SEB 30 Second Movie Review: “Ghost Rider.”

We caught Ghost Rider at a matinée today despite the drubbing it’s taken from critics and I have to say that, while it has its flaws, I still walked away feeling like I enjoyed it. I suppose you could chalk it up to low expectations, but it’s hard to have high hopes for a movie based on what is really a silly concept to begin with and it turned out better than I expected it to. It probably helps that Nicholas Cage was in the starring role and he puts as much effort into this movie as any from his past though that’s not surprising considering he’s said for years that this was the comic book turned movie that he most wanted to be a part of.

For those not familiar with the background: Johnny Blaze sold his soul to devil to saved someone he cared about from death (his father in the movie, his mentor in the comic) and is turned into the Ghost Rider as a result. At night when in the presence of evil he turns into a flaming skeleton with an equally wicked supernatural motorcycle who collects the souls of the guilty for Mephisto (Mephistopheles in the movie). He eventually gains control over his power and goes about working against the demon that created him, blah blah blah. The original comic series ran from 1973 until 1983 and I can remember reading it in my youth, though I couldn’t tell you specifics of the stories as it’s been a long time since then. Apparently they did a second series from 1990 to 1998, but I never read those.

I’d imagine that if you’re a die hard Ghost Rider fan then you’ll have no problems picking apart all the changes they made in the movie, but given that I don’t recall most of the original storyline that kept that from being an issue for me. The biggest flaw the movie has is in trying to fit too much in at once and, as a result, the villains get short shrift. They consist of the son of Mephistopheles, a demon named Blackheart, and a trio of demons each based on an element of nature (earth, wind, water) that are out to track down a scroll that contains the names of a couple hundred of the worst of the worst sinners so they can use the extra evil to be… even more evil than they already are I suppose… and destroy the world. The three elementals are dispatched pretty quickly all things considered and Blackheart himself is only a challenge until he’s actually consumed the extra-evil souls at the end of the movie. The bad guys could’ve used a bit of beefing up in that regard.

There’s plot holes aplenty and the CGI is pretty obviously CGI, but somehow I managed to get caught up in it all and enjoyed myself despite the fact that when I stop to think about it I realize it’s probably a pretty bad movie overall. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement, but it beat the hell out of Daredevil and The Fantastic Four in my book and they’re making a sequel to the latter film.

3 thoughts on “SEB 30 Second Movie Review: “Ghost Rider.”

  1. This is an Evil movie I plan on seeing, The special Evil effects from the previews look pretty cool, and Nicholas Cage is usually pretty good.

    I like to watch Evil shows. Hear and see Evil things, Belong to Evil Websites. Les used the word Evil 4 times in his post. More Evil….

  2. This is actually the first almost-good thing I’ve read about Ghost Rider to be honest.  It looked absolutely awful from the preview I saw the other day.  I dunno perhaps I will watch it when it comes out on DVD afterall because deep down I am a sucker for comic-to-movie, er, movies wink

  3. I’m not sure what to say about the movie.  Nicholas Cage as Ghost Rider was decent but that’s a pretty hard role to screw up since it’s an easy role to wrap your mind around.  Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze on the other hand I don’t know what to say.  I am much more familiar with the early 90s Ghost Rider, Danny Ketch.  I don’t know much of anything about the Blaze portion of the Ghost Rider mythology.  It’s hard for me to judge whether or not he portrayed Blaze very well.

    My impression from a wikipedia reading of the mythology is that much of the comedy and puns in the movie are unwarranted and unwelcome.  The movie is a hybridization of the Blaze and Ketch mythologies.  Blackheart is a Ketch villain and the Penance stare is a Ketch power.  Blaze could shoot hellfire from his hands which they show and Ketch could do some pretty cool tricks with his chain that the movie never showed.  Neither Ketch nor Blaze had the power to shape anything metal like the movie shows.  That power is partially unwarranted but not entirely undesirable.  From what I can tell the storyline is entirely original borrowing characters from the comics but not taking any storyline from the comics which is typical in superhero movies.

    I would have a hard time believing Blaze was really as much into puns and stupid comedy as the movie made him out to be.  I also didn’t like how the movie progressed like an rpg adventure.  First he gets the bike, then he gets the chain, next he gets the jacket, next the scroll, and finally the shot gun.  Now that I think about it he defeated one of the demons shortly after acquiring each of the items.  I guess the video game will be straight forward.

    I was worried the score was going to be terrible and cheesy and it ended up not bothering me that much.  The music was mostly cowboy western themed and considering how they set up the characters it fit fairly well.  I was hoping it would be packed with the most brutal metal they could get ahold of, but I guess that will have to wait until the do a Ghost Rider movie on the Danny Ketch series.

    Overall, I wish Marvel would have had this movie done more like how they did Punisher, very serious and action oriented.  The CGI is top notch especially the more evil renderings of Mephisto, Blackheart, the Nephilim and Legion (who was spookily cool at least from a Christian perspective).  The script was too predictable.  If it takes more than cheap gimmicks for you to like a movie you will probably not like this.  This movie is mostly going to be enjoyed by Ghost Rider fans with low standards and the easily entertained.

    If they do a sequel, which seems likely they will have to step up the story and character portrayal a lot to keep it from floundering.  If they can do that they could easily secure a third movie by introducing Ketch in the end of the sequel.  Then Ghost Rider will be exactly what he appears to be in the posters, bad-ass and metal.

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