A Walk to Remember
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The cool guy (West) at school gets into trouble and through the “volunteer” work that he has to do in return, meets and falls for the wholesome, good-hearted “not so cool” girl (Moore). Their eventual courtship is filled with obstacles and touching moments as they embark on that tortuous journey we call “love”.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Sure it's clichéd (the bad boy, the preacher dad, the cruel friends, the outcast girl…sound familiar?), sure you’ll smell strong whiffs of NOVEMBER RAIN and HERE ON EARTH emanating from it and sure the mushy stuff is laid on thick, but does that necessarily make it a bad movie? Not in my book of love. A WALK TO REMEMBER did its job and did it well. It sports a positive message, brings up themes of forgiveness/redemption, has two solid lead actors who I dug seeing on screen (Shane West really holds the movie together like a champ, nice work dude!), has corny (for some) but touching for others (like me) “lovey-dovey” dialogue, hip tunes and did I mention that Mandy Moore is a doll?! Even while wearing a dress that looks like a curtain and a “shades of Kiss” pasty white face, she’s still cute as a button. I got lost in her big blue eyes more than once during this film and was impressed with her acting skills. You go, girl!
I did have some qualms with the film though. First there was the token black guy, who was just so token that he felt like a parody. "Blang-blang"? It’s played out guys...let it go. I also didn’t dig the whole standard "let's ridicule the poor girl" motif. I thought it was too infantile and too “out there” to be credible as a plot convention. And last but not least, even though I’m a big fan of montages with hip tunes booming in the background, I’m man enough to admit that this flick sported one too many of them. Talk about keeping those teens awake and selling that soundtrack! (Note: I'm buying the soundtrack!) I’ve heard many people complain about the ending of this film but it didn’t bother me one bit. Even though it's negative in some ways, it brought the overall positive vibe of the story (Landon’s journey) to the surface. The only qualm that I had with the finale was that it was déjà vu, but then again, so was the rest of the movie. If love stories are your cup of syrup… take this walk…
Commentary with Adam Shankman, Shane West and Mandy Moore: This full length commentary has all three talking in the same room. They are all very animated, and yes, Mandy is as charming as ever (she uses the word "dude" a lot….my kind of girl). We basically get lots of info on the locations, the vibe on the set, trivia behind particular scenes and the actor’s favorite sequences in the film. All three seem to be very happy to be doing this commentary. Gotta love positive people!
Commentary with Nicholas Sparks and Karen Janszen: This full length commentary isn’t as “lively” as the other one. It does have its interesting moments in regards to the book's transition to screen but Sparks does like to hear himself talk just a little too much in my opinion.
We also get a Cast and Crew option and Mandy Moore’s “Cry” music video.
The DVD is strong enough but I guess I would’ve loved more extras like featurettes or behind-the-scenes looks at the film. But what can you do, you can’t have everything. The film itself is fairly formulaic but its sincerity, touching moments, positive message, gnarly tunes and two strong leads won me over. I really got into this swan song and was once more fooled for a short while into believing that pure love exists. You know the kind of love that changes you as a man, which teaches you about life, that fills that empty corner in your soul? Yeah, that “only in the movies” kind. If you’re in the mood to have the wool pulled over your eyes too, hit this well-made, well-acted bowl of Corn Flakes...it's sure to hit the spot.