This weekend, after having an absolutely spectacular writing streak, I went and saw R.I.P.D. Now, I have some thoughts on it that I wanted to share for those that either have or have not seen it.
I won’t include any spoilers in here that can’t be gleamed from the trailers, so don’t fret.
I saw the trailers awhile ago. I’ve been seeing them for what feels like forever. Every movie, radio-station, and occasional TV ad has been hawking this thing for eternity. I also wanted to see it. To me, it seemed like MiB meets Hellboy or Constantine. It looked bad, but in that fun way that makes me feel entertained enough to have enjoyed myself and considered it “worth it.”
So, come Sunday, I went and saw it. Overall, if I had to make a vocalized expression to surmise my feelings on it, it’d be “Eh.”
The concept isn’t a bad one: Talented, skilled cops are, after death, given the option of serving in the Rest In Peace Department to capture the souls of the dead on Earth that hide and refuse to face judgment. As part of their work, they’re made to not look or sound like themselves back on Earth so that friends and family don’t recognize them and to prevent them from, essentially, breaking the universal rules.
Not bad, right? Not a terrible concept, some room to work with, plenty of options for stories, ect.
The problem is that I just didn’t get that much enjoyment from the film. I split from the norm is that I actually like Ryan Reynolds as an actor and he plays the newly dead cop that signs up with the R.I.P.D. Even still, I didn’t really feel much attachment with the character. It wasn’t a fault of his performance, but more of where he seemed to be told to focus his efforts.
Jeff Bridges also brings out a performance as an old-school lawman, adding a nice “timeless” feel to the R.I.P.D., but it sometimes felt like he went a bit over-the-top with the character. Grant it, the setting is over-the-top in concept, but the character kinda went further.
If you also watch the trailers, you’d imagine that there’s a hefty amount of humor, similar to MiB and such. The problem is, outside of Jeff Bridges’s character and a couple passive-aggressive lines from Reynolds, the attempts at humor felt dry and forced.
It also felt like they spent too much time lingering on the topic of Reynolds adjusting to losing everything he had by dying. Yes, I know, that’s actually something that should be there, but it felt like they focused on it a bit too hard. In MiB, for example, the focus was more on “J” being the rookie who was adjusting to the agency and all of the strange things there-in. Kind of a situation where one film dealt more with the past, while the other lived in the now.
The effects and visuals were nice, though some of the Deado’s (escaped souls) were so obviously CG that the quality reminded me of watching Van Helsing (I actually like that movie, so don’t flip me that much crap) in style and effect.
I have mixed feelings on R.I.P.D. I want to like it, even having gone in expecting it to not be winning any awards anytime soon, but it felt like it spent its time focusing on the wrong points. It felt like if they’d re-assessed the story and changed it up a little, it could have been something that was much more memorable than it was.
As it is, I am left with another piece of media that had a pretty slick concept, and even a great cast, but it just let the pieces fall in the wrong pattern. It makes me feel like the parts are greater than the whole, and that actually disappoints me with it.
Who knows, maybe a second watching will give me a more favorable opinion of it when it comes out.