The Tourist

16 Sep

By josh

Remember when Angelina Jolie starred with People’s Sexiest Man Alive in an action romp that provided big guns and a couple laughs, received middling reviews, and whose off-screen chemistry proved to be the bigger hit with audiences? Well it’s 2010, replace Brad Pitt with Johnny Depp, and you’ve pretty much got the same thing, except, for the time being, the costars have been keeping it professional. The Tourist, whose trailer just came out today, is a tale of the luckless Frank (Depp) who happens upon the mysterious Jolie on a train trip through Europe, only to wind up in the middle of a manhunt of mistaken identity. Yes, it’s not exactly like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but wasn’t that movie a not exactly knock-off of True Lies? Jolie and Depp run around Europe getting shot at, chasing some sort of prize, and get to know each other all over again. But don’t let me spoil it – here’s our first look:

The clip introduces itself with Jolie introducing herself to Depp, on a train, whose destination we are not sure. A chance meeting between two travelers? I think not. As the trailer gets into the meat and potatoes, we rejoin the characters in Italy, where Jolie is revealed to have intentionally pegged Depp as her husband, who is wanted for some reason by Interpol or some other organization, and the timid Depp has to run from gunshots and get out of sticky situations, all the while becoming more confident along the way. The MacGuffin here seems to be a bag of foreign currency and passports, but who knows what Jolie’s husband did to obtain that money, and who knows what will be revealed to show her role in this whole thing.

Now, I’m all for international mysteries, but this one gets off on the wrong foot right out of the gate. I can’t stand when things look fake, and this train scene is among the worst of them. The lighting, the rolling landscape in the background, Johnny Depp looking weirdly like Eddie Vedder for some reason – it all just reeks of cheapness. And if you cut corners early on, it’s not a good sign you won’t cut them later as well. And the setting in Italy? We loved when Indiana Jones globe-trotted to the boot in The Last Crusade, and we love those old wooden speedboats, but haven’t we already gotten this scene before? I’m thinking Indy + Jason Bourne x romantic comedy = been there, done that.

But Depp is right when he says Angelina Jolie looks ravenous. We haven’t seen her look this good in years, and even in the action scenes, she keeps it classy. But what’s up with Depp and his shaky English accent? He’s clearly an American, and when he’s getting comfortable in his role as action hero, he speaks in a confident American accent. But when he’s playing the nebbish parts, he’s suddenly British again? We don’t see it in this trailer, but I bet his character is either a bookish professor, or a bookish insurance adjuster, or a bookish bookkeeper, and we’re supposed to find glee in him breaking out of his nerdish ways and becoming the unlikely hero. However, after seeing him swashbuckling as Captain Jack Sparrow, we already know what he’s capable of, and right off the bat we don’t buy his nervous portrayal of Frank.

And don’t even get me started on how Depp could possibly be mistaken for Steven Berkoff in this movie, the man everyone’s trying to get a hold of. Aside from being two generations removed, the two don’t even look that much alike, and you’d think international police and underworld crime organizations would at least get a picture of the guy they’re tracking down.

"Separated at birth"

Long lost twins?

So, will it suck?

Yes, unfortunately, it will. This movie is sure to take us on a trip, but we feel we’ve already been there before. Is Space Mountain still fun? Of course, but when are they going to finish that Harry Potter ride? They’ve got two of the biggest names in Hollywood, but they drag them through familiar territory. We already got this story earlier this year when Tom Cruise picked up the innocent Cameron Diaz in First Knight, and we all know how that was a bust. Even Ashton Kutcher and the dreadful Katherine Heigl got in on the action with The Killers. I hate to say that these two were only in it for the money (does Depp really need another island?), but couldn’t they smell the stale breadcrumbs on this one? If you’re going to take a step back from the serious fare, which both are highly capable of, please, make it something more interesting than a retread.

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