Released 02/28/2014 Rated: NR
I absolutely love this book. I’ve only made it through about half the series, but the first installment is the one that stands out in my mind. When my husband and I found out they were making a movie we did our best to keep tabs on it. I’m not sure this film ever hit theaters in the US– if it did it only came to one per city market– and it wasn’t advertised very much, so it most likely flew under most people’s radar. But we bought it the instant the DVD hit store shelves.
Most times books are adapted into film the end result is a moderate success. Things get left out and/or changed, but it’s all done to fit as much as they can into a roughly two-hour long movie. (Unless you’re Twilight copying off of Harry Potter which legitimately had enough content relevant to the story to divide the last book into two films.) But Odd Thomas actually does a pretty good job of both staying true to the source and capturing the spirit of the novel.
First things first, the star of the film who absolutely made this movie shine and without whom there would BE no movie: Anton Yelchin. He was perfectly cast as Odd, and the only person the director Stephen Sommers had in mind for the role. The man was truly talented, and it breaks my heart all over again to remember that he’s gone. (Seriously, y’all, when my husband and I saw Star Trek Beyond in theaters last year and “For Anton” appeared right before the end credits, we both about lost it.) He brings it all in his portrayal of the character: his psychic abilities grounded in normalcy, his love for Stormy and the chief, his determination to save Pico de Mundo from impending doom, and his pain over what he can’t change. If for no other reason, watch it for him.
Now from the moment the feature starts, it doesn’t slow down. You’re hit with a lot, usually in rapid succession. In no way, shape, or form is it Game of Thrones-level convoluted, but you may end up feeling like you’d like to take a breath just to digest the information dump. Odd’s mind runs at a mile a minute and his feet aren’t far behind. I would love for them to have taken their time and fleshed out a little bit more, but like I said, it truly captures the essence of the book.
My only major issue with the film, as per usual, is the usage of CGI and green screen-ery. The Bodaks (evil looking grey things on the cover) look amazing and were done very well, but Odd’s fry cooking skills, which are extraordinary and surpassed by none, stand out too much. And I can almost always tell when they used green screen for a landscape shot. I understand that this film had financial issues, but a little bit of spit shine goes a long way.
Anyway, we love it. It’s a great piece of work. It’s got everything: humor, wit, paranormal, action, love, excitement, and a tear jerk. All 100% worth it.