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Chaos Walking Movie Review

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his writings will help launch his careers.


Sometimes you can't really tell who the enemy is. In the case of Chaos Walking, it seems that the studio was the enemy. They called the initial film 'unreleasable' and demanded reshoots. A second director was brought in, schedules rearranged...the making of the film was a mess. But, thankfully, the end result was a fun and exciting film that everyone can enjoy.

Chaos Walking follows Todd Hewitt, the youngest in Prentisstown, a settlement on New World. When the settlers arrived on New World, they discovered that all the men were stricken with what came to be called The Noise, an effect in which every man's thought can be heard by everyone at all times. Mayor Prentiss has learned how to control his Noise while most others struggle to keep it quiet. The town preacher, Aaron, believes that people without Noise aren't blessed by God and therefore can't be trusted. So, since the Noise didn't affect the women, he felt God had cursed them all. Todd is out walking one day when he stumbles upon a crashed ship and one survivor - a girl named Viola. It's not long until it's clear that Mayor Prentiss wants to hurt Viola and, in an effort to protect her, Todd and Viola go on the run to find a safe haven away from the inhabitants of Prentisstown and the power-obsessed mayor.

Almost every movie adaptation of a book has differences from the source material. Even something as widely adored as Lord of the Rings has differences from the books. The trick is to realize that it's okay to enjoy two different visions of the same story. Chaos Walking is about 70% different from the first book on which it is based. That's not to say that it's bad, because it's not. The studio was making ridiculous demands so Patrick Ness, the author of the book trilogy, found a way to trim the story down so that fans can have a good film and the studio can get what they want too. Would the fans have preferred to have a trilogy that was completely true to the novels? Of course, what fan wouldn't want that? But sometimes you have to play with the cards you have and accept what you get.

The film has a great cast. Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley are perfect as Todd and Viola and Mads Mikkelsen was brilliant as the Mayor. The only casting decision I didn't care for was David Oyelowo as Aaron. David is great at drama. He's great at being serious and dubious. What he is not good at is off-the-wall crazy, which is what Aaron is.

Tom Holland's performance was perfection. I don't know if he is a fan of the books or not, but the way he portrayed Todd screams ultimate fan. No doubt Tom was born to play Todd. After seeing this, I'm looking forward to seeing him as young Nathan Drake in Uncharted, another film that continually gets pushed back.

I loved the fact that Patrick Ness helped out with the script for the film. He was able to put a lot of his vision into the film, such as the humorous moments Todd's Noise gets him into with Viola and the heartbreaking moments, especially one involving Todd's dog Manchee.

In conclusion, if you're a purist, you probably won't enjoy the film, however, if you take the film in stride and enjoy it for what it is, accepting the fact that the film and books are two wildly different visions, then you'll love both like I do. Despite the differences, I'm still giving the film a 3 out of 4.

© 2021 Nathan Jasper

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