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Thoughts on "Wanted" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Unless you are craving cathartic carnage and bullets through the brain, then don't pay full price for this one. An even better idea would be to wait for DVD, so you could pause and rewind the bathing scene with Angelina Jolie.

Will I Own It On DVD: No.

1) From the previews, "Wanted" looked loud, violent and lazy. The actual film paralleled my first impressions as the project is a classic case of style over substance, which doesn't make "Wanted" unwatchable, however, it doesn't break any new ground either - unless you count being able to film bullets exploding through human skulls.

That being said, I bought a ticket strictly for a tiny bit of escapism, and mostly because Jolie looked so damn hot in the trailers.

2) Jolie takes on a part which requires very little dialogue, and instead, mostly requires her to fire weapons and ride a plethora of trains while looking ridiculously hot. She pulls it off quite well. The aforementioned bathing scene is also stellar as Jolie parades around wearing a lot of tattoos and nothing else.

While Jolie looks great, she is teetering on the edge of being too damn skinny. The filmmakers seem to acknowledge this fact, and go out of their way to show Jolie eating actual food in multiple scenes as if to proclaim to audiences, "See - she does eat. We promise." It's not entirely believable.

3) James McAvoy ("Atonement") plays the anxiety-ridden office drone, who later transforms into a bad-ass killer under the tutelage of Jolie. McAvoy tries to give his character depth, and he is somewhat successful in this quest. Personally, I found him far more believable when he was playing a spineless loser versus a tough-as-nails assassin, which may be due to his acting ability or simply that he appears too slight to pose a real threat to anyone.

4) The actual script for "Wanted" seems to have been pulled from better movies like "The Matrix," "Fight Club," and possibly even "Dead Poets Society" if you want to count a perversely violent "Carpe Diem" message. I'm simply tired of the story line of a secret group of assassins who must keep the world in balance through killing or something similar.

5) Towards the end of movie, McAvoy is doing an audience voice-over (one of several during the running time) and part of it stated: "I was ordinary and pathetic - like you." I laughed out loud in the theater (nobody else did) as I couldn't believe that the filmmakers would let McAvoy seemingly insult the audience. It was a bold move to chastise people - ordinary people - for paying good money to see a very mediocre project and might constitute the most surprising element of the movie.

Overall, "Wanted" was a consistently violent film that was interesting to look at thanks to the camerawork as well as Jolie's presence. The story was lackluster, but then again, summer movies aren't known for provoking deep thought.



  1. This is on my list - mostly because I'm a fan of Jolie - however, I read the violence is over the top, so it may not make my 4th of July "list", which right now has HANCOCK at the top.

    Jolie filmed this movie right after the death of her Mother and she lost weight.... which clearly she didn't need.

    Do you find yourself analyzing the dialogue more than you used to?

  2. Heff Says:
  3. This is NOT on my list, simply because I'm NOT a Jolie fan. Sure, she's hot, but the bitch is certifiably crackers in my book, and not in a GOOD way. I'll catch the bath scene on Dish, however. lol.

  4. Anonymous Boxer -
    I like Jolie as well, and your pecking order sounds very reasonable to me. This would be fine for a matinee, but you don't need to rush out to catch it. I also remember reading about Jolie's weight loss around that time, and it definitely shows. Finally, I've always paid a fair amount of attention to dialogue as I was a journalism major, but lately, I find myself paying more attention to structure which is something that has come up since I started writing the scripts.

    Heff - Jolie is a little sideways, but I can handle that. Ha. And she's not nearly as crazy as she was back when she was with Billy Bob Thornton. And your DISH plan is very sensible & it will save you about 1 hr. 45 minutes.

  5. Wendy Says:
  6. Nobody laughed because they ARE ordinary and pathetic. (Kidding.) Ugh. I hate when the lead actor narrates a movie. It hardly ever works and its implication is that the director thinks we're too ordinary and pathetic to figure out what's going on.

  7. nobich Says:
  8. oh damn I was hoping this was good!!

  9. I'm so sick of bullet movies. Really, how many ways can a movie show somebody getting shot these days? John Woo destroyed my ability to watch a gunfight movie. He over-indulged us with bullets, and now, they are meaningless bits of movie-magic, and nothing more.
    What we need know is something with a bit more subtlety. How about a movie with nothing but strangling and smotherings.

  10. Wendy - Exactly. Ha. And I agree about the narration as it's a generally a lazy way to explain what's going on, and in this case, it wasn't exactly difficult to follow.

    Nobich - It's not horrible. "Wanted" was what it looked like to me in the previews, which may or may not work for you. Just don't pay full price & you'll be happier.

    WhatIgot - I agree about all the bullets flying as Woo and The Matrix also meant that things have been taken a bit too far (at least for me). It just doesn't impress me very much these days. As for your suggestion, I imagine that you can find plenty of that stuff in those movies like "Hostel" and others of that genre (and they get older even faster than the bullets for me). Finally, meaningless was a good word choice to describe the bullets.

  11. This movie looks horrible to me. Even with Angelina Jolie, who I think it incredibly hot, I'm not going to be able to talk myself into seeing this one. At least not until it starts playing on HBO 30 times a week in another 8 months.

  12. Mr. DNA Says:
  13. Action porn.

    My wife can't wait to see it. I have a mild interest.
    But I think I'd rather see WALL-E first.

  14. Native Minnow - That was my line of thinking as well, but then I talked myself into paying $4 to see the thing because Jolie was so hot. I don't feel bad, but that doesn't mean it was particularly good either.

    Mr. DNA - I like the Action Porn label much like I thought the Torture Porn label applied to stuff like Hostel. It doesn't do that much for me by itself, but if your wife is up for it, then you could probably do worse than seeing "Wanted." "Wall-E" is supposed to be excellent & I'm glad its doing well because the concept had some depth.

  15. I have to admit that this movie is also on my list of movies to see. Partly because my daughter and her little "boyfriend" want to see it so I will take them. But mainly because I am a Jolie fan. She is definitely on my list of women I would do.

    Anyway thanx for the review, I always enjoy them. Now I don't have any great expectations (not that I did in the first place)

  16. Miss Ash Says:
  17. This one is actually on my list to see shockingly enough! But as I told Jlee, I just saw SATC so this might take me a few weeks to get to!

  18. Trina - I think your expectations will be fine to catch this one, especially if you like Jolie. That was my main reason to see it, and I wasn't too disappointed. Enjoy.

    Miss Ash - Does it really take you that long between movies? Ha. Oh well, it can be hard to squeeze them in sometimes, and this one doesn't require you to run right out and see it now.

  19. Linda Says:
  20. I liked this one. I liked the style, especially the chase scenes. Still puzzling over whether the car in the first chase scene was a Ferarri or an Acura. I could never get a good enough look at the logo. Always makes me a little sad when they smash up exotic sports cars in movies!

  21. I thought the look was just fine, but I just didn't think it had much else going for it at all (outside of Jolie - ha). As for the car, I believe - not sure - that it was a Dodge Viper. Don't quote me on that one, but . . . that's my guess.

  22. vivavavoom Says:
  23. good review. since I rarely get to see movies in the theater, this is not in the top 5. I still need to see Ironman, but of course Wall-e just came out and with 2 kids under 8....I am outvoted all the time!

  24. vivavavoom Says:
  25. oh and Jolie seems to do this thing where she loses a lot of weight and then you find out she is pregnant. My husband is probably the only man on this planet who does not find her attractive.

    I would not throw her out of my bed!

  26. Linda Says:
  27. Think you're right about the Viper, looked it up. If that's what it really sounds like, I underestimate Dodge .... thanks!

  28. Vivavavoom - I would see Iron Man first without a doubt (and I"m not wild about comic book movies in general). And your husband is a strong man as I'm more of your view about Jolie. Ha. Have a good holiday.

    Linda - I thought it looked like a Viper as that's the high-end Dodge sports car. I think they're pretty fast & at one point more than $80,000 (and that's probably gone up by now). Happy 4th.

  29. BostonPobble Says:
  30. I'm a Morgan Freeman fan. Gotta go. Love me some Morgan Freeman... (And he can act, too!)

  31. BostonPobble - I'm a big Morgan Freeman fan myself, but even I'm starting to get tired of him being the super-wise leader of everything. Ha. I'm ready to see him be scratching his way up through the ranks. But he is always very good.


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