In the not-too-distant future, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers Viola (Daisy Ridley), a mysterious girl who crash lands on his planet, where all the women have disappeared, and the men are afflicted by “the Noise” – a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened – and as Todd vows to protect her, he will have to discover his own inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets. From the director of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow and based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland star with Mads Mikkelsen, Demián Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, and David Oyelowo in Chaos Walking.
What We Thought:
For some reason the science fiction genre has had some all-time clunkers at the box office. Battlefield Earth, Jupiter Ascending, After Earth come to mind. Well now you can add Chaos Walking to that list. People will blame Covid for the film’s disappointing box office numbers, but what they might not realize is, long before the mess of 2020/2021, Chaos Walking was known to be bad.
If you don’t know the story, well the film was shot in 2017. It tested poorly to say the least and had extensive reshoots in 2019. Tom Holland had to shoot Spider-Man: Far From Home and Daisy Ridley had to shoot Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker before going back to this film. Even with all the reshoots, it was destined to bomb and they are lucky they can use the pandemic as the excuse.
I’m actually a huge fan of the film’s director Doug Liman. I think Holland is one of the better young actors going and is full of charisma. Ridley has shown she can do sci-fi well. Add in a supporting cast of Demian Bichir, David Oyelowo, Kurt Sutter, Cynthia Erivo, and Mads Mikkelsen and it makes no sense that this movie is as bad as it is. I think the biggest problem is the lack of consistency. If you read the synopsis you can see what the movie is about and it also mentions something called The Noise. The Noise is all the thoughts of the men (not women) and men can see and hear everything other men are thinking. Well most of the time. At times it’s used to move the story along, used for a bit of comedic relief and to help with action. Other times it’s completely forgotten. There’s one scene in a raging river where Holland is fighting another character (I won’t spoil who) and neither men have The Noise going on during this fight. Really? Two men trying to kill each other while going downstream have zero thoughts going on? Not one thought about hoping not to drown or how to kill the other person? I guess they forgot about it then.
Ridley’s character was born and raised on a spaceship. She crash lands on this planet, sees and experiences things she’s not familiar with yet at no point does she struggle with anything. She eats things for the first time. She meets a dog, sees sheep and horses and has no real reaction towards them. I guess all the learning on the spaceship prepared her for it. Meanwhile Holland has never seen a girl before and they use that as comedic relief, but Ridley’s character is 100% functionally perfect in this new world. Again, no consistency.
I had heard that Chaos Walking wasn’t good and it’s all true. It’s more dull than anything else. None of the characters really get fleshed out or developed in the slightest. Nothing seems to surprise anyone besides Holland. Mikkelsen playing the bad guy is about the only memorable thing about the film. I’m not familiar with the books the movie is based on so I can’t comment on how accurate it is to the series, but I think even hardcore fans of the books will probably think it’s bad. Unless you’re an absolute Holland diehard I would completely skip over this one.
Cast: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Demian Bichir, David Oyelowo, Kurt Sutter, Cynthia Erivo, Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas, and Ray McKinnon
Directed by: Doug Liman
Screenplay by: Christopher Ford and Patrick Ness
Produced by: Erwin Stoff, Doug Davison, and Alison Winter