Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I review Odd Thomas, but can't get Robert R. McCammon's awesome book Stinger out of my head

So I used to read a lot of books. Not so much now, though the last book I read was the first book of The Strain trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, and now I may never know what happens with the vampires and such because I can’t bring myself to sit down and take in a book! Oh well.

            Back in high school I read all of Dean Koontz’s existing books. He had such awesome stories: Watchers (about a human serial killer and a genetic monster on a collision course with a smarter than usual dog and the man he finds who in turn falls in love with a woman who gets more than she ever thought possible by falling in love with this man and his strange dog – and that’s just off the top of my head about a book I read over almost 20 years ago now), Lightning ( a time traveler falls in love with a wheel chair bound girl while he fights Nazis), Phantoms (a town left almost entirely empty except for a handful of people who have to work together to fight the supernatural creature that disappeared everyone), great characters and great action, but his stories were complex – which is why, I believe, his books are not turned into very good movies. Watchers was a direct to video movie starring Corey Haim and was vastly different from the book, Phantoms had a pretty big and decent cast but the story was too big to try and match so they went small and it failed.

            It’s weird, but in their prime, Stephen King and Dean Koontz were both great, and though for me Stephen King began to slip first, they both kind of lost favor from me around the same time. (I would feel it a disrespect when talking about Dean and Stephen to not mention Robert R. McCammon, his books probably surpassed both Stephen and Dean in my eyes. His stories were like pulp fiction to me, even his epic Swan Song was just so, I don’t know, all of his books were like graphic novels without the pictures – if that makes sense? Fast paced, and still interesting, kind of like all his books were written with the intention of them being made into movies. God how I loved Stinger. I never lost interest in McCammon, it was me who had changed this time. I read Gone South – a great book, but by the time he decided to write and publish a story again – some 10 years later – I’d lost all interest in reading (Hopefully only for the time being, though. Maybe I should find my copy of Stinger and check that book out again.).)

            I can’t recall the last book I read by Dean but I remember it felt a lot like the majority of his books, as Stephen King’s books had started to feel. I knew the Odd books were out there but for whatever reason, I wasn’t into it any more.

            I was surprised to see the trailer for Odd Thomas. A Dean Koontz book that was getting a pretty big budget and advertising push? This was something new. Then I never heard anything more about it, and the next thing I know it’s on Netflix. I will never understand the blind luck that Stephen King got by having his books being made into movies while Dean Koontz couldn’t.

            My wife did not like it. She said she didn’t hate it, she just didn’t like it. Her main thing was that Anton Yelchin seemed too old for his female costar, Addison Timlin, also, her character – to quote my wife – was “stupid”. She did seem a bit chirpy and bubbly and, okay, annoying maybe, but I didn’t have a problem seeing her and Anton together. My main problem was the fact that Nico Totorella was in the movie, and if you watch The Following (the first season streaming on Netflix, and I think it’s a pretty good show) then you’ll know right away when you see him that – and it’s not giving much away because this movie still has plenty of surprises – that he’s the bad guy in this movie too. He hasn’t worked enough to be in a movie and me to wonder if he’s a bad guy or not, if he’s in the movie, he’s the bad guy.

            So anyway, the movie – I thought – was pretty good. It is definitely too “cutesy” at times, and I feel that’s stuff from the book (I may not have read this book but I have read enough of Dean’s books to know what’s his and what’s not, if you’ve read the book let me know if the cute stuff of Odd cooking at the diner is in the book or not) that could have been taken out, and the banter between Odd and Stormy (yeah, Stormy) was horrible and just not needed! It was irritating how out of place and forced it all felt. The monsters in the movie were very good, though, and really made up for anything cute going on. The sense of impending doom was perfectly captured by the creatures that begin to swarm the whole town, the effects of the monsters, just everything about them were great, and the way Odd had to act as though he couldn’t see them for fear of them killing him off created one or two very humorous moments.

            My wife said I should rate movies one way, and then the ending of movies another, and this would be a perfect example. The movie was okay, the ending was awesome, the build up to the catastrophe and then . . . well . . .

            I was borderline Liked It/Really Liked It, but in the end I Loved It.

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