Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Age of Adaline Review

Last weekend it was my pleasure to watch and review the highly anticipated Avengers sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Last night while everyone else in the theater was either catching up on Age of Ultron or seeing for a second or third time, I decided to go see another "Age of" movie, that of course being The Age of Adaline. Normally I don't really care for romantic dramas like this. The chick flick formula in a movie bores me. I realize there are a lot of people that love these movies and that is perfectly fine, they're just not my cup of tea. However, The Age of Adaline had me curious. Not excited. Curious. No, I don't like chick flicks, but not all romantic-themed movies follow the chick flick formula and thus when a romantic drama strays from the formula or does something else that makes me impressed, I have been known to enjoy them. The Age of Adaline had me curious because I thought maybe this movie wouldn't just follow a predictable formula or maybe there would be more to the movie that would make it enjoyable. So I gave it a shot. Um, yeah. Didn't quite work out in my favor.

I hope you don't take it as a spoiler when I tell you that this movie is nothing special and that it does follow the super boring, predictable chick flick formula. But even so, I feel comfortable saying so because if you decide to see this movie, I want you to know what you are getting into. If you are in the mood for a chick flick because you like those types of movies, then by all means go ahead. But if you are expecting something more than that, you are going to be disappointed. If you decide to see it anyways, don't say I didn't warn you. If you haven't heard of The Age of Adaline, then let me enlighten you. Adaline is a fictional character that is born in the early 1900's. She's living a fairly normal life as she is married with a little daughter when tragedy strikes. First off, her husband dies. Second she's driving home one night when it starts to snow for the first time in that area and she ends up driving her car off the cliff and into the freezing cold water where she dies. Kinda. After two minutes in the water when her body temperature is exactly 87 degrees, she gets struck by lightning. These things happening just like that causes a phenomenon that brings Adaline back to life, but stunts her aging. So she is stuck as this woman in her late 20's. Apparently the exact conditions that cause this phenomenon will be discovered by this certain scientist in the year 2034. Or so the narrator tells us. Yeah...

I tell you the premise in great detail like that to illustrate a point. The point is there is a whole ton of bad writing in this movie. Now the idea of getting powers after getting struck by lightning isn't a bad one in and of itself. That's the premise of my current favorite TV show, The Flash, which you should all watch. Also, if someone wanted to make a movie about a character that doesn't age or age, ages backwards, or something like that, then fine. There could be some sort of message taught there about the purpose of life or how the idea of staying young forever actually wouldn't be that good of an idea. But  if you're going to be that type of movie or show, then you should know what you are and run with it. The Age of Adaline takes itself so seriously and tries it's hardest to make this situation seem so realistic that instead of being this interesting drama, it becomes this ridiculously cheesy romance drama that is made worse by the fact that it is trying to be good. It's one of those movies where you wonder how in the heck this idea got past draft stage. Someone actually looked at this script and thought it would be a great idea. In fact, a lot of someones thought it would be an amazing movie and thus it became a movie. And somehow they convinced people like Blake Lively and Harrison Ford to star in their movie. That baffles me.

The other thing about the writing is that nothing that Adaline does in the movie makes much sense. They were trying to make everything in this movie feel super realistic, but if someone were actually caught in these odd circumstances, I don't think they would actually make the same decisions that Adaline makes. I don't even know where to begin with this because the more I think about it, the less this whole movie makes any sense. Every ten years she decides to change her identity and start living a new life. Why? Because she's afraid of the FBI. She's scared that someone will find out about her secret. But at the same time she hates that she can't age, so wouldn't she try to get help so she can start aging again? The bulk of this movie also takes place when she is like 100 years old or something like that. Up to this point, she has completely avoided romance for understandable reasons and is very cold when this random guy tries to force himself into her life. That was good. But then she gives in so easily and this romance begins. Why? Oh yeah, this is a chick flick. We have to have a romance. But is is so forced and practically shoe-horned in there. They created this character and situation where romance wouldn't happen. But they make it happen anyways. And yet, as I said before, they tried so hard in this movie to make it serious and realistic that the whole thing was just stupid. I'm not going to tell you what happens in the last half of the movie, but in terms of things not making sense, the events in the last half of the movie are the worst, the very worst being the huge grand finale.

I do have to be honest, though, despite all these complaints that I have, there were a lot of good things about this movie that did make it slightly more manageable than some of the other romance movies that I've seen. The first of this is the acting. Blake Lively plays the lead role of Adaline and she does a great job. Not only is she a gorgeous woman (that is a lot younger than I thought she was for some reason), but she is a great actress. No, I didn't like pretty much anything her character did, but she did the best with what she was given. None of the problems with this movie are her fault. Same situation with her guy thing in the movie. His name is Michiel Huisman and he was apparently in World War Z and Wild. He did fine. Their on-camera chemistry was good even if the romance made no sense at all. Then of course there is Harrison Ford. I really don't know why he took this role, but I really love him as an actor because he gives it his all in everything he does. No different here. He's not given much to work with, but he makes the most of it and makes his character the most interesting one in the movie. In addition to the acting, the movie was shot very well and had a decent score. A lot of the technical aspects of this movie were done just fine. Too bad the story was so bad that it really didn't matter.

Overall, I think the reaction from the group of people in the theater with me after the movie ended tells the story of this movie. I heard a lot of sniffles from the girls in the theater. Apparently they were all emotional and touched by the chick flick that they just watched that was definitely made for them and not for guys like me. But at the same time as I was listening to the sniffles of the girls, this group of guys that so generously accompanied some of these girls immediately started complaining about he stupid and cheesy this movie was. I agree with them. To be fair, the movie theater didn't feel like a prison to me while I was watching. That often happens when I force myself to watch a really stupid movie in order to get my review out. So kudos there. It was engaging enough to keep me semi-interested in what was happening, most of that because of the great acting by everyone. So it's not a complete waste. But if you decide to see this movie, just know what you are getting into. This is a by-the-numbers chick flick. If you love chick flicks, you might love this one. But if you need a movie to have an intelligent plot with characters that are well-written and you don't normally like chick flicks, then just do yourself a favor and skip this movie. My grade for The Age of Adaline is a 6/10.

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