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 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.
Photo courtesy RLJ Entertainment