Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Movie Review: GHOST RIDER


Normally I don't bother with movie reviews, but as I've pointed out if it's sent to us then I'll review it. So as we were given a ticket to the preview of Ghost Rider tonight I feel obliged to review it.

I walked into the movie expecting it to be fairly poor. It's not that I didn't have high hopes for the flick - I mean I've been waiting for this film since I first picked up a copy of Ghost Rider back in 1979 (issue #34 - which I'm going to get Don Perlin to recreate the cover to in a month or so) and I've been a fan of the character ever since then. And why not? The comic had motorbikes, demons, bad guys, damsels in distress - it had the works! Every little boys dream come to life. Later I discovered that the true Ghost Rider was a co-creation of Dick Ayers and had nothing to do with ole Zarathos (as I later discovered his name was). Still the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider was the first one I saw and the best for me.

The movie itself had some nice touches. We saw Carter Slade in the form of Sam Elliott (the original, Dick Ayers Ghost Rider - Marvel later changed his name to Night Rider) and seeing Peter Fonda doing his poor man's Jack Nicholson impressions are always a hoot. But what bothered me the most was Nicholas Cage.

I understand that Nic Cage's name will bring a lot of people to see this movie that normally wouldn't bother seeing comic book movies, but Jeez Louise! It'd be nice to see him in a movie where he didn't spend his time talking like a cut-rate Elvis impersonator and not doing those wanker hand movements. Otherwise he was a halfway decent Blaze. Eva Mendes made a decent Roxanne Simpson, nothing great but serviceable and the rest of the cast did their job with the material on hand.

Now the Ghost Rider itself was damn near perfect! I loved it. Seeing it riding down the streets and up the sides of buildings just made me want to leap up and cheer. That's what it should be about - pure comic book moments. Seeing the Ghost Rider getting dipped into the Yarra River was funny - I'd have thought that nothing could live in the Yarra, but hey, they proved me wrong (the movie was filmed in and around Melbourne and it shows. Cityscape's are clearly Melbourne on display as are much of Victoria's landmarks). Just seeing the Ghost Rider was enough for me and out of five the Ghost Rider gets four. It'd have gotten five but the dialogue that came out of the characters mouth was just wrong. Sorry, but the script was the killer here along with some hilarious direction.

Overall I liked the movie. I expected the characters origin to be altered from the comic book and it was - no great shocks there. I'd have liked to see Johnny Blaze's leathers make an appearance, sadly it wasn't to be as the visual inspiration was clearly the 1990s Ghost Rider and not the 'classic' Rider I grew up with.

So, on a rate of one to five, with one being totally crap (think Batman & Robin with George Clooney) and five being more than watchable (think V For Vendetta, Superman or Spider-Man) Ghost Rider gets a solid three. Go and see it. If you liked the comic you should like the movie. It'd get four and half if someone had toned down Nic Cage, written some decent dialogue or used those damn cool leathers...

Now if someone could just find me a copy of the Richard Donner cut of Superman II I'd be a damn happy man.


Chade said...

I'll be seeing it next week sometime, so I'm glad that it passes your watchability scale. The big thing I want to know is, does the film contain that great little diddy: Ghost Rider? If they've got a version of that track in there I'll be grinning ear to ear.

Danny said...

End credits...oooohhhhh yeah!