Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Take: GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE

Went to see this last night with my two grandsons—Riley, 10; and Billy, 19.

The three of us also went to see GHOST RIDER 1 together (hard to believe it was five years ago!). We all liked the first one well enough but Riley, especially, was crazy about it. In subsequent weeks and months I bought him Ghost Rider comic books, printed off tons of images from the internet, and of course bought him the DVD when it came out … Not to mention playing "Ghost Riders In The Sky" off my Essential Johnny Cash CD about forty jillion times whenever he rode in the car with me.

So, needless to say, as soon as it was announced that GHOST RIDER 2 was in the works, it was a foregone conclusion we would make a point of seeing it.
To do so on its opening night involved a trip to North Platte, the nearest "big town" multi-plex where it was showing. (Our little two-plex here in Ogallala probably won't have it for another two or three weeks.)

In fairness, I suppose the 100-mile round trip (the things I do for my grandkids!) and the exorbitant pricing (14 bucks for a tub of popcorn!) sort of took the edge off whatever level of enjoyment I was likely to experience before the movie even got started. We even went the cheap-o route and saw the 2D version, which saved $10 in "special feature" fees, and it still cost close to $70 for four of us (we took one of Billy's pals, too). For that kind of outlay I expected something reasonably close to being at least as good as the first movie, which was colorful and exciting and a lot of fun in a guilty-pleasure kind of way.

I didn't get it.

GHOST RIDER 2 is dark and disjointed and, in too many places, just plain dull. The Johnny Blaze character, as played once again by Nicholas Cage, is by turns nearly psychotic when he rails against his "curse", then at other times strangely mellow. I don't know if that was the way the part was written of it is merely Cage being Cage. As far as the plot (and I use the term rather loosely) I won't bore you with too many details except to say that it deals with saving a young boy from Satan and his minions and, if Blaze can deliver him to safety, a very ancient and remote order of priests will lift his Ghost Rider curse.

There are some nifty action sequences, decent special effects, and a welcome touch of wry humor here and there. My favorite scene? One of Satan's henchmen is a nasty dude called Decay, who can cause anything he touches, including people, to immediately start rotting and crumbling away … At one point he attempts to eat some items from a lunch box but everything he takes out (a sandwich, a piece of fruit) instantly crumbles and falls apart in his hands before he can get it to his mouth. But then he takes out a Twinkie, which remains totally unphased by his powers of decay, and he is happily able to munch it down.

Maybe that says more about my goofy sense of humor than it does the movie's actual accomplishments, but amidst all the pyrotechnics and scenery-chewing by Cage and other actors, it nevertheless was the stand-out moment.

Bottom line: My grandsons got a kick out of GR2, especially Riley once again, and that really was the main point of going to see it. So I'm glad we did. My advice otherwise would be: If you saw the first one and liked it at all you probably will want to see this sequel—but I think you'll enjoy it more if you save your money and see it when it comes out on DVD (which I predict will be very soon) or when it runs on cable.

Until then …

Persevere — WD


1 comment:

WRITING FOR THE BRAND said...

And Hollywood wonders why movie attendance is down!