Chaos Walking; 2021 is not Doug Liman’s Year. Grade: D
Chaos Walking takes place in New World 2300’s A.D, a world in which consists of mainly men and no women. On this planet no thoughts are kept secret, as men can hear each other’s thoughts through a stream of sounds and sometimes images as it’s known as The Noise. A woman by the name of Viola (Daisy Ridley) spaceship has crashed onto New World, as the people of New World want her executed. Thankfully Todd (Tom Holland) is unlike the rest of the men in his community, as Todd will go on a journey with Viola to bring her to safety and to also try to make contact with her fellow space cadets, hoping to warn them about this planet.
The Cinematography t’was fine, it does resemble the likes of After Earth visually speaking, especially the production design as it felt quite similar just without the snowy setting. The visual effects were extremely laughable. I understand this film started filming back in late summer of 2017... But it’s honestly extremely baffling just how anyone thought the stream of the color purple, to indicate ones thoughts was going to be a good idea. Before going into this film I have not seen any trailers or have no idea what it was about, as soon as the opening shot of Todd voicing out his thoughts through that silly stream of purple floating about... I thought it was a complete joke. Honestly I would’ve suggest no effects be made on the characters and their inner thoughts, the concept isn’t half bad I just felt it was unnecessary to add on such silly effects like that. As far as the creature designs which was surprisingly kept at a bare minimum... Barely made much of an impact on this film at all, as it was kind of unnecessary as well. I mean we have medium size bugs, an octopus, and a black stick figure that resemble the likes of Slender Man, you could’ve just kept the world as it is without any creatures and it wouldn’t change a thing really.
The Score was pretty forgettable, it’s been almost seven hours as I completely forgotten the Score, I don’t think it was bad but yet again it didn’t make much of an impact. The cast was alright. Tom Holland playing Todd was a pretty mediocre performance, it resembled the likes of his performance in Spider Man only I find it much more obnoxious here than in Spider Man. For some reason this character tries very hard to be funny, so Holland is doing his whole “Hey guys it’s me Tom Holland, I talk a lot, I’m jittery, I feel like I just drank 5 cups of coffee today, I jump up and down as I continually talk, aren’t I funny” shtick... He does this in Spider Man and it honestly drives me nuts sometimes, here it’s noticeably awful. Sometimes it can be forgiven in Spider Man just because Peter Parker is a teenager whom is excited to get an opportunity to be a super hero and date the hottest chick in his class, here you understand his excitement due to the fact he finally gets to experience a girl for the first time... But it goes on for the entire film for just about EVERYTHING going on, to the point where you feel your mind is getting strangled to death, like can someone tell Holland not every young adult in America acts like this?! Other than the performance, the character feels very one note filled with typical cliches we’ve seen before in stories such as these.
Daisy Ridley playing Viola had an alright performance. The character is fine, although much more could’ve been developed behind her reasoning into wanting to leave her planet in the first place. Like Viola has said she left her planet so she could live a better life and find happiness, however she never explains what it was like from her previous place she lived in, so we don’t understand what motivated her to leave in the first place?! Mads Mikkelsen playing Mayor Prentiss was meh, the character itself raises many question marks. One question mark being why exactly does he want Viola to be executed so badly?! I mean why is it so damn important that he needs this woman dead?! As we discover the whole other world in Viola and Todd’s journey, it almost as if it was extremely pointless for Prentiss to go out of his way and go after this girl. The other question mark would honestly be more towards the reveal behind this character, as he becomes a much more diabolical antagonist. I guess it would be power driven reasoning, but then again... Surely his community will easily fall over the course of time, so it’s pretty dumbfounded. David Oyelowo was utterly ridiculous in his role, but more so how the special effects team had gotten carried away with the special effects and the direction for this character, as it was honestly the most embarrassing thing about this film by far. Especially in the grand finale... If I was Oyelowo I would sue Liman and the special effects team for making him look terrible, like sheesh Oyelowo is a good actor why did they do him dirty like this?!
As bad and miserable as 2020 is, I’m sure Doug Liman would rather go back and live out 2020 again, than to be currently in 2021. First Doug Liman brings us one of the worst heist films ever made with Locked Down, now brings us a poorly made sci-fi film that’ll likely be wasted over one hundred million dollars on... 2021 surely is not Doug Liman’s year.
The concept alone on paper is honestly not half bad, a world in which you can’t keep together your thoughts in your mind, as there is really no escaping in telling the truth or keep things hidden. It’s just this world building, the visual effects, and the rules behind it all make it extremely ridiculous. Letting out your inner thoughts out to the world, but then you can create visual imagery to confuse people or let people know what exactly are you thinking?! It’s just not contained as it makes it much more confusing and also utterly ridiculous. It also doesn’t help that some editing choices really don’t justify, as how some scenes ended exactly. Like the whole scene in which Aaron (David Oyelowo) is chasing Todd and Viola down the water, as by the end of it we don’t know exactly how Todd and Viola get away or if Aaron was harmed or not?! It’s also weird how the antagonist gets intimidated by visuals that don’t exist knowing they aren’t real, where he can easily just go by the visuals and not lead him to a dangerous situation. I do feel there was some kind of potential here, unfortunately it goes entirely to waste. I will say it’s a better movie than After Earth, not much of a compliment but thankfully I didn’t totally feel miserable watching this.
Overall, Chaos Walking was a bad movie. I don’t recommend this film, maybe watch old recommendable Doug Liman films to remind yourself there was a time 2021 Liman was not thing, as Liman was a much more competent film maker. -Mitch Smietana