Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Shadow (1994) Review:

During the decade of the 1990s, there were a series of early 20th century heroes put onto the big screen. Few were commercially successful as were they financially. The Shadow is apart of this group. Everything about The Shadow is as nostalgic as were The Phantom (1996), and The Rocketeer (1991). However, there were a few things that stood out to me that didn't match with the rest of this film.

The Shadow was once a pulp character that was only heard on the radio. But with all the new technology that came out during the time, Hollywood felt that it was time to make the transition from radio to big screen. The only problem with that are, the only people who would really know who The Shadow was, were the people who listened to him on the radio station. Anyone younger than sixty is going to have a hard time connecting with the character even if the main lead was Alec Baldwin.

The story opens up with Baldwin being the nefarious ruler in far-east Asia. It is not until he is captured and is persuaded and taught by the Tulku to wield his evil powers for the good of man. This is how he becomes The Shadow. Yet it never was explained to why he even became a powerful ruler in Asia. It was explained how, but never why. Did he like the women better then in America? Anyway, the perspective that The Shadow is shown during this film is pretty cool. A red bandana covering his face, a wide brimmed hat, and a cape that flows so fluently makes him look like a very serious character. His ability to "cloud men's minds" is cool too but it reminisces back to Jedi and using the force on people with weak minds. It's basically the same thing and it’s unoriginal.

Looks good on screen,...doesn't always work when acted
Playing Lamont Cranston's (Baldwin's character) love interest is Penelope Ann Miller as Margo Lane. For some reason though, I did not feel a true connection between these two actors. Nothing seemed romantic about their relationship at all. Did David Koepp, the writer of Jurassic Park (1993) and Spider-man (2002), really have these two actors in mind for these roles? Because something seems off with both of them. It's not like they don't show that they love each other, but it looks like they're flirting more than actually showing their love.

Why would an evil ruler want to wear a tux?
Playing the villain who possesses the same power as Lamont Cranston is John Lone, as Shiwan Khan, the last decent of Genghis Khan (as he clearly states several times). Also Lone never seems to take his character as seriously as he should be. At times he questions Cranston on how he dresses. Why should that matter? As Cranston accurately replies:

"You,...are a barbarian".

Along side Lone is Tim Curry. Curry plays a conniving weasel that wants nothing more but to have world domination just as much as Khan but doesn't have much of a backbone to show. The visual effects are neat too. The Shadow acts like a ghost. He has the ability to disappear as well as clouding men's minds. Another cool aspect about The Shadow is how he is able to establish communications. Once he saves an individual’s life, they then become apart of The Shadow's secret society, but not directly in it. The score was provided by Jerry Goldsmith and once again out does himself by creating a dark feel for a troubled hero.

The film version of the early 20th century radio pulp hero is well done even if it has a lack of chemistry between Baldwin and Miller. The action is fun and so is the mystifying score by Goldmsith.

Points Earned --> 8:10

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