Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ghostriders In The Sky

Saw Ghost Rider with the “kids,” Nick & Diana, Sunday night. I REALLY liked this movie. Call it formulaic, call it contrived, call it what you will – I call it entertaining.

Based on the comic book, it’s the story of Johnny Blaze who sells his soul to the devil to save his cancer-stricken father. The devil’s requirement? Johnny must become the “rider”, the collector of souls. When the devil comes to collect, Johnny’s first job is to retrieve a contract of souls so powerful even the devil’s kid and his cronies are trying to find it first. How will the Reluctant Rider handle all this? As the tagline of the movie tells us, “His curse will become his power.”

Throw in a star-crossed romance, some nifty special effects and you have the makings of a fun movie. Operative phrase – fun movie. This is popcorn fare, not tortured soul drama. Comic book nerds, who take their graphic novels way too seriously, have been dissing this movie for weeks prior to its release. With an over $44 million opening weekend, I don’t think Hollywood will care that there isn’t enough angst on display!

Nicholas Cage is at his best portraying over-the-top characters – here he’s having fun. (The actor, by the way, is a huge comic book aficionado.) Eva Mendes provides eye candy, Peter Fonda and Sam Elliott provide the requisite gravitas. (I really liked Sam Elliott’s role – just enough sardonic grins to let the adults in the audience know it’s okay to enjoy a comic book flick.)

On a brief serious note, many old school comic books acknowledge the real battle between good and evil in the world. They deal with themes of justice, repentance and redemption, and good ultimately triumphing over evil and do it, in many cases, much better than the Oscar-nominated films.

I had fun at Ghost Rider! Go see it, I won’t tell anyone.

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