Monday, October 21, 2019

Sinking, Not Swimming

While they're probably not the most cost-effective places to film, setting your movie (or hey, reality TV show) on an island will indeed make a visual impact. 

If only your script rose to the occasion.

Quick Plot: The US men's soccer team is heading home after a World Cup match in Brazil (did they win? for the first of its many issues, this film decides it's not important). A few minutes of screentime is devoted to extremely brief introductions, including that of likable coach James Remar.

And just as you find yourself saying, "holy crap! It's James Remar!", the team's plane crashes into an empty, lifeless island populated only by poisonous berries and the occasional oyster. 

James Remar is never seen again.

A good half the players perish, with a few barely hanging on. Trainer Connie (some of The Fast and the Furious's Sung Kang) tries to combine his PT experience with the dinky first aide kid, but it's a struggle. Star player and team captain Slim (Nate Parker) and former Eagle Scout Andreas (Gregory Peck's grandson Ethan Peck) try to raise morale, but it only takes a few rounds of stolen rations and surprise landmines to send the survivors headfirst into Lord of the Flies territory.

Directed by commercial filmmaker Shyam Madiraju from a script by Mark Mavrothalasitis (and idea by Parker), Eden is a fairly straightforward narrative with a dire lack of character development. Some of the actors are charismatic enough to hold our interest, but the film takes too long in differentiating their personalities. The pre-crash character intros are so fleeting and done without context that the transition from civilized athlete to wild island child never sticks for anyone. 

A good chunk of the time, I was trying to figure out who was who, and what trope they were even supposed to be playing. At a certain point, I thought, "oh! they're not easily identifiable because they're more complicated than simple traits." Nope. The film just needed to thin the herd a tad so we're left with our half-baked Ralph, Piggy, and Jack stand-ins. 

High Points
The lack of anything interesting in Eden shouldn't take away the simple fact that any film set mostly on an abandoned island is at least going to look pretty

Low Points
There's a special place in hell for any film that teases a shark attack only to never even confirm whether there was an actual shark

Lessons Learned
The right eye makeup can have a gorgeous effect following a wet plane crash

Dehydration and compression sickness do wonders for hand-to-hand combat skills

Nothing turns a woman on more than man's ability to make netting out of tree fiber

Maybe the reason the United States has never come close to winning the World Cup is that its team is always composed of very dull young men

Eden is not very good. But hey, if you're looking for an attractive-looking film starring attractive young people being mostly boring, it's free on Amazon Prime. 

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