Dragonfly (2002)
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Review Date: February 21, 2002
Director: Tom Shadyac
Writer: David Seltzer, Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson
Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum
Kevin Costner
Kathy Bates
Kathryn Erbe
A man who loses his wife in a South American bus accident is suddenly inundated with signs which seem to indicate that his dearly departed loved one is trying to communicate something to him. Are the signals really coming from his wife? If so, what is she trying to say? And even more importantly, is Whoopi Goldberg going to show up and win herself another Oscar for playing an annoying psychic?
I hate to call movies like this "bad" per se, since they aren't really "bad" as much as they are just something that I've personally seen in a million other movies before, and done much better, with better actors, better stories and better twists and turns. But I don't think it's fair to diss one film just because it just happens to be in the same genre as many other greater films before it, so let me try and break it down to the basics. Is this an interesting premise? Yeah sure...who doesn't want to know what happens to their loved ones after they die? It's the eternal question that is likely to be the topic of many other films and books and TV shows until someone is actually able to present tangible evidence to back up their respective hypotheses. So points go out to the film for that. Next up is the story. Well, the story seemed a little too one-toned to me. What does that mean? That means that from minute one of the movie, we find out that Kevin Costner's wife dies, and from there on until the end of the film, very little changes in the plotline, other than Costner being spooked by various "signs" through which his wife is apparently trying to contact him. Sure, it's somewhat interesting at first, but after an hour of the same smack (and methodical pacing-read "slow"), I started tuning out and tried to figure out by which age Costner would likely go completely bald (my nearest guess was 5-7 years).

Thankfully, the movie does pick up a little near the end, with a somewhat more engaging last half hour, as Costner finally starts to put together some of the more ambiguous pieces of the puzzle, and discovers...well, I won't ruin it for anyone here, but I will say that I was surprised by how it ended and appreciated it (although it's not going to change anyone's world-a la SIXTH SENSE). What else? The acting? Well, Costner is Costner, cashing a paycheck and hoping to hit the "supernatural thriller" loto (2 years too late, buddy!), and Kathy Bates (the only other real "name" in the movie) is comfortable enough with herself to allow them the filmmakers to buzz-shave her down to a primo lesbian haircut! Good stuff, Bates...although her character seemed a trifle unnecessary. Add to that, a lame-o nun with a "secret" (which apparently doesn't include over-acting), a South American dude who helps Costner with part of his trek (and helps the audience with some comic relief), lots of kids drawing wavy lines on pages on end (and nobody in the hospital thinks that's weird??), and I can't say that I would recommend that you pay to see this movie in the theaters. Oh yeah, the dialogue is also kind of stilted in some parts, but I guess that would depend on if you're buying into some of the bull that they're shoveling (I bought some of it...).

I suppose the film may "work" for some people, but for me, the emotional attachment to the main characters (Costner and his wife) just wasn't there, especially since they barely showed them together beforehand. The film also tosses some dicky "boo" scares out there and doesn't bring any originality to the genre, so if you were planning your weekend around this movie, forget that and watch the crappy winter Olympics instead. BTW, this movie comes from the same man who directed PATCH ADAMS, a film which many people either loved or hated for its damn corniness, so God knows that if you actually "get into" the skin of this film, perhaps it might lightly entertain you. My sister, JaneBlo, who joined me for this screening, did like the film, but didn't light one up to celebrate about it afterwards either. Anyway, as you can tell by my score...this movie is serviceable video fare at best, and even on that level, it's not going to blow your mind, so I would feel more comfortable suggesting that you just re-rent THE SIXTH SENSE or GHOST instead.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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