Odd Thomas (2013) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Stephen Sommers steps back from his nearly 15 year run of blockbuster, spectacle filmmaking and tackles this quirky tale that seems to have slipped from the minds of Richard Kelly or Sam Raimi, not the guy who made the flaccid, The Mummy Returns. It take a few minutes to settle into this strange world that Sommers and co-writer/author Dean R. Koontz are creating, but once the rules have been established and the tone zeroed in, Odd Thomas really lets loose with its bag of surprises.

The peculiarly named, Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) is a young man who spends his days as an unassuming short-order cook in a local dinner. The thing that makes Odd’s name so fitting is that he possesses a clairvoyance that allows him to spot demons and communicate with spirits wandering in our dimension. In an early scene, Odd accost a seemingly friendly schoolmate and viciously beats the man. Turns out the guy is a murderer responsible for the grisly death of a little girl. It all takes on a logic as Odd plainly states, “I see dead people. But then, by God, I do something about it.”

Chief Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe), is the lead detective on the case and is also one of the few aware of Thomas’ visions and covers for the vigilante justice unleashed by the hero. Well, that’s how the film presents the main character as some sort of Superhero, complete with a sidekick, (a brief cameo from Patton Oswald) that provides armor. Even the undercover regular day-job, feels like a sly dig at the overblown superhero flicks loitering on multiplex screens at the moment.

A strange and suspicious man, nicknamed Fungus Bob has come to Pico Mundo, accompanied by a large swarm of demons, known as ‘bodachs’. Odd uses his supernatural intuition to connect the stranger with a terrible catastrophe that is to occur in a day’s time. Together with his girlfriend Stormy, Odd uses his unique skills to track the man down and stop the death of two little girls.

There are some obvious signs of post-production tinkering that do the film no favors. However, this isn’t the unmitigated disaster that A Sound of Thunder was, another film that sat on the shelf with a recognizable cast and director attached. Anton Yelchin has always come off like a second-rate Joseph Gordon Levitt, and in the film’s first fight scene, I thought Sommers had dropped the ball in casting him. In actuality its a great fit for the part, Yelchin nails the comedic timing of the sometimes rapid-fire dialogue and the seriousness that is called for when facing down a demon. Odd Thomas is a mixed bag, the film always feels like it is on the verge of cutting loose, but it instead continually gets tripped up in scenes that play as if out of sequence. Look for an outstanding cameo from Sommers’ Mummy collaborator, Arnold Vosloo as a ghost with a sense of humor. For the cynical, Odd Thomas is worthy of a look just to see the continual botching of author Dean R. Koontz’s work in Hollywood.

Director: Stephen Sommers
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Addison Timlin, Leonor Varela

5 thoughts on “Odd Thomas (2013) – Review”

  1. I really enjoyed this movie. (Overall 4.6 out of 5).

    It’s sad not so many people will not get to watch it. But those have, spread the news… THIS IS A MUST WATCH. Period.

  2. I think your review gives it too much credit. I’m not sure if its just a truly awful movie, or just so bland that watching grass grow would be exciting. With no redeeming features it does at least warn me away from reading any Dean Koontz.

    1. You’re so cliche. Its best you don’t read any Dean Koontz, you wouldn’t understand one metaphor. Go watch some more Twilight with your g/f and play some more Call of Duty.

  3. Your review is way off. If you read all the Odd Thomas novels you would love this movie just like myself and any other fan of the series I have talked to about it. It went along with the book to an accuracy level of something like 95%. The casted performers were perfect for the characters.

    As far as the actual film making goes, having my Bachelors in Film Production, I’ll say this movie was made fairly well. There was a fairly consistent flow to the movie that rarely got broken up. The movie stayed true to the book. There wasn’t really any bad acting. The effects were pretty darn splendid, I would like you to go in to Adobe After Effects and try to create a special effect like you seen in that movie, then try to say those effects were bad. The movie was made fairly well.

    So for overall story and sticking to the book I’d give it a 4 out of 4.
    For film production I’d give it a 3 out of 4.

    Oh and Anton Yelchin is not a second rate Joseph Gordon Levitt. Its the other way around.

    1. This is a great movie and I’ve recommended it to several friends. See it and judge for yourself.
      BTY – it didn’t get wide release because the money (35 mil) fell through for marking and distribution but it sure wasn’t because of story or quality. Loved it.
      OB

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