Chaos Walking Theatrical Review
There is a reason the movie is called Chaos Walking and the film lives up to its name.
British – American author Patrick Ness (A Monster Calls) has written several young adult short stories and novels since first being published in 2003. His work has garnered accolades and awards with two novels having been adapted into films and a third into a television series. His latest film, Chaos Walking, follows Todd (Tom Holland; Spider-Man: Homecoming) as he attempts to help Viola (Daisy Ridley; Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens) get to a communications tower to radio for help after her ship crash lands on the planet, New World. After reshoots and COVID delays, the Lionsgate film will be released in US theaters this week.
Todd was born on New Planet, a world where men's thoughts can be heard by those around them and manifest as an iridescent cloud that circles their heads. His village has no women after they were all slaughtered, supposedly by aliens living on the planet. While some of the men are very good at controlling their thoughts, Todd isn't one of them and he often gets picked on. One day, while working on the family farm, Todd finds a thief stealing food from his home and follows the individual to their crashed spaceship. However, the real surprise is that the thief is female...Viola.
Having never seen a woman before, Todd is confused and shocked but is determined to help Viola once she overhears a devious plot between the Mayor Prentiss (Mads Mikkelsen; Doctor Strange), and the men of the village. The men have decided to take over the rescue ship coming for Viola and use it to escape the planet. Unwilling to let that happen, Todd and Viola journey to the other side of the forest while being chased by the Mayor and villagers. Believing they were the only settlers on the planet, Todd is shocked to find other inhabitants. However, that isn't the only secret Todd and Viola will learn along the way.
Holland has recently chosen projects that show a whole other side to his acting, as opposed to the masked, teenager running around with special powers. Ridley has also picked her non - Star Wars roles wisely but Viola isn't as great as some of the others. She doesn't speak for much of the film, so her facial expressions become extremely important. She manages to pull it off well but seeing her as a blonde is so distracting that you don't notice much of what she says and does. Supporting cast members Mikkelsen, Demián Birchir (The Midnight Sky), David Oyelowo (Selma), Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale) and Nick Jonas (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) are great and give Holland and Ridley the room to shine as the leads.
While the plot is interesting and offers a few twists the viewer won't necessarily see coming, the movie can get confusing and frenzied. There is a reason the movie is called Chaos Walking and the film lives up to its name. It is difficult to understand what dialogue is being said through their thoughts, especially when a number of the men are gathered together. I suppose that is part of the point, but it is rather annoying, which may also be the point. There are also the "aliens" that are briefly touched up but are never developed beyond that point so that plot point is simply left hanging.
After such great action films as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity, and Edge of Tomorrow, the COVID quarantine seems to have gotten the best of director Doug Liman, first with Locked Down and now with Chaos Walking. As Sci-fi movies go, it wasn't all that sci-fi, other than the two minutes of Todd fighting an alien and the fact that men's thoughts can be heard out loud. In a nutshell, Chaos Walking has a decent concept, a very good cast, and a few good action scenes. Other than that, this one is not a winner.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 108 minutes
Distributed By: Lionsgate
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