UMD Review: Godsend

The effective set up of Godsend is welcome. There are a few different directions it could go, and sadly, the one it takes is not the correct one. When the ending finally hits, you’re left wondering why you even bothered.

Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn play a couple whose son is killed in a freak car accident. Desperate to bring him back, and in a twist of fate, they come across Dr. Richard Wells (Robert De Niro) who offers to clone their son. This is wonderfully done, playing on the emotional angle this is sure to bring. It skips over most of the consequences and moral debate to keep things moving.

Where the film goes is “creepy kid horror movie” territory. The entire concept of the film, the genetic cloning, is seemingly forgotten. For most of the movie, it doesn’t matter what actually happened in the opening moments. It’s eventually brought back for the ending that hits long after the audience has figured everything out.

There’s a great movie here somewhere, and it’s screaming, kicking, and clawing to get out. At more than a few points, this one feels like a slasher film without any actual slashing. The solution is brain dead obvious, and the logic behind Robert De Niro’s actions is nil. Apparently, the director felt none of this made sense to, and it’s been reported there are SEVEN different endings (four of which made it onto home video as extras).

Whatever happened, Godsend is a massive disappointment. As you’re watching, you can only formulate how it should have played out, and if you’re even a minor movie fan, you’ll repel in horror as it finishes with zero closure. There was no point in wasting 100-minutes if the film ends like this because it puts the audience right back where they started. This never should have been green lighted. (* out of *****)

This is a rather faded transfer, lacking any real positives. It works in that the setting should be drab and lifeless, but it’s a tough contrast to the deep black levels. Compression has a hard time staying hidden with the constant display of solid-colored walls. That said, detail is sharp, and the avoidance of excessive aliasing is somewhat remarkable. (***)

Aside from a few short moments of positional audio, this is a movie completely centered. Brian Tyler’s soundtrack comes out nicely, and the few moments of action provide a little punch from the bass. That’s the extent of notable sound in a movie that’s obviously more concerned with dialogue. (***)

Those four endings mentioned above have made it to the PSP version. The second one puts a little bit of a cap on the film, and it’s probably the best of the five choices. It also makes De Niro’s character a little deeper. The third one makes no sense whatsoever, and if the finished film ending confused people, this would have sent them home completely baffled. These become the only extras. (**)

Even though it’s terrible, a dramatic film dealing with the cloning issues would be rather interesting. At least, it would have to be better than this. Godsend will only be remembered for a fake website that was more of a publicity stunt than anything in which parents actually called to see if their children could be reborn. Admittedly, it was well done, but common sense should have indicated it wasn’t real.

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