Two names I never thought would fit well together are director Stephen Sommers and author Dean Koontz. Sommers is well known for his over-the-top CGI-laden spectacles — Deep Rising, The Mummy and Mummy Returns, Van Helsing, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra — so it’s honestly refreshing to see him handling something on a smaller scale. While far from a character driven independent outing, Odd Thomas is the best film on both Sommers’ and Koontz’s big screen resumes. Not since 1988’s Watchers has a Koontz novel translated so well, and considering the amount of novels he’s written — seven in the Odd Thomas series alone — it’s about time someone finally got it right. And even better for fans of the series, Sommers has stayed pretty faithful. Even if Elvis didn’t make the cut, at least the sorta-twist ending is intact.
Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) tries to live a quiet life in Pico Mundo, California. The problem is he can see dead people who want his help in finding the culprits of their death allowing them to rest in peace. He has a confidant in police chief Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe), who believes him due to Odd always being right, and a girlfriend he’s destined to be with forever in Stormy (Addison Timlin). Odd can also see creatures called “bodachs” that are always lingering around whenever something bad is about to go down. On August 14, Odd sees more bodachs than ever surround a man named Robert Robertson (Shuler Hensley) whom Stormy nicknames Fungus Bob because his haircut looks like a mushroom. After following Fungus Bob home, he uncovers what could be a terroristic plot taking place the next day and Odd’s friend Viola’s (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) nightmare may hold the key to solving everything.
Odd Thomas may fit snugly onto a 25GB disc, but it comes with absolutely no special features keeping most anomalies at bay. In fact, were in not for two instances of shimmer — one on Dafoe’s jacket and another on Arnold Vosloo’s shirt — the 2.35:1 framed image would be just about perfect. I can’t help but think that had Image Entertainment sprung for a 50GB disc, things would be downright flawless. Blacks are super inky but never overwhelm into crush. Detail is impeccable which should come as no surprise as the film was shot with Red cameras.
Colors are the best feature with tanned skin tones never leaping to orange with objects including foliage and Stormy’s scooter with plenty of pop while never bleeding. The single 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t a mind-blower, but when the action kicks in, prepare yourself to be immersed in surround action and deep, rumbling bass. There was an instance or two where the dialogue looked out of sync, but considering you could understand what was being said, it would be a source issue and not counted against the transfer.
Odd Thomas does have plenty of CGI thrown around, but it’s almost all used to convey bodachs on the prowl. Yelchin is definitely the best fit for the character, keeping the antics grounded. Sommers’ tone may be inconsistent, but there’s more fun than you’d expect. It’s too bad the film is playing in such limited theaters but as it’s available via VOD services, you won’t hate yourself for ordering it. Oddball is the name of the game here, but Odd Thomas is nothing short of high energy, oddball fun. There’s even a true laugh-out-loud moment involving a woman’s scream and Stormy’s reaction. Anyone who’s suffered through Koontz’ previous big screen abominations — the less said of Phantoms or Hideaway the better — can rest easy knowing that someone has finally managed to bring some life to a Koontz adaptation. Unfortunately, while there are six more books in the series, we probably won’t be seeing any more of Odd Thomas, which may be the biggest disappointment.