Feature Review – Premonition

by alphamonkey on March 16, 2007 · 8 comments

in Uncategorized

Premonition: 1 Star (out of 5)

Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) has two beautiful daughters (Shyann McClure, Courney Taylor Burness) and a marriage that’s beginning to show signs of strain.  When her husband (Julian McMahon) is killed in a car accident her world fractures as she begins to physically jump through time, forward and backward, over the span of one week.  There is no pattern, or apparantly any reason, for these time jumps.  One day she wakes up and her husband is alive, the next day he’s dead.

There’s not much to the story other than having Sandy look sad and act all kinds of depressed and crazy.  McMahon’s part is so thinly written his hard for us to get a feel just who Jim Hanson is.  Once we learn he’s thinking of leaving his wife and daughters for another woman (Irene Ziegler) we’re stuck with Linda wondering if any of this grief, or chance of saving him, is even worth the effort.

Films like this rely on how well they can explain the phenomena.  This one fails miserably.  Obviously writer Bill Kelly had no idea on how to explain Linda’s Quantum Leap-ing.  The only explanation the film offers is eight words of Latin and rambled musings from a priest.  Did you know that those without faith can time travel?  Wow, I’m packing my bag!!!  I couldn’t keep a straight face and I’m sure my snorts and chuckles would have bothered those next to me if they weren’t fighting their own guffaws.

There’s just nothing here.  The characters are thinly written, the plot includes huge plot holes and steals mightily from better films like 12 Monkeys in terms of how changing past events unfolds.  And it loses points with me for never entertaining the discussion of whether events themselves, not just the outcomes you desire or dread, can and should be changed.  There are countless other movies with similar themes that do it better, even last year’s Deja Vu, itself a very mixed bag (read the review), leaves this one in the dust.

Premonition is rated PG-13 for some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language, with a running time of 110 minutes.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/dragonlews elkciN

    But hey….the poster art is kinda nifty.

  • http://www.myspace.com/yourgoodtwin Your Good Twin

    Haha, that’s exactly what I came in to say.  Really cool art.

    But I also want to comment: If they’re going to keep making crappy supernatural movies starring token famous actresses that should know better, can’t they at least come up with better titles?  I saw the long trailer for “The Reaping” at “300” and towards the end, a line flashes on screen saying “What Hath God Wrought?” and it was styled like a title.  I leaned to my friend and said “You know, this movie will be garbage regardless, but how cool would it be if THAT was the title of the movie?” Instead of the the lame-ass title “The Reaping”.

  • http://www.musicscribe.com David Murray

    None of these movies ever have a rational explanation, so it didn’t really bother me that the manner of time travel wasn’t explained. I rather appreciated that aspect, actually, considering the option would have been to sell me a far fetched notion like Kate And Leopold.

    Instead, this film simply said, “She lives days out of order that just so happen to fit a calendar week beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday.” Logical? Nope, but you always have to set something like that aside when you watch a time travel movie. Many of these movies try to win you over with the how…a Delorean that jumps when you hit 88 MPH thanks to a “flux capacitor”…how does that work?

    While this certainly falls well short of a film like Memento where the viewer sees things out of order, it is interesting to watch one character’s order of events differ from the rest of the world’s. That is where the tension comes from in Premonition.

    As such, I thought this film rated above The Lake House, Bullock’s simpler time travel movie from last year. I have a feeling Premonition might have had more appeal to the general public if it had been given a chick flick ending where the guy and girl live happily ever after, but I preferred the bittersweet resolution.

    I’d have rated this movie at 3 stars. I’ve seen a lot better, but I’ve also seen a lot worse.

  • http://360.yahoo.com/razorfine_review Thundarr (Alan Rapp)

    “It just happens” isn’t a good enough explanation.  Stuff like this doesn’t just happen!!  Even in crappy time travel movies some explanation, no matter how lame, is needed.  Even Kate and Leopold gave something – magical time portal above the highway.  Stupid?  Incredibly lame?  You bet you ass, but at least some effort, even if it was truly pathetic was made to explain the “how.” Hell, even Timecop had a “how.”

    The film also fails as a time flick because it jumps between the two different philosophies never settling on one.  Through most of the plot it plays out the idea that events can not be changed, and only by doing so do you cause the real events to be caused.  But if that’s the case what happened to the day where Sandy was commited to a mental institution and pumped full of lithium – which is, somehow, the only day she never jumps back to.  It never really examines the issue of paradox, and consequences of chaging the past, which is a must when doing a time travel flick.

    No way is this a 3; it’s just too lame.

  • http://www.musicscribe.com David Murray

    So just to determine where the boundaries are on your rating scale, would you say this is as bad as, say, Norbit? Is Santa Claus Conquers The Martians on an equally bad level?

    Because there’s two films I’d flatly refuse to sit through again, rating them at the lowest possible level.

    To me, a 3 out of 5 would still be just a mediocre rating, not a particularly good rating…which is what Premonition was to me…not great by any stretch, but not the worst I’ve ever seen. I’d much rather see it than The Number 23, which was just stupid on so many levels. I’d give it a 1 1/2 rating at most, only because it had some vaguely interesting visual effects.

    On the other hand, if you don’t even consider truly awful movies worth mentioning…well beneath the scale, so to speak…then I can see where you’re coming from.

    (Looking back before posting, I see you rated Norbit at a half star…we agree on that…and you gave The Number 23 a 2, which I’d consider to be a generous rating by far.)

  • http://360.yahoo.com/razorfine_review Thundarr (Alan Rapp)

    The film, to me, was between a 1.5 and a 1 Star film.  I went with the lower since I felt the film insulted a genre I like (science fiction) by assuming, like so many Hollywood projects these days, that if a film is in this genre it doesn’t have to 1) meet the same standards of other genres, or 2) explain its “logic” to the audience.  And again, if a Jean Claude Van Damme project can make an effort, you don’t really have an excuse for not at least trying.  If this had been the first film to lame it up on this subject I might have been more understanding, but it simply adds one more crappy film to the increasingly large crap pile of poorly thought out time travel flicks.

    The reason I say 3 rating is too high for a film is a 3 out of 5 says the film contains more good bits (story, performances, direction, cinematography, etc.) than bad bits – hardly the case here.  A 3 film I would stop and watch if I saw it on free cable; this one I’d avoid like the plague.

    I go into every film starting my scale at 2.5, which is a film that’s just kinda’ there, equally bad or good.  Over the course of the film my rating goes either up or down, sometimes both, based on what I see.  To help explain the rating system more click here and check out the old standards from RF.

  • http://www.musicscribe.com David Murray

    Ah…I didn’t realize your scale went down to zero. 

    Before seeing the Norbit rating, I assumed it was between 1 and 5…after that, I assumed it was 1/2 to 5 after that.

    In that case, a 1 makes a little more sense.

    Still, I think Santa Claus Conquers The Martians would have to be in negative territory if this is a 1. :o)

  • http://www.myspace.com/dragonlews elkciN

    On a side note, I don’t envy anyone who had to watch ‘Norbit’ to review it. You, good sirs, have seen the gates of hell, and the pure evil of men’s souls.

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