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It's just depressing for a movie lover like me to see a film like Joel Schumacher's 1990 Flatliners remade. Why? Can anyone come out with something we haven't seen before or at least from a fresh new POV. Somebody told me that my reaction is "generational" - I fear that's true. It makes me feel really old. I almost walked out of Mother!, the other day - something I've never done - because I felt treated like a moron. To steal from Robert Polanski to do what, what? Here is even worse. They're stealing from Joel Schumacher without having any of the...what was it that the 1990 had that this one hasn't? Well let's say that the first one wasn't a remake. Where are the mavericks? The new ones. The ones I love are in their 70's or gone. I do apologize I'm just venting my frustration. Thank you for indulging me.
When it comes to remaking a movie, I'm all for it if it means that
they're going to try and make a better movie out of something that
wasn't all that impressive to begin with. That being said, if the
original film was already solid or decently received by both audiences
and critics, then why bother? Flatliners was a film that was released
back in 1990, and I quite enjoy that film, even though the overall
product has many issues of its own. I didn't see the reason for a
remake, but I could see potential in improving it, so I was
open-minded. Sadly, Flatliners is one of the worst films I've seen all
year. Taking a solid premise and putting a supernatural spin on it for
absolutely no apparent reason, bothered me to no end. Here is why
Flatliners fails as both a remake and as an original piece to be shown
to a new audience.
The idea of doctors being capable of flatlining people and bringing them back to life, being able to have conversations about what death is like and going through hallucinations as a side effect is quite interesting; However, this version of the film becomes a supernatural thriller by the time it reaches its third act, making for a very confusing film, due to the fact that there is clearly no physical entity that could ever accomplish these things. This version of this concept just strips away anything that was exciting or intriguing about the original film. Not to compare and contrast, but idea of Flatliners definitely benefits from a more subdued and subtle approach to things.
What bothered me was the fact that the majority of the cast seemed capable of being subdued, but the film's screenplay was such a mess that I found myself thinking these actors/actresses deserved better material. In particular, Diego Luna and Ellen Page were actually very good in their respective roles, making for a few emotionally resonant moments, even though the lines they were given were pretty lame. Quite honestly, with a better script, a title change, and a bit of originality, this cast could've worked in a much better movie.
Even though the performances are all decent, the fact that this cast was a bunch of youngsters actually annoyed me. The original film was about a group of experienced doctors who had a neat idea, and were much more capable of being able to bring each other back to life. This time around, it's a group of students who have just enough knowledge in maybe being able to bring each other back. This notion alone was a scripting mistake, because it just becomes a story about naive young students who become obsessed with someone's experiment. I found no attachment to any of these characters and none of them really had a reason for wanting to die (with the exception of one or two without spoiling anything), which left me not caring from frame one.
In the end, this film benefits from a strong enough cast (for the most part) and the concept itself is very interesting, but all you have to do is watch the original to see how it should be done. This film tries too many new things, and quite frankly fails at pretty much all of them. Having terrible dialogue, an unnecessary supernatural turn of events, and a climax that turns into a straight up horror flick, I found myself not caring what the outcome for each of the characters would be. The only thing redeemable about this film is the premise itself, which has been done better in the past, so I can't recommend this movie to anyone, but I do recommend checking out the original Flatliners if you haven't seen it yet.
The 1990 original ( original ? haha) was not as good as we think we
remember.At a time when the cinema needs to refresh itself and stop
reworking old stale ideas..we get this ...utterly pointless.
Bad screen writing here..less than 1 dimensional at best and the acting is pretty atrocious in all honesty. The first 5 minutes made me wonder if it was gonna be any good...I could not foresee a movie go downhill so quickly...the ending was so daft I could hear people saying "What"? in the theatre.
Not even the addition of Keifer Sutherland could make this any less silly. Direction was lame and lazy...I get the idea they thought they were going to cash in..I also get the idea they are very much mistaken.
Rush release on DVD I would think to cash in before people catch on how bad it is. The story is really , really silly with enough plot holes to take the wind out the story.
Bad at best gave it a 3 because I'm in a good mood.
Look, a lot of remakes or reboots or whatever you want to call them
(Rebooquel sounds like something that might come from outer space so
the less said the better), they are the same because they are based on
the foundations of either good or great films - sometimes they can be
something else that is interesting, but with the rare exceptions they
don't improve on the originals. Flatliners had the potential, however,
to be something more since the 1990 Joel Schumacher film was not very
good, though it certainly had its ambitions and young stars who were
game for a Frankenstein-cum-Elm-Street premise. The saddest thing is
the remake does nothing visually to distinguish itself, and more
infuriatingly does diddly squat at the script level to find new ideas
for its premise.
Think about it: you can get someone to use some medical equipment to stop your heart, wait for a minute or two (or more!) while you are dead, and then can resurrect you so one can see what you went through while in that almost-all-gone phase of deadness. Is there a "light" at the end of the tunnel, or anything else? That's the meat that the 1990 Flatliners hung itself on, and while the script was mostly (surprisingly) under-cooked, in Schumacher there were no lack of off the wall visual ideas and the production design was off-balance, but it was certainly never boring. The 2017 Flatliners from the Swedish "Dragon Tattoo" director Oprev (and written by, of all people, the guy who scripted Source Code) is not interesting visually or striking in any way. This has the visual panache of tax attorney.
There is also some major mistaking going on at the casting level; at the least when you had that movie back in the 90's, you had that cast who had charisma to burn and could play off each other well (Oliver Platt had something to prove, man!) Here, with the exception of Ellen Page, no one is really bringing anything to the table and what the filmmakers have them do through the run time is either run-of-the-mill in terms of the story, or they kill off the *one* character that could keep us engaged with the material. Oh, and Keifer Sutherland shows up as discount House, MD, and what COULD be a connection to the original film - is this a sequel, may-hap - never materializes, making it simply an easy paycheck.
Why was this made if not a chance to explore some narrative or visual possibilities in the genre? Why not make it scary and push the R rating (this is PG-13) for audiences who are ready for a dark, suspenseful psychological thriller where young medical students who should know better have to grapple with the bad s*** they've done? This Flatliners isn't interested in that, either, and each character (Page included, and I don't count Diego Luna as he's the one who doesn't go for the flatlilining, and all we know about him is he's an ex-fireman, so who cares) has one note and only one trauma they have to re-experience in their half-hallucination-half-real state. The flaws from the original are not corrected, and the laziness amplifies it all. Not to mention at 110 minutes this feels punishingly long, and when the aforementioned character is out of the picture there's another half hour to go that feels like FIVE hours.
This is bland, stale, overheated garbage that made me literally BOO in my seat once it was done, not for anyone in particular in the theater, just because I could do it. It's one thing to get a remake that disappoints simply for existing (i.e. Ghostbusters last year), but it's another when you see what could have been in the hands of a twisted, hungry auteur out to show some shocking things - picture, for example, Tarsem circa The Cell, or Leos Carax or something - or a filmmaker who might want to just use the material for a straight drama and not go for the horror, which could also be done. Instead, Flatliners is stupid when it's not dull, and yet it's not stupid often enough to be an overall enjoyably bad movie (I did laugh here and there, but too little and too late). It's everything that is wrong with what SONY is currently doing in an overlong 110 minute package.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After seeing the already poor IMDb rating for this movie, I thought I'd
still give it a go as I was a bit of a fan of the original. Boy,
disappointment is an understatement.
It started off well enough, but the writer / director must've lost the plot somewhere.. 'Good Movie Scripts 101' tells me that if you have a significant event at the start of the movie, surely you don't just kill off this main character after you've developed the story around her right? It's just a recipe for disaster... unless you're Game of Thrones. Perhaps they were trying to give the audience some shock value or an element of surprise, but this has backfired completely in my opinion.
Somehow, another character (who really didn't have much of a background story) became the protagonist. The moral of the story became something about you shouldn't lie on an autopsy report. Really??!! Wouldn't it have been more relevant if the tragic loss at the beginning of the movie somehow tied into the ending, like uniting the 2 sisters that appeared to be key characters... until they weren't. The message of forgiving yourself would resonate a lot more with the audience this way I'm sure.
Oh, and don't get me started about why they brought Kiefer Sutherland into the movie and did absolutely nothing with his character.
Perhaps the plot wasn't so important, after all, it feels more like just another not-so-scary teen flick, but if it was meant to be something more, it well and truly flatlined... sometimes you just need to stick with the formula that works.
Terrible. Acting was OK but bordered on comical. Not scary at all and
second part was a bit loose.
Could have been darker with more urgency but flapped around quite a bit. The ending was boring as hell and didn't seem to convey anything.
Should've got to see Kingsman instead.
What started off as potentially a great film, suddenly turned into a complete boring mess. While going in a different direction to the 1990's version, I don't think the creators knew exactly what that direction was as it seemed to jump all over the place. While I giggled at certain ridiculous moments, the rest was spent thinking what exactly is going on? Ellen Page's performance was okay but I think the movie itself squashed what could have been a great acting role.
When it comes to its great effects and spooky ambiance, Flatliners has
a lot of style, but when it comes to its narrative, the film is
significantly lacking in substance. As a fan of the original, alongside
being an admirer of Ellen Page, I was really looking forward to this
film, though by the end, left the cinema disappointed.
Flatliners begins with Courtney (Page) experiencing a tragic loss. Nine years later, she is a medical student, trying to convince her colleagues to help with an experiment. Later in the film both events are connected, though significantly more depth was required.
As one can guess, Courtney's experiment involves her death, in an attempt to record what happens to the brain after a person flat-lines. Her friends Jamie (James Norton) and Sophia (the beautiful Kiersey Clemons), originally discouraged with her intentions, quickly become involved, as do Ray (Diego Luna) and Marlo (Nina Dobrev) when things don't go according to plan.
When characters travel to the other side, the use of light, sound and motion are used wonderfully to create a fantastic experience, the world beyond often visualised as been very beautiful, the music also adding to the magic of the occasion. After returning from their near-death experiences, characters are miraculously gifted with greater intellect, an idea that is never elaborated upon. Moreover, despite the characters been perceived as studious and intelligent, unlike the characters in The Taking of Deborah Logan, rarely do the leads in Flatliners attempt to use science, or their training, to find a solution to the problems they face, instead behaving much like the stereotypes found in other genre films.
Though the always entertaining Kiefer Sutherland (who deserved a much larger role) has a cameo, don't mistake this as a sequel this feature is in fact a remake, though it is disappointing we didn't get to see Sutherland's Nelson again after all these years.
Much like in the original, the characters begin to realise the consequences of travelling to the other side. It is during these moments, when the film fully embraces its dark material, that Flatliners is at its best. The music adds to the already well developed spooky atmosphere, and the performances of the cast further heighten the sense of dread. Though occasionally predictable, the feature has its share of unexpected scares, the chase sequences being very gripping.
Like the original, characters find themselves pursued by their 'sins', though the secrets the characters have been harbouring are rarely provided the required depth. Despite flirting briefly with the supernatural, the film pulls on this string only once, which was quite disappointing, the film rarely attempting to stray from the original. Though the original shone a flashlight on bullying, racism, sexism and betrayal, the remake is often centred around the competitiveness of the medical profession, which joins each of the characters together.
As the film progresses, the confrontation between the characters and their 'sins' becomes progressively worse, been far more malicious than what was experienced in the original. Though the film appears to be set for an exciting climax, it is here that the movie appears to run out of steam, and instead rushes towards a happy ending that does not do the film justice.
Flatliners is never boring, capturing the fun lives of the up and coming professionals of tomorrow, and the horror of when things go terribly wrong. The latter however is not given the depth it deserves, and coupled with its weak conclusion, the richness of the films potential goes largely untouched.
The movies have depicted the hereafter in varied ways over the years.
From the bleached white warehouses of Powell and Pressburger's "A
Matter of Life and Death" in 1946 and Warren Beatty's "Heaven Can Wait"
in 1978 to for me the peak of the game: Vincent Ward's mawkish but
gorgeously rendered oil-paint version of heaven in 1998's "What Dreams
May Come". Joel Schmacher's 1990's "Flatliners" saw a set of "brat
pack" movie names of the day (including Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts,
William Baldwin and Kiefer Sutherland) as experimenting trainee
doctors, cheating death to experience the afterlife and getting more
than they bargained for. The depictions of the afterlife were
unmemorable: in that I don't remember them much! (I think there was
some sort of spooky tree involved, but that's about it!)
But the concept was sufficiently enticing who isn't a little bit intrigued by the question of "what's beyond"? that Cross Creek Pictures thought it worthy of dusting off and giving it another outing in pursuit of dirty lucre. But unfortunately this offering adds little to the property's reputation.
In this version, the lead role is headed up by Ellen Page ("Inception") who is a great actress too good for this stuff. Also in that category is Diego Luna, who really made an impact in "Rogue One" but here has little to work with in terms of backstory. The remaining three doctors Nina Dobrev as "the sexy one"; James Norton ("War and Peace") as "the posh boy" and Kiersey Clemons as the "cute but repressed one", all have even less backstory and struggle to make a great impact.
Also putting in an appearance, as the one link from the original film, is Kiefer Sutherland as a senior member of the teaching staff. But he's not playing the same character (that WOULD have been a bloody miracle!) and although Sutherland adds gravitas he really is given criminally little to do. What was director Niels Arden Oplev ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") thinking?
In terms of the story, it's pretty much a re-hash of Peter Filardi's original, with Ben Ripley ("Source Code") adding a few minor tweaks to the screenplay to update it for the current generation. But I will levy the same criticism of this film as I levied at the recent Stephen King adaptation of "It": for horror to work well it need to obey some decent 'rules of physics' and although most of the scenes work (since a lot of the "action" is sensibly based inside the character's heads) there are the occasional linkages to the 'real world' that generate a "WTF???" response. A seemingly indestructible Mini car (which is also clearly untraceable by the police!) and a knife incident at the dockside are two cases in point.
Is there anything good to say about this film? Well, there are certainly a few tense moments that make the hairs on your neck at least start to stand to attention. But these are few and far between, amongst a sea of movie 'meh'. It's certainly not going to be the worst film I see this year, since at least I wasn't completely bored for the two hours. But I won't remember this one in a few weeks. As a summary in the form of a "Black Adder" quote, it's all a bit like a broken pencil .. pointless.
(For the graphical version of this review, please visit bob-the-movie- man.com. Thanks.)
There's been this trend in recent years to remake iconic or at least
popular movies from earlier years. For the most part these movies have
been met with yawns, disinterest and have been rightfully savaged by
the critics and viewers. Occasionally you get a good movie out of it
but more often then not it's just a big, costly mistake. And so to get
around this studios no longer refer to these movies as remakes, but
"reimaginings". The idea is take the concept of the movie and and try
different things. This still doesn't make it a good idea.
The 80's version of Flatliners was an interesting movie. The concept of a group of medical students flatlining and then coming back was original. It brought with it elements of horror, existentialism and how our choices can affect both ourselves and others.
This one? I struggled to find a positive to give to it and I still can't. This is a bad movie from every single point of view I can give. It follows the same story of a group of medical students who in effect kill themselves for a short period of time to see what's on the "other side". Then before brain damage can occur they are brought back but each brings back with them something from their past and they are in effect haunted by this.
It's really the same story as the original even if it's executed in a different way. There's nothing else that needs to be said. Same thing but worse.
Save your money and rent the original if you want to see this. You'll be happier and it won't cost you as much.
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