Click here to read about why I am reviewing movies and join in the fun.
I have been rather busy the last couple of days with work and finishing up a side job for a client. I finally got around to watching “The Man From Earth” and was excited with the possibility the movie promised. However, I now find myself writing a review and only wishing I had gone to bed instead.
The premise for the movie is something rather simple in it’s initial scope – an immortal man tells his friends of his life’s learnings and in return they find it hard to believe that their close friend is actually 14,000 years old. That premise is pure Jerome Bixby who wrote such classics as Mirror Mirror for the original Star Trek and Twilight Zone: The movie. Jerome was the writer of the plot but I can only hope not writer of the script. While far fetched in plot, I am always willing to suspend reality for the sake of a good plot or good acting, this movie however falls short in both categories. Sadly the filming and overall polish of the movie is comparable to a film student’s early work. More times than I care to count the image was blurry and the characters faces were out of focus. Far too often scenes were filmed in a way that had characters passing through the background in a distracting way. Additionally, in many scenes the image was grainy (leading me to believe that the film was produced with a shoestring budget that did not include proper lighting gear or an understanding of how to use it).
While the movie was filmed in 2007, I can forgive bad image quality and low budget productions if the script or acting is engaging. Unfortunately the script and cast were on par with movies often played on the SciFi Channel (apparently now SyFy, but I refuse to dumb myself down to the level of “spell-it-like-it-sounds” that the channel has now adopted). While many people on the movie trailer’s YouTube page may rave about this movie and the “wonderful script”, the level of thought and philosophical research put into this movie felt at best sophomoric. The hard hitting questions” asked in the movie reminded me of a student trying to sound smart based on small tidbits of knowledge they garnered from an episode of Jeopardy. The main characters (all but the two attractive young women who were there for reasons I still have not figured out other than keeping young boys interest in hopes of a love scene) are supposed to be college professors with Ph.D’s and years of scholorly training yet the the best they can do to muster up questions is ask about baseline people and events such as Columbus sailing, the Buddha and for a vast majority of the film – Christianity. The cast is a collection of D-class actors with little to no real grasp of their role or there supposed knowledge base.
On the issue of Christianity in the movie, the topic seems like it was forced into the script in an attempt at being edgy or thought provoking. However the story that is woven is so predictable and elementary that I caught myself laughing (both at the script and the actors attempts to make the movie seem hard hitting). The best way to sum up my overall thoughts of the movie is to take the acting of Samuel L Jackson in Deep Sea (the film where he gets eaten by a giant shark in an under-water laboratory) and mix it with the plot premise of Jurassic Park (you know where scientists can play God but at what cost….oh my!).
You may instead find the following movies about lifetimes to be more interesting and a lot better written/acted: