27 April 2012

The Raven

The Worst Movie of 2012



I knew I was in for a long terrible movie when some of the first dialog is goes as such:


GUY
(to police officer in charge)
Fourth floor.

POLICE OFFICER
(to police squad)
Upstairs.

Thanks for explaining that people on the street need to go upstairs to reach the fourth floor. I should have just gotten up right then and left and saved myself from what was yet to come.

The Raven opens with titles on screen that explain Poe was found on the morning of his death, in a weird state of mind. The last days of his life are unknown. We are to infer from this that this film will shed some light on these final days. Then, the scene I explain above happens, leading to the police squad marching, not running, quickly upstairs following the screams. They are too late. A mother and her daughter are brutally murdered, but there is no one in the room.

Next, Poe (John Cusack) walks into a pub where he is not liked by anyone and demands a drink. This goes over like a lead balloon. He is promptly kicked out of said bar and stumbles into the local newspaper, The Pioneer, where he works as a writer. Co-worker Ivan (Sam Hezeldine) informs him that the big boss Maddux (Kevin McNally) is not publishing Poe’s latest article. This sends Poe on a very eloquent rant.

Then, Poe leaves the Pioneer, and meets up with his girlfriend Emily (Alice Eve) and her father Captain Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson). Capt. Hamilton despises Poe, which only makes the forbidden love between Emily and Poe even stronger.

Finally, Detective Fields (Luke Evans) assesses the first crime scene. Something about the murders seems familiar. Then it hits him, he has read this murder before in a story written by Poe. So, he asks Poe for his help to solve the crime. In the meantime, the killer strikes again, and leaves a clue as to when and where he will strike next. The killer abducts Emily, and taunts Poe and the police to play his game. If they don’t play along, he threatens to kill her.

This is the plot for the rest of the film. It is very generic and uninspired. As is the acting. Cusack really hams it up as Poe. It is like he is in a totally different film than everyone else. Luke Evans is probably the least worst. He at least seemed like he was acting and trying. I cannot understand why Gleeson agreed to make this film. Had he read the script?

The story tries to be cute and original, but fails. Writers Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare tried for a murder mystery with a Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride & Prejudice & Zombies) overtone. Seth Grahame-Smith intertwines the original text with his craziness so well. I am looking forward to this summer’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I am not sure that Livingston and Shakespeare are even familiar with Poe’s works, or even Poe himself. They tried to use dark humor, but it just felt out of place. Some of the lines of dialog made my ears cry.

James McTeigue’s direction sucks. This is the guy that gave us V for Vendetta and Ninja Assassin. While not a fan of the first film, I appreciated his direction. I must admit that the second, while not a great film, is a guilty pleasure of mine. There are so many scenes in The Raven that just don’t make sense. He uses slow motion for no apparent reason, one time and never again. He shows grisly gruesome violence, but is so over the top with it that it becomes comical.

All this crap is running rampant to a horrific score by Lucas Vidal. Wow, did it have an identity crisis. He tried to be modern rock meets Beethoven. What resulted was garbage. When the end credits mercifully came, his score sounded like alternative rock. Even the credits themselves did not know what to do. They were some new wave font. The only upside to The Raven is it is….I got nothing. I left screaming, Nevermore!

RATING: 1.5/10

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