Monday, November 9, 2009

George Clooney, Jedi Warrior

The Men Who Stare at Goats was barely worth seeing. If you read my preview post, you know that I had pretty high hopes for it. It didn't meet them. But it wasn't as big of a disappointment as some of the reviews I've been reading have said it would be. And it wasn't bad enough to actually walk out of the theater about an hour into the movie (as two people did when I saw it).

The movie is definitely lacking when it comes to anything resembling a cohesive plot. Most of the film is simply Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) following around George Clooney's character, Lyn Cassaday, in Iraq as Cassaday tells Wilton the history of a top secret sector of the military called the "New Earth Army." The New Earth Army was started by Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), basically a huge hippie that convinced the higher-ups in the military to give him approval for the team, and focused their training on psychic powers (for example, the group focuses on the ability to "remotely view" anywhere in the world by simply going there in their mind). Cassaday was the all-star of the group and considered himself a true Jedi warrior (and the only one ever portrayed as actually successful in any remote viewing).

But when another group member Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey) convinces the military to start using the New Earth Army for "the dark side," Cassaday quits the team. Now, years later, Cassaday is going to reunite with Django at Hooper's facility in Iraq in an effort to stop him from psychic experiments torturing prisoners (using methods such as playing the Barney and Friends theme song for 24 hours straight in their prison cells).

That's all there is to it, really. You'll definitely be disappointed if you go expecting anything more. And the movie's climax (if it even really has one) and ending are such an insignificant and honestly stupid part of the movie that I won't even bother mentioning them.

But the movie still has its positives. You will definitely laugh more than a few times. Clooney has a bunch of great one liners and does a great job convincing you that his character really believes in everything he's saying. It's really funny to hear him describe some abilities that his psychic training has given him (for example, he says he can become "invisible," but he really just means hiding himself). The nerd in me also found it humorously ironic to watch McGregor (best known as Obi-Won Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy) ask Clooney explain to him what a Jedi warrior was. And Bridges has his moments as well. But Spacey's character and performance are really not very good. And, as a friend of mine said, the movie is essentially an SNL skit that would've been hilarious for 4 minutes stretched out into an hour and a half movie.

Bottom line: The movie has a few laughs but not much else. If there's anything else you'd rather see, don't feel like your missing out by avoiding this one. (C-)

Here's the trailer:

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