Chaos Walking is a movie that can get you excited with its premise but disappoint you with its execution. There. I have just reviewed it with one line.
It’s not a story but rather just a plot with a random sequence of events. As it says in the title, Doug Liman’s Chaos Walking is essentially almost 2 hours of walking and utter chaos. In a dystopian future with no women, Todd (Tom Holland) lives in a small settlement run by the Mayor (Mads Mikkelsen). All the men on Todd’s planet are affected by ‘The Noise’ which is a force that displays men’s inner thoughts for all to see. One day a young woman named Viola (Daisy Ridley) crash lands on the planet, and her arrival disrupts the entire community. When the Mayor learns about Viola’s ship, he sees the new arrival as a potential threat and concludes he has to take control of it while the passengers are in hypersleep. Todd and Viola embark on a perilous adventure as they try to outrun the Mayor and his men.
It’s the villain’s goal that is the biggest problem. At first, he says that he wants to take control of the ship so that he can take control of the entire planet. That looks like a motivation until we find out that neither the native species nor the other settlements are any match for him. Then why does he need the ship when he can accomplish his goals without it? Later his idea changes as he thinks the new pilgrimage is here to take the planet away from his control. That also might’ve been a good motivation if we knew it from the beginning. It’s this confusion that probably destroys the story the most.
‘The noise’ emitted by all the men also seems to be one of the only things that kept the plot moving by either revealing a secret or a character’s desires. It had the potential but ended up falling flat. It felt like it turned into your typical cliché movie, where some things that happen truly make you smack your head and ask why? There are multiple unexplored subplots, including the rivalry between Todd and Davy Prentiss Jr. (Nick Jonas). It’s the story, though, that needed to be way more fleshed out. You know a movie is ordinary when you leave the cinema and realize you weren’t invested in the outcome, and wouldn’t have cared if the main characters were successful or failed during any stages of the movie.
If anyone was to ask people who have seen the film about their thought, I won’t be surprised if they say it felt 90% was walking, and not much else. A large chunk of the scenes between Todd and Viola are the two just walking through the unexplored forest on their way to her ship. Tom Holland isn’t recognizable from his Marvel performances and neither is Daisy Ridley from Star Wars. Considering the two incredible leads, the chemistry between the two is flat and feels somewhat forced. A downside to the film is the lack of emotional connection to the characters. The viewers just get thrown into Todd’s life without any real explanation.
Chaos Walking is action-packed with good stunts and VFX. Ben Seresin’s unimpressive cinematography is incredibly repetitive, with aerial shots of a forest appearing to be his go-to. The score, though, is praiseworthy. It’s riveting but feels wasted due to the lack of engaging scenes. As for the editing then obviously it’s bad for not being able to identify the visible problems.
Overall, Chaos Walking certainly isn’t going to be Lionsgate’s new cash cow. The $100 million price tag might be a struggle to earn back. But if you’re a fan of the books or an avid Doug Liman fan, then Chaos Walking should be on your watchlist. Or maybe not. It will go down as the movie with a great idea but with very poor execution. I don’t think Lionsgate will ever go forward with this IP ever again.
K- Score: 40%
STW: 8/30, D: 9/25, E: 1/5, C: 4/8, PVD: 7/12, A: 3/10, S: 8/10
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