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Monday, February 19, 2007

Ghost Rider Movie Review

Ghost Rider


Starring: Nicholas Cage, Peter Fonda, Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott

Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson

Rated: PG-13 for horror violence and disturbing images.

114 min

Suspend all reality. Remind yourself every five point three minutes that this is a comic book. Don’t despise Nicholas Cage’s overacting. Like fire, and lots of it. Enjoy melodramatic statements booming from theater speakers so loudly that they actually echo faintly. Be a twelve year old boy.

There. That should ensure that you will enjoy Ghost Rider.

I like Nicholas Cage, and I even enjoy his overacting when it is a in a seriously moody and/or quirky movie script. I like him in things like well… Raising Arizona, for instance. But I honestly could not (and I tried) watch him mutter things like, “he may have my soul…. but he doesn’t have my spirit” (Him being the devil) or “I will use this curse to fight against you!”…while pointing one long, bony finger (There was a lot of finger-pointing in Ghost Rider) without laughing.

I laughed quite frequently during GR but I don’t think I was laughing in the parts where I was supposed to. I left that up to the rest of the audience. It has been so long since I have gone, during matinee times, to see a big release movie that I honestly forgot what it was like. Pan’s Labyrinth didn’t have a row of fourteen year olds sitting in front of me, text messaging each other and shhing one another loudly, in that way only teenagers have. (Look at us! Is everyone looking at us?! We are so important and young and lovely and are you sure everyone is looking at us? Not that we care. We care about nothing. We are too cool to care, but are you watching us?! Hey old people, we don’t care if you do, but LOOK at US!) It’s been awhile since I was packed into a theater along with other folks, so closely that a stranger could have conceivably touched me at any time during that one hour and fifty three minutes. No, no one did, but they could have, and the possibility kept me from becoming comfortable. Plus, I could smell everyone’s skin. Warm, slightly sweating, elbow-to-elbow people…they give off a smell. A skin smell. And what the HELL are they selling in the lobby that reeks of garlic? I don’t know, but something someone was eating very near me smelled strongly of garlic and it was not pleasant.

All of that could have distracted me a little from the movie, true. I wasn’t prepared for the laugh set-ups that filmmakers do… and how sweetly the audience falls into place. Scene: Ghost Rider grabs girl, who is talking, and cuts her off with a passionate kiss. Pan to a cow standing nearby. Cow moos loudly. Pause for laughter.

And they did. Laugh I mean. So I think maybe this movie was enjoyed. Just not by me.

The story in a nutshell.... Johnny Blaze sold his soul to the devil to save his father, who died anyway. Now it’s twenty (or thirty) some odd years later and he has survived countless things that should have killed him in his rise to fame as a stunt motorcycle driver. The Evel Knievel of our generation, I guess you could say. The devil has been keeping him alive until the day he needs him to become the Ghost Rider.

Now this is where it confused me a little. The dude becomes the Ghost Rider in the presence of evil. He has the flaming skull going on, rides a kick-ass chopper and swings around a fiery chain. He has this thing called the Penance Stare where he can look into bad guys’ eyes and make them see all of their sins, basically burning the life right out of them with horror at experiencing their own evil…. Does this sound like something the DEVIL would give to someone? Ghost Rider is supposedly the Devil’s Bounty Hunter… but I never did get who/where/why he would be sent after someone, to bring them back to hell where they belong…and even if he was sent, why would he then burn them to a cinder with “penance” for their sins? Doesn’t that kind of make hell…. pointless? But forget my nitpicking. On with it…the devil’s son, whose name is the very imaginative “Black Heart”, has come to sort of challenge his daddy to for the title of super devil. I guess. Ghost Rider has to defeat Black Heart. And all his friends. Not only to protect the devil (that is his boss, remember, the devil. But he’s still a good guy) but also because he has been promised his soul back once he does it (and why he thinks the devil will keep his end of the bargain I don’t know…. Maybe along with the Stare of Penance they receive the Naiveté of the Very Young). Into this fine little mess comes his girlfriend from twenty (or thirty) years ago, a smart-talking, curvy reporter who is alternately mad at Johnny, or groping him. And she is kind of rude. And impatient. And snappish. I guess a big round butt makes up for a lot of character deficiencies because Johnny Blaze is still in love with her, although he hasn’t even seen her for twenty or thirty years.

If my boyfriend from when I was seventeen showed up and the devil was like, trying to use him as a hostage against me, and I could choose… My old boyfriend would die unless I gave the devil this thing that he wanted that would help him destroy the rest of the world… I’d be all, “Hey dude, we had some good times, didn’t we? It was cool knowing you, You look great! Take care now, Buh-bye.” But in movies where cows moo at kissing, people stay in love with their highschool sweethearts forever. It is totally natural that Johnny Blaze’s best friend’s dead body doesn’t get more than a pause from him, but the rude bitch he used to date is in danger? He is going to KICK ASS NOW!

The plot is simple, sprinkled with jokey gag scenes like Cage grimacing in the mirror at himself and eating jellybeans out of a glass. Elliot basically brings back his character from Road House, tough old dog teaching new dog tricks while scratching the stubble on his cheek (and let me tell you, that is fricking gross. The hair on his face grows straight up to his eyeballs, I’m not kidding). Actually, maybe that is just the only character he ever plays. Hmmm.

Nothing surprising here, not even the “plot twists”. There was some good special effecting going on but even that tweren’t enough to keep me awake through the whole thing. Yes, I did fall asleep, during the above mentioned mirror scene. Cage’s goofy fricking face wasn’t enough to keep my eyelids from shutting when the sound was less than a booming roar in my ears.

Go back to the first few lines. Read them. Can you do those things? Then you might like this movie.

I give it 2 &s….

& the special effects were purty nice. I like a good flaming horse every now and then.

& the storyline was easily followed, so much that I could nap and know exactly what was happening when I woke

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Blogger sock puppet said...

Having seen the previews, I've decided that once available on DVD, I'll rent it. My expectations aren't high, but every once in awhile I like to moan at foolish one-liners.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Bitty said...

If there's ever a ghost (ha!) of a chance that I'll watch a movie or read a book you're reviewing, I don't read the review. But since I am none of those you listed above, I enjoyed this review enormously.

I've found Cage icky icky icky ever since he married the daughter (Lisa Marie) of his idol (Elvis). The sexual overtones of that are just yuckky. And I'm not talking homophobia here -- I question his motives. I just don't think he wanted her for one minute for herself. Talk about two degrees of separation...

4:11 PM  
Blogger The Pagan Temple said...

Ghost Rider is a great character and plot, but leave it to Hollywood to stupid it up just because it's from a comic book. If they were to have made it with the sane degree of seriousness and horror as, say, The Exorcist, for example, it would have made even more money. Then, it would have been on to the Oscars. Instead, after a few months have gone by, people who went to this movie will be saying, you know, that really was a waste of time and money.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Orhan Kahn said...

Look at us! Is everyone looking at us?! We are so important and young and lovely and are you sure everyone is looking at us? Not that we care. We care about nothing. We are too cool to care, but are you watching us?! Hey old people, we don’t care if you do, but LOOK at US!

You couldn't have put that any better. I had this problem while watching Superman Returns. I rarely go to the cinemas since I have a home thearte but to have it ruined by pesky teenagers annoys me to no end.

As for Ghostrider, its a shame there hasn't been any great raves about it. It is amazing how easily a comic book adaptation can turn sour with the wrong dialouge. I mean, just look at the first Spiderman -- that tinkered on the edge of BS overacting. Thankfully the sequel made up for its mis-givings. The third Spidey movie is going to be phenomenal, me thinks.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Exactly sockpuppet, if I had watched this at home and not surrounded by people, I might have enjoyed it, and laughed more. As Patrick said, it could have been excellent. I totally expected it to be, but I was wrong. That does happen once in awhile.
Hehe Orhan, I KNOW. Teenagers. I feel embarrassed thinking about it because I know that is exactly the way I was. And that's how I know what they are thinking.
Bitty, I never, believe it or not, considered the idol-daughter thing. I am so grossed out at the thought. You are right tho... he was probably making love to her daddy in his head. EW.I was going to go watch a movie today so I had something new to review but I am too lazy and I got too caught up in that online university site you posted about. GOOD stuff.

3:34 PM  
Blogger msquared said...

Your review is exactly what I thought the movie would be, thats why I'm not going to see it. I probably won't even bother renting it on DVD. Leave it to Hollywood to screw up a good comic book.

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10:22 AM  
Anonymous subcorpus said...

ghostrider movies sucks ...
it sucked so much that i had to blog about it to let others know that they should not have ANY expectations ... unless they wanna get disappointed ...
hehe ...

2:35 PM  

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