So does Dreamcatcher reinforce the belief of most people that Stephen King's work is becoming more derivative? Or is it yet another case of an inferior adaptation? Maybe it's a little bit of both. At its core, Dreamcatcher feels like a B-movie with a huge budget. Dreamcatcher is the story of an alien invasion, and of a group of friends that find themselves right in the middle of it. Dr. Henry Devlin, Gary 'Jonesy' Jones, Joe 'Beaver' Clarendon, and Pete Moore grew up together and share an amazing bond, thanks to their friend Duddits. When they were children, the four rescued Duddits, who is mentally challenged, from some older bullies. In return, Duddits granted them special powers. They can sense each other's thoughts, read minds, and have the ability to find things.
Everything changes on a weekend hunting trip to the woods. Jonesy (Damian Lewis, Robinson Crusoe) and Beaver (Jason Lee, A Guy Thing, Stealing Harvard) come across a sick man. This man believes that he ate some bad berries, but Jonesy notices that his chest keeps expanding to an unnatural size. The man is actually incubating an alien, which quickly emerges and 'possesses' Jonesy. Meanwhile, Devlin (Thomas Jane, The Sweetest Thing, Original Sin) and Pete (Timothy Olyphant, The Safety of Objects, Rock Star) get into an accident in the snow on their way back to the cabin. All around the four friends, strange things are happening. Animals are fleeing with a strange red substance on them. The military is quarantining the area, refusing to let people go. And the possessed Jonesy is speaking with a British accent.
It turns out that this is nothing new to the military. Under the command of Abraham Kurtz (Morgan Freeman, The Sum of All Fears, High Crimes), a special unit of the army has hunted these aliens for year. Kurtz is the guy that 'cleans up' any potential mess and makes sure that it stays out of the public eye, and his job right now is to make sure that nothing goes wrong here. If it sounds like a lot of plot, well, that is just the case. Adapted by William Goldman (Hearts in Atlantis, The General's Daughter) and director Lawrence Kasdan (Mumford, French Kiss), Dreamcatcher spends too much time on too many characters, losing a sense of the bigger picture. With four protagonists, there is not enough time for character development in any meaningful sense. The point is to show how these huge events are affecting people on a personal level, so that the audience can more easily relate to it.
Instead, Kasdan spends his time on gore. Dreamcatcher is a surprisingly bloody movie that rips off Alien while having the audacity to reference it. The aliens look like H.R. Giger castoffs, but it is pretty hard to distinguish between the CGI and real props. The script also veers genres uneasily, switching from serious science fiction to crude humor to break the tension. Think Signs, but with unsuccessful fart jokes. As the plot progresses and the special effects kick into high gear, Dreamcatcher's brain shuts down and it becomes less and less interesting. At the same time, this feels like a B-movie, so it is somewhat of a guilty pleasure on a smaller scale. It's not the kind movie that is thought-provoking, but the kind where somebody neglects their brain for a couple hours and watch people kill aliens by shooting them, setting them on fire, and stepping on them.
|Haro Rates It: Not That Good.|
|2 hours, 16 minutes, Rated R for violence, gore, and language.|
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