I like to think I’m a supportive friend; when one of my mates asked if his new hairstyle looked good, I nodded in enthusiastic agreement, despite it looking like he’d gotten in a fist fight with Edward Scissorhands.
DO NOT TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME.
Chaos Walking was looking to be Lionsgates’ Harry Potter (but nowhere near as successful) or their Chronicles of Narnia (but way more successful); it’s clearly aimed at a teenage audience – just look at Chaos Walking’s Twitter feed; it’s filled with so many memes that it would give my mother mild brain failure trying to work out what any one tweet means.
I couldn’t think of a more teenage baiting cast; with Tom and Daisy in leading roles, fandoms in a 50 mile radius of cinemas would collectively swoon, and seeing Nick Jonas in a supporting role just further supports the idea that this should be a young adult’s wet dream, to finally compete with Twilight.
And yet, I can’t see it having a single ounce of the success similar franchises received. It’s an interesting concept, but Chaos Walking falls so flat; it’s not an exciting watch, and the romance between the two lead characters is – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – nowhere near as good a love story than Twilight. Ironically, in a film where you can see everyone’s thoughts, you can also see where this film’s going from a mile off.
Chaos Walking is based on the first novel of a sci-fi trilogy, also named Chaos Walking. Set roughly 200 years from now – where I wouldn’t be surprised if we were still in lockdown – males of the New World have been afflicted with a condition called the Noise, whereby all of their thoughts are visible. After a spaceship crashes on this planet, Todd (Tom Holland) meets the very first girl he’s ever seen, Viola (Daisy Ridley).
As I’ve said; I was intrigued by this concept – so much so that I may go back and read the books – but I was left disappointed by the film adaptation. For starters, at times, I wanted to happy-slap whoever mixed the sound; the Noise was so difficult to understand at times, and seeing as that was one of the only unique moments of Chaos Walking, it kinda makes it pretty important. (Thank goodness you couldn’t see what I was thinking during this.)
I appreciate that this film is targeted at young adults, but when I say ‘young’, I am talking of people from late teens to their thirties. I am not talking about babies. So why was the Noise used so poorly? It was always going to be a difficult task to communicate people’s thoughts, because no-one does literally think of sentences, like “Oh. My throat is dry. I must quench it with a cool glass of water.” Instead, one just thinks they’re thirsty. But the Noise was so obvious here; we know that Tom’s character hadn’t seen a woman before – there wasn’t a single female in the entire first act, so why be so blatant and have Todd’s Noise say “I have never seen a girl before”? Was he actually thinking that? Does the audience need its hand held this much?
I’m usually a sucker for a cheesy film – don’t get me started on The Goudafather – but Chaos Walking actually become eye-rollingly cliched at times. If I ever have to see someone stab a knife into a map to indicate a location, then it’ll be too soon. Who does that? You’ve torn the map that is presumably a necessity in this adventure, and you’ve definitely damaged the table beneath it. There’s even a cute dog. Because if there isn’t a cute dog in a movie, is it worth watching? I haven’t read the books that Chaos Walking was based on, so I don’t know if the pooch played an integral role, but… Meh. Why? Was the dog included to help me from getting too distracted? I can only think that must be the case, because the dog had to be a last minute addition. So much so that Todd and Viola, after travelling for hours, were drained and exhausted, needing to rest, and yet Todd’s dog from home managed to find them. I know dog’s have a good sense of smell, but Christ – get this one of Britain’s Got Talent.
Chaos Walking isn’t all bad. As I said, I am a fan of both Tom and Daisy’s and I think they are, naturally, great with what they’re given. They do deliver some of the only jokes in there, and lighten the spirit of this film, and the chemistry between them seems pretty sweet. In fact, the entire cast is fantastic. Mads Mikkelsen is a joy to watch as he becomes more and more unhinged; the same can be said for the murderous priest, played by David Oyelowo. As a fan of hers, I was slightly disappointed by Cynthia Erivo’s lack of screen time, but I hope to see more of her in the sequel… If Chaos Walking gets one.
I dare say die-hard fans of Tom and Daisy will probably enjoy this film; they’re both very likeable in it, but I sadly cannot see it ever going down in history as one of the best fantasy adventures, by any means.