Godsend (2004)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 42%
Overall Rating
Ranked #2,761
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After their young son, Adam, is killed in an accident, a couple approach an expert in stem cell research about bringing him back to life through an experimental and illegal cloning and regeneration process. When Adam comes back to them, however, he's.. different... --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: August 11, 2004
Paul and Jessie Duncan are your average couple living in the city with their son, Adam. Jessie takes Adam out to buy a new pair of shoes and a basketball, and while Jessie is paying for them, Adam goes outside the store to play on the sidewalk. His basketball rolls out into the street, he chases after it, and is struck by a car, killing him. At the funeral, Jessie's old college teacher Dr. Richard Wells meets up with the grieving parents and makes them an offer; he can clone Adam by using some of his cells and implanting them into cells inside of Jessie, and she'll give birth to a new child which will be a clone of Adam. Reluctantly, they agree to the procedure, Jessie gives birth to a healthy child, and the family moves away from the city so that nobody will catch on to what they did. The movie then jumps ahead to when Adam is eight years old, the same age he was when "he" originally died. At first, Adam is plagued by night terrors, which cause him to get up, walk around, have odd memories, the whole nine yards. Dr. Wells, who has been keeping a close eye on Adam's progress, insists that there's nothing too terribly wrong here, and doesn't want the parents taking Adam to another doctor to check on him. As Adam's behavior gets more and more bizarre, Paul decides to do a bit of digging into some facts he's found out along the way...

Well, the concept of this movie was pretty interesting and I had some high hopes, even though most people bashed the hell out of it. I was hoping that I'd have a different opinion of it, and that things would work out nicely... but boy, was I wrong. What could have been a great psychological thriller was killed by a good number of things, all of which could have easily been prevented. The first problem is the storyline itself, and the way it unfolds. The general idea of the movie is a good one, decently original, and pretty gosh-durned interesting... but of course, they had to ruin it by throwing in all sorts of silly twists and explanations. They were going for the tried-and-true method of leading the audience to believe one thing and then whipping out some off-the-wall revelation that changed the entire remainder of the movie... the problem with that was the fact that this revelation was incredibly hokey and lame. What we, the audience, were lead to believe was the case was much more entertaining and had much more promise than what was revealed to be the case, and obviously, that's never a good thing. Another problem with the storyline was the pacing of it. Once again, it follows the formula of dropping a few hints which seem meaningless at first, and then they all come together at the end of the film. Nothing wrong with that, it's worked out in other films... but here, the effect is killed with the repeated hints-at-something with no revelations. There's one thing in particular that's referenced so much throughout the film, that I thought that I'd missed a scene somewhere along the way. While things all came together in the end, the hints were dropped far too early in the movie and massively force-fed to the viewer almost as though the director thought you'd forget about it if it wasn't on-screen every five minutes. This over-usage of the hints leads us right into the next problem, that being the predictability of the events to come. Now, I could be totally wrong, but I'm under the assumption that the ending was supposed to be a huge surprise and completely unexpected... but with the way things were presented, they gave away all but the minute details of the ending by the midway point of the film. Had these clues not been so forcefully shoved down our throats, things might have taken a turn for the better. I'm not even going to get into the rather large number of subplots that were started and never finished or explained away.

The acting didn't help matters much, either. Greg Kinnear plays Paul, and is average at best in his role of the wannabe-detective father. He came off as being very phony and unrealistic in the majority of his parts, as though he were putting no effort into the role whatsoever. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos plays Jessie in the typical mother-with-issues role that we've all come to know and love. She was rather convincing in the scenes where she was hysterical with fear and/or grief, and she also did decently enough in the scenes in which she was sad and depressed... the problem was that those were the only two emotions she seemed to convey throughout the running-time of the movie. With the exception of the scenes before Adam's death, one failed sex-session with Paul, and in the closing moments of the movie, I can't think of one scene in which she wasn't conveying one or the other. A bit of variety in her performance would have worked wonders, m'thinks. Robert De Niro plays Dr. Richard Wells, the doctor that does all of the cloning business. He was the best person in the cast, and did great in his role, no problems with him at all. He did his parts with loads of effort and came off great on-screen... but of course, his on-screen time was quite limited. He does pop in from time to time to check in on Adam and the family, but most of his scenes involve just that; popping in, couple of questions and replies, and off he goes. Finally, Cameron Bright plays Adam, the evil child. His performance here only reaffirms my belief that children should have no parts in any type of movie made for adults, as the vast majority of them only bring a film down with their horrid acting skills.

A great idea for a movie ruined by a myriad of horrendous decisions with every aspect of the movie. Don't be fooled by the trailers and description, which make this movie sound much better than it actually is. 3/10 from myself.
Schillinger #1: Schillinger - added 08/22/2004, 03:19 AM
Completely agree with the review. The kid was annoying, and Rebecca Romijn looked uglier than usual here. They often used sudden loud noises to scare the viewer (a trick that's used in most horror films these days), but it wasn't scary at all...just really obnoxious.
Lucid Dreams #2: Lucid Dreams - added 03/15/2010, 09:50 PM
Good idea, but the final outcome was horrible. I also can't stand Cameron Bright. 3/10
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