Comic Book Movie Review – R.I.P.D.

Despite the universe’s best attempts to keep my wife and I from seeing this movie, we were able to watch, and enjoy this movie.  Going into the theater, we noticed that there was a leak in the ceiling.  I didn’t think too much of it.  It was down in the very front rows of seats, where hardly anyone ever sits anymore.  Well, apparently someone did sit down there, because 20 minutes into the movie, a soggy piece of the ceiling tile fell off, and either landed right behind them, or maybe glanced off them.  The guy turns around and starts yelling at everyone else in the theater.  Some people try to point out that a piece of the ceiling fell.  The guy storms out, cussing us as he goes.  I find out from other patrons that he went to the lobby, where he was yelling at every employee he could find.  Shortly afterwards, the fire alarm goes off, so we all have to evacuate.  We were probably outside for about 30 minutes, waiting for the fire department to show up.  Apparently, a water pipe backed up over the theater I was in, and caused a leak, and this set off the fire alarm.  Or that’s how the on-site security guy explained it.  But once the mess was cleaned up, we did get to go back in, and get free passes for another movie.  Then, about 15 minutes from the end, the film freezes for a couple minutes.  And that was my movie-going experience.  It may be worse than the time I went to a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the film disintegrated right as they’re going into the Ministry of Magic.  But anyways, onto R.I.P.D.

ripd-movie-posterR.I.P.D.

Directed by Robert Schewntke

Written by Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi, and David Dobkin

Comic written by Peter M. Lenkov

Starring
Jeff Bridges as Roy Pulsipher
Ryan Reynolds as Nick Walker
Mary Louise-Parker as Mildred Proctor
Kevin Bacon as William Hayes

Boston Cop Nick Walker is killed during a drug bust.  Because of his skills as a police officer, he is recruited into the Rest In Peace Department.  Their job is to find souls that were able to avoid passing into the afterlife (aka “Deados”), because well, a lot of people die each day, and it clogs up the system.  Nick is assigned to by Roy’s partner, despite the protesting of Roy.  In the process of taking in their first deado, they find some gold pieces that relate to something Nick had going on while he was still alive.  Hijinks and blunders and heroic rescues ensue as they try to piece the mystery together and save the world. 

This movie was pretty much exactly what I was expecting from it.  However, it’s also pretty much exactly what I wanted from this movie.  I wanted a fun, buddy-cop movie in which they take down people that are already dead.  And that’s what I got.  It seems silly to me to have expected anything more from this movie.  This movie, along with the likes of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters which I watched earlier this week, is why I try not to pay very much attention to critics, and avoid commenting on whether or not a movie is “good.”

What causes a movie to be recognized as “good?”  I’m not referring to the work put into it, but rather once it’s released, when it’s known as a “good” movie or a “bad” movie.  I think it’s fairly safe to say that if the vast majority of people and critics like a movie, then it’s recognized as a “good” movie, and the opposite for a “bad” movie.  But there’s the catch.  The masses may not agree with the individual in regards to what they want out of the movie.

I watch movies because I want to be entertained.  I want to sit down, watch a movie, and enjoy the experience enough that I forget about the rest of the world for a couple hours.  If a movie does this for me, then I like the movie.  I liked R.I.P.D.  Yes, it’s often cliche and predictable, but I don’t always want surprises for the sack of having surprises. Too many times, filmmakers try to throw in these plot twists out of nowhere, thinking they are being clever, when really it’s just bad storytelling.

They almost did the “Jeff Bridges really looks like Marissa Miller so guys check him out” thing one too many times, but then they showed someone actually hitting on him.  It was funny to me to see Jeff Bridges tell someone that he’s a woman, and not a piece of meat.  But then again, I really like Jeff Bridges.  They do explain why he’s basically playing an exaggerated version of his Rooster Cogburn character from True Grit.  When you get recruited, you serve a 100-year term.  So, his character really was an 1800s lawman.  But wait, shouldn’t that mean he’s finished his term by now, you ask.  That gets explained at the end.  Disciplinary punishment adds years onto your term.

Inside this movie, there was also a subtext of getting closure and moving on.  When Nick comes back, he’s fixated on trying to communicate with Julia, his wife.  But he cannot actually tell her who he is.  (Yes, like Dead Like Me.)  Roy points out to him that while he may think he’s trying to reconnect with her, what he is really doing is haunting her. He needs to let her go so that she can continue to live.  Yes, again it’s cliche, but dammit I liked this movie.

So, take this review/soap box moment as you will.  If the trailers interest you, then odds are you’ll probably like this movie.  If not, then you should probably just stay away.

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