Saturday, July 20, 2013

R.I.P.D. (2013) Review:

Dark Horse Comics isn't one of the most publicized comic book companies around but they are just as significant as Marvel and DC. Starting all the way back to 1992, Dark Horse has produced their own adaptations to movie industry of their own popular comics. Unfortunately, most of their films did not gain the recognition they deserved because most of them weren't supported enough. Plus, most weren’t bad to begin with. On that note, it's important to understand that this movie isn't just a copy of Ghost Busters (1984) and Men In Black (1997); it's mix along with its own unique traits.

Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) &
Roy (Jeff Bridges)
The reason why people relate this film to those two movies because it's about a duo, one is newbie and the other, a wisecracking veteran who work together on a paranormal force to take down ghost like creatures. But there's more to that. To get into this division known as the "Rest In Piece Department", you have to die; which is exactly how our main character Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) finds out about this place. What's interesting just about this concept is that the R.I.P.D. exists along side Heaven and Hell. Even if they aren't mentioned directly, it is shown that this particular division is able to have a say on who can join and who can't. Interesting and cool at the same time because it's a third way out if one isn't sure if you're making it to Heaven.

Now it's time to elaborate on the actual antagonists. The "ghosts" that the R.I.P.D. fight are "ghost like" in the sense that they are killed in a ghost like fashion. But honestly, they’re more like zombies called Deados, which gives it a unique spin. In Men In Black (1997), Agent K & J used various techniques to unmask aliens in disguise. That's done here is as well but in a goofier fashion using Q&A cards and, another interesting clue is that the Deados cause things to decay around them. That's also awesome; a cool giveaway.

Back to characters, partnering up with Walker (Reynolds) is Roy played by the charismatic Jeff Bridges. Both these two actors share some good onscreen chemistry. Reynolds was the weaker half but he still played his character fairly well, however, he did embody the comic character more accurately as well as Bridges. Another one of a kind thing about these characters is how they're disguised as other people. Bridges as model Marisa Miller and Reynolds as James Hong - from the outside, it is one funny looking couple. Don't forget that you also can't die falling off buildings or getting hit by falling cars. Yeah, that's pretty awesome, it's like the writers incorporated a little bit "indestructible" into the equation; sounds kind of like The Mask (1994)...another Dark Horse property.

But that's not all, Kevin Bacon plays Hayes, Nick Walker's human partner. Actually it's been two years since Bacon has been in a movie, so it's nice to see him again. Also Proctor played by Mary-Louise Parker was done well too, her performance was possibly the most deadpan and it worked. Even more interesting is that she carries a small relationship with Roy. The special effects should be appreciated as well. One of the better-looking aspects of the film are the vortexes. They carry a beauty to them that make it irresistible to look away; maybe because it reminds me of Disney's The Black Hole (1979), I don't know.

Nick & Roy's disguises XD
One other part that was different about the special effects was the stop motion frames, where everything froze. That was different too, to just walk around and see everything as it was when you died was eerie. The direction was also well executed. Robert Schwentke, who directed the first RED (2010) film is at the helm and his ability to keep the audiences attention is done in the correct manner. Plus his shots move fluently, which makes it an easygoing viewing experience. I do have to pick a little with the writing though. A significant part of the plot relies on an ancient artifact, which to me is used way too often. There could've been something a little more interesting to use.

The music composed by Christophe Beck wasn't bad either. Most of the time, the tracks were light and goofy and even had a twang in it for the character of Roy. There was even one scene where Bridges is at a stare down and music is being played where it sounds like a mix between Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy (2010) score and Ennio Morricone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1961). What was even more effective were the softer moments, Beck knew how to evoke the right emotions there. My only pick with him is that his score is a little too light, as in its not as present as should have been in the film. I also would have wished there was a main theme for this franchise but for the most part, he did a decent job. So honestly, to say that this movie doesn't have good quality may be judging it too quickly.

Dark Horse Comics may not be as massive as DC or Marvel but they still produce very entertaining films. The characters are funny, the special effects are unique which allows it stand by itself even if it does take parts of other films before it.

Points Earned --> 9:10

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