After the heavy Pick last week I was determined to bring something lighter to the Wiz Kids. This week’s Netflix Pick is Odd Thomas. This movie has been kicking around on my Netflix queue for a while, as that tends to happen.
Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) is an upbeat diner chef with insane skills. He’s also clairvoyant and can see into a dark and threatening world that surrounds ours. For the most part he uses his gift to help the dead settle up and move on. Kinda like the Sixth Sense but a lot less oatmeal vomit. He also stops the occasional low life with help from Police Chief Porter (Willem Dafoe). Porter is on on Odd’s gift and allows a bit of vigilantism for the greater good. Odd’s attitude is always so positive since he has a clear outlook on life. At a young age a fortune telling device (like the one in Big) told him and his best friend, Stormy (Ashley Sommers) that they would be together forever. Best friend becomes girlfriend as the two grow up. Odd is thrown a curveball, even for his weird life, when he finds a strange man with a whole lot of darkness attached to him.
I know I started this recommendation saying that I wanted something lighter. A grill jockey battling demons and criminals doesn’t sound light, does it? The tone of Odd Thomas fully embraces the odd part and runs wild with it. There are some things that go without answer, like his superhuman abilities to flip pancakes or why a guy as small as Anton Yelchin can fight so well, but that’s part of the fun. The movie isn’t one to be delved into on a deeper level. Watch it, enjoy it.
The character is cool, easy going, likable, and determined. The late Anton Yelchin brought that kind of charisma to the screen time and time again. To say this movie could not have worked with anyone else may be an overstatement, but I can say I’m glad it cast Yelchin in the lead. The upbeat tone of his character makes the film persevere through the tragedy of his death.
The female lead, Stormy, is adorable and engaging. She is the perfect counterpart to Odd. Why actress Ashley Sommers doesn’t have more work on her resume is beyond me. She’s cute but grounded. Chipper without being annoying. She did a great job playing the girlfriend without the role being reductive. She was a supporting character who made herself intrical to the movie working beyond script structure.
The supernatural aspects of the movie are dropped in so well they feel effortless. They aren’t overdone, nor are they low budget and half baked. The computer animation is very inventive and the monsters don’t look like a copy and pasted version of other common movie monster tropes.
The lightweight movie isn’t a huge time investment. At a cool 96 minutes the movie plays like the start of a series. The end of the movie comes fast with a lot to offer but you don’t feel like it’s incomplete. You were given a story, a good one, and a piece of a life. You want to know more about before and more about after but what you got is full in it’s own right.
Speaking of series, Odd Thomas would actually have been much better served on the small screen.