Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Brief Thoughts On Edison

I recently watched the original version of the film Edison (before it was slightly re-edited and renamed Edison Force). One question kept running through my mind: HOW? I don't mean “how” in how the movie got made. It doesn't take much to get a movie made these days. What I mean in the hell did the people behind this film convince so many good and well-known actors to appear in it?

Looking strictly at the cast of Edison, you'd think that it would be a great movie. You have Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Justin Timberlake, LL Cool J, John Heard, Dylan McDermott, Piper Perabo and Cary Elwes. All of these people (save for Justin) are established actors who have done good work in other movies. Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman are Oscar winners. This film should have been a dramatic powerhouse. Instead, it's a B-movie with an A-movie cast.

Edison is poorly written, directed, and edited. Even though the storyline is not anything new, it can be confusing at times to figure out what is going on. This is a movie that seems to move faster than it should but still feels long. There are a lot of things that are laughable in this movie for all the wrong reasons. For starters, the special undercover police squad in the film is named F.R.A.T. I'm not kidding. The dialogue is just terrible at times. The best actors work with what they have but even Morgan Freeman can't make dialogue like “So you're doing it for the pussy?” sound remotely serious.

Many times throughout this film, you feel like you're missing something. Sequences that feel like they should be there (for example, scenes between Piper Perabo and Justin Timberlake) aren't. The movie doesn't have a good flow to it. Scenes just kind of jump from one to another. I think this movie should be screened in advanced film school classes to show how not to go through the motions of a movie.

As for Justin Timberlake...I feel bad that this is his first movie role. He doesn't give that good of a performance in this film, but I don't blame him. Veteran actors can figure out how to act for a part if the director doesn't know how to work with actors. Young actors, though, are molded by their directors. Since the director of Edison wasn't very good, Justin's performance suffered. I'm positive that he'll put in better work in upcoming films like Alpha Dog and Black Snake Moan. In the meantime, he can be comforted in the fact that most stars' first big movies are terrible.

Quite simply, Edison is a terrible movie that deserved the direct-to-DVD treatment. Hell, this movie should have gone straight to late-night basic cable. So many good actors are wasted in this movie. We all know that many actors just do movies for the money. It seems like there's no movie too cheesy for Samuel L. Jackson to be in. However, somebody somewhere must have offered the actors in Edison a lot of money for them to appear in something so damned dreadful.

I wonder if Edison Force is any better than the original Edison. The only way I'll find out is when I need a good (sad) laugh.

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