Last Monday night, I went to the red carpet premier of Charlie St. Cloud at SM Megamall with my best friend. The film is based on Ben Sherwood’s best-selling novel The Death and Life Of Charlie St. Cloud which I already read before seeing the movie adaptation.
The movie plot is strong because it’s based off the book. But in-spite of a good plot the movie doesn’t carry the same depth and darkness of the book. Charlie has near death experience, lost his dearly brother Sam, graced with an extraordinary gift talking and seeing spirits, limited communication to his mother, no real friends, barely trust no one and can play catch with his dead brother. It has limitless opportunity for motivations, soul-searching, and well-written emotional drama which the movie failed to present. There are more to explore, issues about life and death, grief, moving on, restoring faith, life after death and living a full life. But the movie focus on the love story angle forcing Charlie to go down the misguided teenager role.
Zac Efron does a decent job portraying Charlie St. Cloud. I can now completely detached him from his singing and dancing role in High School Musical. But still I want to see more of his talent. I think he has something more to offer, but the script and the director limits him to show what he really got. There are some scenes where he is ready to full out those emotional moments then all of a sudden it diverted to another scene. Like when the tragedy strikes, the film has the chance to gear the affecting power but it jumps to another scene cutting the moment before it culminate. Obviously poor pacing is the problem. Efron gives a good effort and the film failures are hardly his fault. Charlie Tahan as Sam is sweet and endearing. He’s a good little actor that should be watch out for. I didn’t see much of Sam’s funny and naughty side from the book but Tahan is credibly good as Sam St. Cloud.
I fell in love with the two characters (Charlie and Sam) from the book and I still love them from the film. They manage to deliver a believable chemistry as brothers. The relationship between them is really strong on-screen. It looks more real by not being too sweet. Nothing too fancy or sugar coated sweet bonding like those cheesy lines from the book. In here they fought once in a while and still manage to show the care they have for each other. A simple look and some little gestures is all they did and still you can feel the intense care and love from both of them.
I want to like this movie as much as I like the book but no matter how much I ignore the differences I still felt that the movie lost some magic that the book has. It’s not a bad film but the story and characters deserves more. Everything is too safe, it needs more edge and darkness. Probably a better script and direction will make the difference.