Doc and the Amazing Five battle Captain Seas and "the green death" for control of a fabulous resource.Doc and the Amazing Five battle Captain Seas and "the green death" for control of a fabulous resource.Doc and the Amazing Five battle Captain Seas and "the green death" for control of a fabulous resource.
The other element of charm contained in the Doc books are the characters. They are likable enough, but there is more to it than that. They are pure and good. Too pure, and too perfect, that is completely true. And Doc himself always took purity and perfection to the nth degree. But since the books were written in an earnest voice this quality came across as refreshing, perhaps even a bit inspirational. Each book I laugh a few times at the ridiculous feats Doc accomplishes due to his meticulous mental and physical training. His unblemished virtue brings out the same a few times. The thing is, it all works in the books because Dent was not winking at his readers. He obviously knew he was writing ridiculous material and creating impossible characters, but he sold it straight, and so while it can bring a smile to your face, it does not produce scorn or embarrassment. It is a world and people you want to be a part of, not mock.
I wrote the above to give those people who watch the Doc Savage movie more of a sense of how the movie got Savage wrong. There is quite a bit in the movie that works, and it is fun at points, and I think Ely is well cast, but too often it violates the essential spirit of Dent's books by refusing to give the audience the option of taking the characters or the adventure seriously. If the film went for "over the top" instead of "goof ball" in a few scenes I suspect it all would have worked. "Worked" at least well enough to let Doc Savage fans feel like they had seen the heroes they knew on the screen, and well enough to let the rest of the viewers feel they had seen an honest attempt at a retro-action serial. Instead we have a movie that we can probably best describe as a curiosity carrying more than a whiff of missed potential, but one ultimately defined by its poor choices.
If you are not a Doc purist, the movie is not horrible. One always wishes for more than such a bottom line.
- Oct 13, 2017