oh yes, I do recommend looking for the DVD which is available now. I found my copy at Target for $15 and I have watched it several times since buying it. It's a fact, if I can't watch a movie more than once, I won't buy it on DVD. 

Many times with films that are adapted from books, the fans are disappointed in what actually makes it into the film and what was ignored. After reading the book and watching again, I feel that it was close to how Odd is actually depicted in the books and feel that fans of the novels will like the film. 

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