I like Mark Cuban, and I really like his weblog. So, when I read that he was involved with producing a movie called Godsend that featured Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (who doesn’t like her?) and Robert DeNiro, I was more than just a little intrigued. This past weekend I went to see the movie and was very disappointed. Why?
Caution: plot spoiler ahead.
The problem, as I see it, was a screenplay that may have read well as a story but it had no chance of succeeding as a movie. The movie raises the question: what would you do if you were a loving couple with a great eight year old boy who was tragically killed and you were given the chance to clone him and start over? DeNiro plays the brilliant biologist who guarantees the couple played by Stamos and Greg Kinnear that the cloning will be a success. And, at first, it is. Of course, while cloning has the power to give life, using it as a movie plot point can kill the movement of a story because there isn’t much room for keeping the suspense going. The movie’s attempt to do so winds up being kind of ham-fisted.
The audience yearns for something to happen (‘okay we know what he was like when he was eight years old, so let’s just fast-forward to that point’). Then when he reaches age eight (the age he was when he died) he starts to ‘see dead people’ and generally starts acting weird. Now, we’re getting somewhere, right? No, not exactly
The main problem is that the movie, or actually the screenplay, starts out suggesting the movie is going to be about the ethical/moral dilemma of cloning (the movie spends much valuable time early on showing that Greg Kinnear is a beloved high-school teacher with an impeccable sense of ethics). But once the movie gets to the actual cloning it dispenses with the ‘moral’ issue in favor of being a good old fashioned axe-murder scare movie. So, basically, the movie sets up false expectations.
Mark Cuban more or less says he knows that some critics will not like the fact that the movie transitions into a fright flick, but he thinks that the movie is still cool. Apparently, he thinks that his wife (who he says is a ‘tough critic’) liked it alot. He’s hoping that people will have fun with the movie and enjoy it. He predicted that the opening weekend would gross about 7 million and apparently he’s right on that score. So, hey, what do I know?
There are clearly a lot of worse ways to spend your time than by watching Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in a poorly conceived movie. Her acting ability may not be up to the level of Greg Kinnear and Robert DeNiro, but she was not in any way a hinderance to the movie. Basically, I blame the screenplay. Some things sound like great ideas, but just have no way of succeeding. That’s what some people say about cloning, so maybe that’s supposed to be an embeded message of this movie. My take on the movie is simple: it has no soul.