Wayne Rogers Covers the ‘Odd Thomas’ DVD (Review)
Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
I had been waiting to see the “Odd Thomas” movie for well over two years. I anticipated seeing it on the big screen in 2013, but that wasn’t to be because of legal issues concerning the film’s distribution in the United States. Instead, it went straight to video, though it took a while for even that to happen. Thankfully, the movie is now out on DVD.
Now, I’ve been an avid fan of the book series by Dean Koontz since the first novel was published in 2003. When I first heard a film was being made from the novel and that Stephen Sommers was directing it, I was as excited as a little boy on Christmas Eve night. I mean Stephen Sommers was the director of The Mummy and The Mummy 2, which are movies I like to watch over and over again. Of course, I knew the success of Odd Thomas would depend largely on what actor played the lead and who played his soul mate, Stormy Llewellyn. If the actors portraying these two characters got it right, then it was a natural assumption the rest the film would follow suit.
Anton Yelchin (Fright Night (2011), Hearts in Atlantis) was picked for Odd Thomas, and it’s perfect casting in my opinion. He manages to capture the soul, the humor and the essence of Odd very quickly, seducing the audience into liking and caring for him as a human being. The role of his girlfriend, Stormy, was played by Addison Timlin (Californication: Season 4), who surprised me with her strong acting chops. I didn’t really know of her until this film, and I swiftly came to the conclusion that she was ideal as Stormy Llewellyn. This is certainly a woman any man could fall in love with. Rounding out the main part of the cast is Willem Dafoe as Police Chief Wyatt Porter and Patton Oswalt as Odd’s best friend, Ozzie Boone. I think a lot of Oswalt’s character was edited out of the movie because he only had a three-minute part in the film. His character’s role in the book was much larger.
For those of you who haven’t read the novel, or seen the movie, the story centers around Odd Thomas, who’s a short-order cook in a small café in the town of Pico Mundo, which is located somewhere in the desert of central California. Odd also has psychic powers that he uses to help the local police in nabbing dangerous criminals. When a stranger arrives in town, surrounded by dozens of spirits (bodachs) that only Odd can see, the short-order cook realizes that something terribly bad is about to happen.
The question is what?
Odd starts following the man around and soon discovers that his personality is totally evil. Even worse, the guy has friends in Pico Mundo, and all of them are planning to do something catastrophic that will literally kill hundreds of people.
Odd, however, has to figure out what the calamity will be so he can stop it.
The movie is very well acted and filmed with excellent special effects. Unfortunately for me, I had to view this movie twice in order to appreciate its higher qualities. Many people have preferred to the movie as a comedy, but I saw it as somewhat of a lighthearted story with a very serious theme. In fact, the second time I watched it, I had no expectations and therefore, could simply enjoy it for what the movie was: a very entertaining film. It’s the best adaptation of a Dean Koontz novel I’ve ever seen, and even though I knew what was going to happen at the end, I still found myself tearing up.
One thing I did notice is that the opening music to the film with an electric guitar in it reminded me quite a bit of the music to the HBO mini-series, True Blood. I haven’t checked to see if the same composer did both of them or not.
I read a review the other day where a critic felt the movie would’ve been better off as a television min-series with other books being done for the small screen every year or so. He may have been right. Since the film went straight to video, it hasn’t made back its money. Therefore, I don’t expect to see another “Odd Thomas” film in the pipeline any time soon. What I do anticipate is that the movie version of Odd Thomas will eventually become a cult classic once people have seen it at least twice. Odd Thomas is a great fictional character and expounds the better qualities of mankind and the things that are truly important in life—love, honor, bravery and heroism. The character deserves to be seen in other films, or on television.
The regular DVD of Odd Thomas had absolutely no Special Features on it. No commentary, no behind-the-scenes stuff, no interviews with the performers or the director, or on the making of the film. I don’t know who put the DVD out, but it looks as though they didn’t want to spend any more money than necessary on getting this movie out to the public market. This was a shame. If ever a good movie needed the director and actors discussing what the help happened to the film and why it went straight to video, it’s this one. An interview with Dean Koontz would also have been nice.
All in all, I have to give this movie a high recommendation. It’s one I want to watch a third time.
Excellent piece. Agree with everything other than the idea of this one being stretched into a mini series. That’s the last thing I want to see from Koontz. I want to see more quality motion pictures, not more mini-series’. I’ve never been amazingly impressed with any of Koontz’s mini adaptations, and just as you expressed, I think this was his best adaptation. I think stretching this one out and incorporating facts from the other Odd books would have just made it a bloated mess. Loved the control of this film. Going too big on story scope would have – I feel – killed the magnetism of the film. Really, really dug this flick.
The thing is this film gets better and better with each viewing.
And that, my friend, is exactly why I think it’s perfectly structured. For me, an inflated story almost guarantees disaster, and stretching this one would be a gamble. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Thankfully, Odd Thomas was certainly not broken.