So many movies have companion pieces that are completely unrelated yet have everything to do with one another. Volcano/Dante’s Peak, Armageddon/Deep Impact and so on; all released within a two year period, seriously. For some reason Hollyweird drops all their liquid diarrhea at once in some kind of middle finger to competing studios, I really don’t know why. Now in 2018, almost 2019, this trend has refused to die. One could argue that Bird Box and A Quiet Place don’t have as much in common as those I previously named but I would have to disagree. One sense is simply traded for another = Hollyweird’s idea of originality. While Bird Box does change the dynamics a bit, the ways in which the characters navigate each scenario, (between Bird Box and A Quiet Place) it doesn’t differentiate itself enough to keep dummies like myself from making the obvious comparisons. Both feature pregnant main characters, I mean, come on… Bird Box is the companion piece for A Quiet Place (for better or worse) but A Quiet Place is the better movie in every way.
That doesn’t mean Bird Box is a bad movie per say but it’s not exactly a winner either. There is a lot to be admired here but a lot is holding it back as well. The performances are fine, particularly Sandra Bullock, she definitely carries the film. It squanders one of the best actors in the film in the first 15 minutes which I suppose you could see it as a bold choice but I would have held onto that talent as long as possible. John Malkovich played a particular character in Con Air and ever since has brought the same kind of ticks and timing to nearly every role he’s in. He’s becoming his own caricature and it can be distracting at times. Machine Gun Kelly is in the movie, I shit you not. He does well although his part is small he manages to never detract from the seriousness of the world ending. I was surprised to see him mostly because I thought Eminem killed him a couple months ago. 😉
Let’s talk about the what of it all; what is happening, what is it, what does it want? Does it think? Does it have form? Sorry to say it never fully explains. It gives you glimpses into what and how this new kind of world operates but for the most part we’re left in the dark (the puns, oh the puns). I enjoy the premise, the notion of something so firmly in the territory of second nature like seeing, using one’s eyeballs, is purely muscle memory and to suddenly not have that as a tool in this nightmare reality is terrifying. The characters continually have to remind themselves to keep their eyes shut no matter what which is a complete change to the very idea of being alive, to function as a human being (not including the blind of course). This idea however is one leg desperately in need of a second to help the plot stand on its own and it never really finds it. This could have been cured by giving us something more about what IT is. With A Quiet Place a sense of mystery was still maintained while still alluding to the nature of the creatures plaguing Earth; Bird Box gives us nothing.
By the end I was convinced this was nothing more than an elaborate, less ridiculous sequel to The Happening, where wind is bad, I guess. (Just imagine a lot of shoulder shrugs as you read this review)
With little to no warning the planet is plunged into a nightmare where sight is suddenly mankind’s worst enemy. Look and die, it’s that simple. Of course to survive is anything but. Very pregnant Malorie and her newfound armageddon buddies are quickly finding out just how much eyesight has cradled them and how unforgiving the world can truly be. Monsters included.
If films could prematurely ejaculate I think Bird Box would qualify as an overexcited participant. I am speaking about the structure of the film as a choice was made to show what was present time in the story and to flash back showing the meatiest part of the story. While this is nothing new, showing how a character got where we are first introduced by looking back, in the case of Bird Box this format only spoils itself in one major aspect; it tells us who dies and who survives alongside Bullock’s character. I knew in the first ten minutes of the film that certain characters were doomed simply because of what the film chooses to unveil entirely too early. This takes any and all impact of character deaths and stymies it. You never care when someone bites the dust because you knew it was coming.
Bird Box is anything but awful but to say it isn’t plagued with inconsistencies and glaring mistakes is to say you didn’t actually watch the movie. I enjoyed the brutality of it all, it certainly feels gut wrenching when people die on screen. Not surprising so much as viscerally jarring from a visual standpoint. Even if you know a character is about to die, seeing someone jump in front of a speeding garbage truck should never feel normal.
The idea is interesting but never fully realized and although brutal it still feels pulled back at times, it doesn’t always go for the jugular so to speak. If this is the end of the world and people are for some unknown reason offing themselves I want to feel it, I want to feel sick about it. At times it achieves that guttural reaction but other times it’s held back, mostly because of children in the scene I would imagine. And the ending, I don’t want to spoil but it just didn’t matter when it finally arrived. I wanted more tragedy in my end of the world soup, more hearty chunks please. Does this make me a psychopath? A sadist maybe? (Another shoulder shrug) When all is said and done Bird Box is worth a one time watch but don’t expect much. Enjoy what you can, if any of it, and move on. That said if you just skip it entirely you aren’t missing much.
Rated R For: violence, bloody images, language and brief sexuality
Runtime: 124 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, Trevante Rhodes
Directed By: Susanne Bier
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 3
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Eh. On Netflix now.
Check out the trailer below:
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