Who knows what evil lurk in de hearts of men? De Shadow knows!
How he know? Search monster. Me having hard enough time trying to make sense of dis movie.
De Shadow remind monster of De Rocketeer. Both great-looking period movies with terrifik costumes and set dezign. But while Rocketeer skript flat and simple , dis skript a little too out dere for it’s own good. It full of weird magic, mind control and mind reading, esoterik concepts dat don’t seem to follow any internal logik and just make whole movie feel so unreal it very diffikult to connect wit charakters on any level.
Movie start in China where audience find Jack from Turdy Rock doing great imitation of Trent Reznor. He a very bad man. But he get kidnapped by monk, shamed by crazy magik flying dagger, and told he going to be good now. Seven years later, we in New York where some gangsters about to kill a witness. Suddenly, a disembodied voice stops dem. A shadow – literally! A shadow! – appear and disappear, scare away gangster and save witness. Turn out dis shadow is…DE SHADOW! Yeah. Not to be confused wit other lesser Shadows.
BUT it turn out De Shadow have alter-ego. By night he be De Shadow but, by day, he a wealthy playboy…just like Bruce Wayne. Hmmm.
And he live in a city dat look an awful lot like Gotham City. Becuz it is! Aka New York in de 30’s.
His real name Lamont Cranston and not only he be rich and handsum, but he have power of mind control. One night, at de Cobalt Club, he spot a sexy woman at de next table. He charm her. But it turn out…she have powers too. She can read minds!!!
Why dis woman can read minds? Did some other monk give her dese powers? Is dis really necessary?
MEANWHILE, museum receive strange shipment: silver coffin belonging too…GENGHIS KHAN. Coffin open up and out steps…GENGHIS KHA- No. It be Khan Jr., last descendent of great, great, great grandpa Genghis!
And he have powers of mind control too! Wow! Only ting dis movie missing be magical sorting hat!
Mindreading love interest, Margo, have father/scientist (and, monster suspekt, part-time wizard) who work for War Department. Khan Jr. use his crazy mind control powers to kidnap father and make him build…pre-atomic bomb atomic bomb! But Lamont figure dis out by analyzing coin Khan Jr. use to pay him for glass of bourbon.
Whoa, waitaminute. Why Khan Jr. paying for bourbon wit special coin? Why he so stoopid?
MEANWHILE, Lamont worried dat Margo going to use mind reading power to figure out he De Shadow, so HE use mind control power to make her forget but it not work on her. But Khan Jr. kidnap Margo and use mind control and it DOES work on her. She sent to kill de Shadow and almost kill Lamont before spell broken and she realize…he De Shadow!
Scientist-dad’s boss, Tim Curry, lock Shadow in chamber and fill it wit water. Lamont have to use his mind powers to call Margo to unlock door and save him. De Shadow realize Khan Jr. going to blow up New York. Have to stop him!
He track him down. Tim Curry try to shoot at shadow on de wall, but de real Shadow not hurt. Which be kind of strange since, in earlier scene, Shadow gets pinned to wall wit crossbow bolts. Why crossbow bolts effekt him but bullets don’t?
MEANWHILE, Shadow face off wit Khan Jr. Margo’s dad snap out of mind control. He and Margo chase rolling bomb through building in very funny scene. Father try to defuze bomb but Margo save day by pulling green wire.
Meanwhile, Shadow and Khan Jr. still fighting. Crazy flying magik dagger make another appearance. It being controlled by Khan Jr. but Shadow use his powerz and gain control of it and kill Khan Jr. Which leave monster scratching his head. If Shadow able to take control of dagger, dat mean HIS mind control stronger den Khan Jr.’s. BUT earlier in movie, Shadow not able to control Margo’s mind but Khan Jr. able to do so no problem. Dis not make sense. Why?
MEANWHILE, roll creditz. DE END.
Verdikt: Movie pull off fantastik magic trick. It make logik – poof! – disappear!
Rating: 5 out of 10 chocolate chippee cookies. +1 for sense of humor = 6 out of 10 chocolate chippee cookies.
Monster would like to remind everyone dat dey can read past monster supermovie reviewz here: Film reviews by resident film criti…
Next week’s movie be Batman Forever featuring the alwayz understated Jim Carey as…De Riddler:
14 thoughts on “June 4, 2012: The Supermovie of the Week Club reconvenes! Cookie Monster reviews The Shadow!”
You know, I actually didn’t mind this movie – although I completely agree with Cookie about the internal logic (or lack thereof) and the overall plot was pretty pedestrian, but as noted the overall look of the movie for the period was pretty darn good. And it had tons of old cars, of which I’m a huge fan. The Shadow’s taxi driver drove a ’38 (I think) Cord! How cool is that!
Anyway, it was also some of the little moments that made the movie kind of fun:
I liked the little touches, product placement as they were, of having period specific Pepsi bottles and Wheaties boxes.
The little discussion between the guards at the federal building about having a burger or fish totally reminded me of the bacon discussion (“You brought bacon??”) between the two guys on one episode of Atlantis, just before they got killed by Colya’s group of Genii (I think.) Just like these guys! I think it was Martin Gero who wrote that episode (if memory serves) and it was so similar I had to wonder if he wasn’t partly inspired by that scene.
I thought the navy guy falling from the building in the background, while the camera panned down to the street scene with Lamont and Margo discussing the whereabouts of Khan was brilliant.
I also had to laugh out loud at the whole rolling Bowling Ball of Doom scene (I guess it was officially called the “Orb of Oblivion”, but I like mine better). Right up to the “oh it’s usually the green wire” line.
Finally, the frontal lobotomy reveal at the end was hilarious. It’s strange that they didn’t throw a few more funny bits into the movie, because it would seem they were clearly up to it. I think it would have been a better movie for it.
So, all told I rather enjoyed it and it was probably the best one so far, not that it’s competing in a stellar field, mind you. Definitely made watchable by the little moments, which were enough of a distraction from the overall problems to make it worthwhile.
I should add that when Lamont was using his gnarly mind control powers on the commissioner near the start of the movie, I was half expecting (and hoping) for him to add the line, “and these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
I’ll have to pass yet again. Don’t know enough if anything about the movie to give an opinion. Sorry..
Regarding Cookie’s comments:
Regarding how The Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, it’s because he used to be evil and might still be. It’s a central hook of his character. There are other things he “knows” because he creeps about in shadows and has a huge network of agents, so “knowing” is part of his creepiness and COOLNESS. Yes, I said COOLNESS.
Regarding similarities to Batman, this movie is stylistically consistent with The Shadow canon that pre-dates Batman. Any imitation of The Shadow by Batman would then be flattery, right?
Regarding the crossbow bolt pinning him, but not the bullet. Cranston conceals his own body, but not his shadow. A bolt would pin him right with his shadow if it crossed him. Any bullets pummeling his shadow wouldn’t harm him if they didn’t cross the path with his body.
Regarding Khan Jr. being stronger earlier, I interpreted that as a character arc. Khan Jr. pointed out the control Cranston was lacking to control the dagger. Cranston dug deep and found it. I see that as an intentional character arc, not inconsistency – what features are supposed to do.
There was a bit more closure for Khan than the credits rolling right away. He was lobotomized and put in a ward where his cries about his identity blended in with other people claiming to be famous.
My own take:
I don’t think this movie had to deal with the backstory. I wish it hadn’t. It could have said some other way that The Shadow was evil at one time. Showing the backstory just underscored the gaps in his story. I’m okay with the gaps, I just don’t think they should have drawn attention to them.
I would have liked to have seen everything the same, but a less hokey plot. I know plots are supposed to be everything to a movie, but the parts I liked were the parts that were so true to past The Shadow work so it’s like saying I love Stargate SG-1, just not such and such episode.
The tendency to claymation Alec Baldwin’s nose was overkill. Yes, I know Alec Baldwin’s nose is shorter than Cranston’s in some artwork. You don’t have to remind me. I basked in the rest of how well the movie got the style right. Baldwin did a great job being The Shadow and the only thing he did wrong was to later accept other roles that made it harder for me to see him only as The Shadow. Sell out.
Did you know that more than half the population of China are believed (by scientists, not just girls who have been hit on in bars) to be descendants of Ghengis Khan. Yeah, not the last descendant.
I think the pneumatic tube system might give away the locations of his secret agents, no? But I need to see more scenes about following notes through tubes in movies. Ask Joe to make that happen for me.
Air doesn’t leak into water-filled tanks like that.
Cool line by Tim Curry. “Wanna’ see my beryllium sphere?” I have a soft spot for powder metallurgy.
I’m so glad I never heard Baldwin’s smackdown line “Maybe next time you can be on top” narrated by Orson Wells.
from DP: “I’m so glad I never heard Baldwin’s smackdown line “Maybe next time you can be on top” narrated by Orson Wells.”
I did just read some on IMDB about how many ideas from the original pulp novels and radio show that they pulled into the movie. It does seem they really did try to pay homage to those works, which is cool. Even the line about what kind of tie Lamont had on was a spoof of the obvious product mentions on the old radio show. I do wonder if trying to tie all those ideas in brought about the movies inconsistencies though.
Anyway, I guess I have a bit of a soft spot for The Shadow since my Dad used to tell me that it was one of his favourite radio shows to listen to when he was young. I’m not sure that he ever saw this movie – I don’t think he did – but I think he would have gotten a kick out of it.
Great review Cookie!
My first thought watching this was “wow…they’re reusing the Roger Rabbit set and props!” I keep expecting a “toon” to pop out in the very next scene…
Secondly, I agree with gforce; there’s a lot of homage to the radio show. I downloaded some of the radio shows to listen to on long flights and recognized a few taglines. If anyone is interested, you can fine the shows here:
I was also a fan of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. I used to listen to it at midnight with a contraband AM radio in bed when I was 12; my mom thought I was sleeping 😉
You can find those shows here:
In the Muppet re-make PePe would make a great Shadow
…and Tim Curry could play Tim Curry’s role!
Alec Baldwin was so hot. Now he’s not so hot, but very funny and liberal, so I still love him. That is all, sorry!
Oh, except I’m going to Hawaii next week and you should too! There’s got to be more than one qualified pet sitter in Greater Vancouver!
Take pictures of your food. And save up some money for San Diego. Comic Con’s coming!
Joe I just got back from Hawaii last weekend, it was incredible, screw vegas!
I noticed a lack of reports on your blog of the recent zombie outbreaks, have you been steering clear of the stories or just hasnt heard them yet? I know alot of people that hadnt heard the stories and it seems like the media is not reporting them.
Any movie with Tim Curry is worth watching. Even if you have to make it into a drinking game.
This is one of my go-to films to put on when I’m working on something and want some background noise. I actually like the film and it is quite good to keep part of my brain entertained while the other part works on a project.
Hmmm…the dude who played Khan is super hawt. Otherwise…yeah, I didn’t watch it. I really don’t know how you find the time to watch all these movies. And write. And watch tv shows. And dine out. I swear you have a few body doubles out there, or something.
Also, just wanna share what’s on my dinner menu for tonight (crapphone piccie):
I love it when the Jersey farm markets open. Right now it’s a mix of local and out-of-state produce, but once the growing season really kicks in, most comes from local/in-state farms. Tonight we’re having all veggies – Caprese salad, peas, corn, baked beans (hubby’s favorite), and cukes and onions in lemon juice and olive oil. And fresh strawberries over ice cream for dessert! 😀
I was pleasantly surprised by The Shadow. The director, Russell Mulcahy, is Australian and directed many well known music videos in the ’80s including Video Killed The Radio Star which was the first video shown on MTV. Of course, he’s most famous for directing Highlander.
I noticed most of the faults that Cookie Monster did however they didn’t bother me too much except for the fact that Khan Jr. could control the mind of Margo when The Shadow couldn’t.
The dodgy New York models and matte paintings were a little cheesy but I think it leant some of the charm to the movie. I don’t think it was quite as stylish as The Rocketeer although I did like the The Shadow’s taxi.
I think we’ve reached the high point of recent movies we’ve seen in this club. Unfortunately it’s all downhill from here. 🙁