Odd Thomas: Blu-Ray Review - Mania.com

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  • Rated: Unrated
  • Starring: Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Addison Timlin
  • Written By: Stephen Sommers
  • Directed By: Stephen Sommers
  • Original Year of Release: 2014
  • Distributor: Image Home Entertainment
  • Special Features: None
  • Series:

Odd Thomas: Blu-Ray Review

Quirky Adaptation of the Dean Koontz Novel

By Tim Janson     April 01, 2014
Source: Mania.com

Odd Thomas arrives 4-1-14 on Blu-ray
© Image Home Entertainment
Odd Thomas is based upon the 2003 Dean Koontz novel of the same name which since has spawned five sequel books.  The film had a limited theatrical release before being released on home video.  Director Stephen Sommers, most known for big budget films The Mummy series, Van Helsing, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, operates here with a much smaller (although not insignificant) budget of $27 million, most of which was raised by he and Koontz.

The quirky series centers on the character of Odd Thomas (Yelchin), so named due to a mistake on his birth certificate (It should have read Todd).  Odd has a gift that makes his name quite suitable as he is able to see and communicate with the dead.  Only his girlfriend Stormy (Timlin) and the town’s Sheriff Wyatt Porter (Dafoe) know his secret.  Odd often teams with the police to help solve crimes and the first time we meet him he’s chasing down a man who murdered a young girl.

Odd can also see evil spirits known as Bodachs who appear when someone is about to die.  Odd begins to see lots of Bodachs in his small town of Pico Mundo…Lots and Lots of Bodachs.  More than he has ever seen before which makes him realize his town is in serious trouble; But from who or what?  The Bodachs swarm around a mysterious man that odd dubs “fungus man” and shares his information with Porter.  But as the bodies and strange occurrences begin to pile up, Odd finds himself facing an evil that threatens the entire town.

While I haven’t read any of the Koontz series, Yelchin’s (Best known for portraying Chekov in the new Star Trek film franchise) boyish charm and curiosity is a good fit for the title role.  He is in just about every scene in the film as well as providing a first person narration so he carries most of the film.  The deadpan precision dialog reminds you of the banter from 1930s and 1940s era comedies, particularly between Odd and Stormy.  Dafoe is also a lot of fun and the film includes Patton Oswalt and Arnold Vosloo in cameo roles.  

The banter and eccentric characters though creates an uneven tone to the film.  Vosloo appears as a spirit who tries to make Odd laugh making faces and holding his own severed arm. With all this strangeness going on it detracts from the film’s horror elements.  You never get the sense that the town is in that much danger and the plot twists end up being more mundane than supernatural.

The ending is surprisingly emotional and moving.  While tragic, it again didn’t seem to fit with the more lighthearted tenor of the rest of the film.  This is the first adaption (big or small) of Koontz’s work since 2004’s made-for-TV “Frankenstein”.  Film and TV has not treated Koontz that well over the years with most of the adaptations not just being bad but often disastrous.  This has understandably made Koontz a little gun shy and, in fact, Sommers wrote the screenplay before even securing the rights to the book.  While Odd Thomas might not swing the pendulum fully in the author’s favor it definitely beats the hell out of previous attempts like “Watchers”, “Hideaway”, and “Phantoms”.  If the film performs well enough in the home market there’s already word that a sequel will be made.

Unfortunately the blu-ray comes with no extras at all.  This is disappointing especially since Koontz helped raise the funds to get the film produced so an interview with him about the project would have been welcomed.


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PhillipBrian 4/1/2014 2:20:00 AM

 The movie has moments of greatness, but they are moments and they are mostly because of Anton grabbing the core of Odd Thomas, the novel hero, and bringing him to life. He is perfectly cast. I have read all the books in this series it is uneven too, but when it is good it is beyond good. This would make a better TV series than a movie, but the film is certainly entertaining if you get that the tone of the banter is meant to be like that of a Cary Crant and Katherine Hepburn flick its charming voice will find you. But it is modern day and people talking in that fashion in a modern setting is a hard sell. Anton does it well, but some of the other cast members do not. 

If one views Odd Thomas as a dramedy/horror, like the Frightners, it should play well. 

wolf1026 4/1/2014 7:17:56 AM

I havent' seen the movie yet but I am a huge koontz fan and have read all the books in theseries out yet as well as the graphic novel previews. What you have to remember about odd and his world is that its not about the evil of the supernatural but the evil of men. Odd always says in the books that the dead don't scare him as they can't diectly hurt us, its the living and the evil they can do that scares the hell out of him. koontz has always peppered his suspense(not horror) storries with lots of humor too, especially in the dialog between characters. Like I said I haven't seen it yet but ( BOOk SPOILERS possibly) I was disapointed that  Elvis ghost is not in it as his ghost following odd around was a big part of the series for the first 3 books. he was the only ghost who could change outfits and appeared somewhere he had never lived or visited. I like patton oswalt but his character of little ozzie is supose to be 300 pounds and a mystery writer not a sculptor who encourages odd to write his experiences down. and ozzie knows his secret too as does terri the owner of the diner that odd works at.

spiderhero 4/1/2014 11:09:43 AM

I've read Koontz for over 20 years & the Odd Thomas Books are among his best. I was excited to her the movie was being made & disappointed it didn't get much of a release. Having watched the movie, I'm thrilled. Really. It's a wonderful adaptation.

And to Mr. Janson: You mention oddball humor & horror in the film. That's exactly what Koontz does in his books. He meshes genres if you will. His writing is impossible to classify for that reason. You never know what you're going to get from him: A techno-love-story-horror-supernatural-thriller? The movie does a great job of showing that versatility.

And I have to say, even though my wife & I knew how it was going to end, we were both surprised by how much we were moved by it. If Sommers could bring this level of attention to characters to the rest of his film making, he could be one of the greats.

I want to buy the movie, but I think I'll wait until a new edition comes out that has some extras. The lack of them on the BluRay is disappointing.

VermithraxPejorative 4/1/2014 2:10:16 PM

Love the books but I just don't know how a single movie can do this fantastic character any justice. I agree, this should be a T.V. series instead. It would do real well on the small screen, and allow for more creative freedome with the books.



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