Hey, they can’t all be winners right? This week, Papa Kenn reviews THE RAVEN!
You know, watching movies that all end up getting high scores and actually feel worth my money sure can get boring. Well strike up the band, because the monotony has been broken! Directed by James McTeigue, and starring John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe; The Raven is a sort of romanticized imagining of the final days of Poe’s life. Now I would usually consider that a spoiler, but the movie literally tells you this before it has technically even started!
John Cusack does a good job in his portrayal of Poe, with subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) hints of madness showing through; And Luke Evans does well as the fictional Inspector Emmett Fields, though the character itself is fairly bland. My wife did find the inspector to be a nice bit of eye candy though, so there’s that…I guess?
The movie begins with an intriguing premise: a serial killer in 19th Century Baltimore, Maryland is using Poe’s darkest stories as inspiration for his murders. The execution of this premise however, is incredibly lackluster. Not that they didn’t try; you can tell that those behind it gave an effort to make The Raven good, and do succeed in certain scenes. One of the biggest downfalls in this, however, is that they were trying to make the movie too many things at once.
It’s a thriller, gothic drama, cop drama, murder mystery, psychological drama/thriller/thing, and a partridge in a pear tree. Certain elements of these genres were handled well, particularly the murder mystery, but I found it really hard to care because for a thriller it sure wasn’t very thrilling. In fact it was flat out boring most of the time.
I swear the screenwriters must have a severe case of ADD, because once a particular style/theme/whateveryouwanttocallit was used, it seemed as if they got bored and decided to try something else to “keep it fresh”. That’s all wild speculation of course, but then again the story isn’t exactly Shakespeare, Hannah. I find it ironic that someone with the last name Shakespeare helped write a screenplay that feels like the mediocre fanfiction of a Poe fangirl.
Granted, the scenery is nice and does well without the Steampunk influences introduced in the Sherlock Holmes and Three Musketeers movies; but then again those movies are all based on works of fiction whereas this is a fictional movie based on the final days of a real person, so you can’t exactly compare the two can you? Oh wait, a lot of reviewers already have. Excuse me then.
There are honestly three things about this movie that make it remotely worth watching, and those are: John Cusack for his portrayal of Poe; Luke Evans for his role as the non-pasty-white sans-facial-hair eye candy; and Alice Eve (aka: Emily Hamilton, aka: the love interest) for reasons beyond that She’s Out Of My League (har-dee-har), and for channeling her inner Beatrix Kiddo in a certain scene.
Ultimately, this movie is “meh” at best, and I can’t recommend seeing it in theaters. Your money will best be spent elsewhere, though if you’re a big Cusack fan it’s at least worth a $1 rental in a few months.
I give The Raven 4 out of 10.
I’m Papa Kenn, and I’ll see you next review.