"Daybreakers:" Too Much Suck, Not Enough Bite
I hope everyone had a great holiday. 2010 has already gotten off to a great start with Pete Carroll granting my Christmas wish and going back to the NFL; Jay Leno moving back to 11:35 p.m. where he belongs; and "Avatar" becoming the highest grossing movie of 2009 in under a month (it's also the number three earner of all time and number two of all time worldwide). Until this weekend I was convinced that the 2010 movie season would also start out great. I was wrong.
I've been hoping for a vampire movie to come along and remind kids (I'm only 20 but I still think I'm old enough to lecture kids) that in my day vampires were not just deceased gothic kids. They were non-sparkly, burst-into-flames-in-the-sunlight deadly creatures. I've wanted to be able to see a movie that was more "Blade" than "Twilight" and I thought I had that in "Daybreakers." For twenty minutes I was right. But then, just like the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys, it collapsed on itself. This movie had way too much potential to fail, but it did and I'll explain why.
In case you don't know the plot (and to be fair the movie seemed to forget its own plot as time went on), the year is 2019 and vampires are the vast majority of the world, using humans as vessels for food. The problem is that humans are becoming extinct and the blood supply is dwindling, causing the vampires to revert back to a primitive state. Ethan Hawke plays Dr. Edward Dalton, a hematologist assigned the task of solving this crisis. Dalton hates being a vampire and is recruited by Willem Dafoe's Elvis Cormac, a former vampire who seeks to cure vampirism and bring back the human race. Ok, that sounds like a neat premise right? The problem is that when trying to execute this neat story the filmmakers (the Spierig brothers) could not follow through.
In the first 20 minutes they do a great job creating a dark city that has some density and with little dialogue cleverly bring us up to speed on how we got to this vampire majority. Then, once the events with Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe get underway, the movie becomes a hopeless mess of cheesy dialogue (mostly delivered by Dafoe, who tries way too hard to be a tough guy with clever quips) and bad action scenes (especially the end scene. wow.) Sam Neill is wasted as the villain, and the whole primitive vampire storyline is completely abandoned except during transitions when we get a few establishing shots of them under the sewer making noise. This will definitely be an automatic entry into my worst of 2010 list (I know it's January but still it was terrible). It made me wish that season 3 of "True Blood" could get here ASAP.
If you want to avoid this movie you have some alternatives. There is the romantic comedy "Leap Year" with Amy Adams (if you don't watch the trailer you won't be able to predict the movie), the Michael Cera comedy "Youth in Revolt" (should've picked that one last weekend), or you could see "Avatar" again.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned as Denzel Washington reads me "The Book of Eli."
-By Chauncey Telese
Remember you can see these and other fine movies at your local Edwards Cinema. Click here for local showtimes.