May 30, 2011
Dear John...a year later
Sometimes I feel bad that I wait over a year after a movie is released before I get a chance to watch them but some movies are not worth rushing to the movie theater for. The movie adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' DEAR JOHN is one of those kinds of movies. With the movie debuting as #1 at the box office and knocking Avatar out of the top spot in February 2010, I guess the majority of movie-goers didn't agree with me.
I normally read Nicholas Sparks' books before I see the movie versions of them but I decided to watch this film without reading the book. Perhaps I should've just read the book instead. I know Nicholas Sparks is a prolific writer whose novels engage his readers passionately and strike their emotions in such a way that the readers feel those "touched emotions" long after they've put the book down. I just didn't get that feeling with this movie.
This movie was okay to watch...just okay. It was a relaxing way to pass the afternoon on the couch with Netflix up on the TV. The storyline was fairly predictable, except for the person who comes between John and Savannah's romance. I didn't expect that to happen the way it did. In case I have readers who haven't seen the movie yet, I don't want to spoil that part for you.
As far as the character portrayals, I was a little disappointed with the lead character played by Channing Tatum. I just don't think he delivered an exceptionally convincing portrayal of Special Forces soldier who supposedly had a complicated past - a history of violence and a childhood characterized by being raised by a reclusive father. I have yet to see his performances in other movies to determine whether Channing Tatum was purposely trying to look like he was restraining his emotions throughout most of the film because he plays a soldier who has learned to control his emotions or if he just has that same lack of acting charisma as Vin Diesel. (I like Vin Diesel's action movies but let's be honest, there's just no emotional depth to his character portrayals). There were a few scenes where Channing Tatum does manage to shed some tears, though. In that case, I could be judging him too harshly for this review. On another hand, he does make good eye candy for the female viewers of this movie.
Amanda Seyfried is a heavenly beauty to watch. She has tantalizing eyes, if I may say. Even when she doesn't speak, her eyes can speak a thousand words. Whether she wants to convey innocence or sultriness, she's got the eyes for it.
The best acting in this movie was clearly that of Richard Jenkins who played John's autistic father. His mannerisms (inability to look people straight in the eye during conversations), strict self-imposed routine, and obsessive-compulsive behavior made his character so believable and endearing (especially if you know someone like that). I definitely found his role commendable.
My biggest surprise in this movie is seeing the character Tim, played by Henry Thomas. Anyone remember Henry Thomas from the 1982 hit film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial? Back then, he was the little boy that played Elliott. Amazing! I had no idea he was still in show business.
I was also pretty surprised with the ending of this movie. I've read another movie review that revealed the difference between the ending of this movie and that of the actual novel. I think I like the movie ending better.