- Directed by Doug Liman
- February 24, 2021 (South Korea) / March 5, 2021 (US)
When a ship crashes on a distant planet, its arrival begins to uncover terrible secrets and now a young man must save the lone survivor by guiding her on a perilous journey.
Chaos Walking came to my attention under a cloud of terrible. I remember reading articles when I heard about this movie. At first it had a scheduled release date then it was pulled reportedly being declared by studio executives as ‘unreleasable.’ Thank goodness for Black Friday deals or I might not have seen this until much later. Or maybe never.
I would not call Chaos Walking all that bad. It is an entertaining enough film but it is not something that should be released in theaters. Theatrical releases should feel like they belong in a theater. It should be an experience you might not necessarily get at home. This feels like a better than most episode of The Outer Limits revival.
This is a movie with something to say and that is something I am fine with. This main problem though is that it is heavy handed when it says what it needs to say. Messages work best in film when they are wrapped in an entertaining story, and you only realize there is a message when you are walking out of the theater or perhaps talking in passing with a friend about the movie. Here the message is shoved in your face like you would the face of a dog who just urinated on the carpet.
Chaos Walking deals rather heavily with misogyny, sexism, and religious fanaticism. Nothing wrong with touching on the subjects but the way it is handled here is a bit heavy handed. They use a blunt instrument to deliver their message when they should perhaps be more gentle. Given the presence of a clearly intelligent species already on this planet they could have gone for a racism allegory as well. As it is The Spackle barely exist in the narrative.
Chaos Walking stars Tom Holland as Todd, Daisy Ridley as Viola, and Mads Mikkelsen as Mayor Prentiss. Holland plays Todd, a young man who has lived on the plant since birth, in the same way he does Peter Parker. He is all awkward teenager.
I guess Todd is supposed to be anyway. Some dialogue alludes to Todd being young but dialogue other makes him sound older. His awkward nature can be attributed to his settlement of Prentisstown being devoid of women supposedly due to a conflict with New World’s native inhabitants known to the settlers as The Spackle. All you will see though is Peter Parker and that hurts the film.
The males on this particular planet are affected by a particular malady. Their thoughts can be heard and seen by other people. The title itself derives from a bit of in story fiction where men with their thoughts exposed are called chaos walking. I think one of the major issues with the film is the title. The title references a concept by the characters but does not do anything to connect with the audience or even hint at what the concept might be.
The story though is entertaining enough and the execution of the unwanted telepathic powers works. What is missing is aside from Prentisstown there is very little shown about how visible telepathy has affected planetary societies. That is an important element that only becomes important when the villain needs dealt with.
Chaos Walking is not a bad movie, but it is far from perfect. It needed a rewrite or two in order to bring things together. I am not going to highly recommend this but if it is on do not necessarily pass it up.