Not only our we obsessed with super hero stories, but we seem to be passionate about comic books in general. It’s one thing to write a story with a good premise and real characters, but it’s another level of talent when an artist can put that story to some great imagery. Moving beyond the illustrations of Dr. Seuss (Though those look good as well), graphic novels have to represent just how large and grand the story is to those that want to see the worlds they read about come into vision. I’ve seen some nice colorful action from The Incredible Hulk and a darker noir mystery from Locke and Key bring about some great images. I’m not an avid comic reader, but I can really see the hard work put in.
Now when a studio decides to adapt a comic for the big screen, most of them don’t realize that the percentage of avid readers of comics, especially the non superhero ones, are pretty low. So when studios have tried bringing Priest, Tank Girl, or The Phantom, all of them were critical and box office bombs. A lot of these ideas were too far for the mainstream audience interest and all seem to share that each of them are more catered to it’s fanbase. Studios have understood this and now try going in the opposite direction in order to please everyone. This is what happens when you make R.I.P.D.
Boston P.D. detective Nick Walker (played by Ryan Reynolds) has been working with partner Bobby Hayes (played by Kevin Bacon) for a while, with their most recent assignment that led them to a chest full of gold that they decide to keep. Walker however regrets his decision and tells Hayes he plans on returning the gold. During a drug raid, Hayes corners Walker and shoots him to death, in order to keep the full share of the treasure.
Walker wakes not in Heaven or Hell, but in an office. The office belongs to Mildred Proctor (played by Mary-Louise Parker), who is the director of the R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department). The purpose of this police is to maintain control of “deados” or spirits who refuse to crossover and stay on Earth as monster-like creatures. Walker joins, under the knowledge that his actions will gain him entrance into Heaven later. He is set up with Roy Pulsipher (played by Jeff Bridges), an ex U.S. Marshall who lived in the old west. As they investigate various cases, they find out that the gold collected earlier may be parts to a device that would allow the dead to return to New York. It’s up to R.I.P.D. to stop everything.
I don’t know how close the movie is to the comics, but R.I.P.D. seems more content on steeling other movie ideas them coming up with something inventive. This is basically a cross between Men in Black and Ghostbusters. It all feels very familiar; another world that we don’t know about, the experienced gunner, the reluctant rookie, the obvious bad guy, the machine that can destroy the world.
Oh, did I also mention that the movie is a big bore? The story’s been done to death, so if you’ve seen every single blockbuster, you would be able to see what’s going to happen next even if you were blindfolded. Each scene is either boring exposition or unfunny banter between Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. This movie is so bland it’s like eating Styrofoam. The one thing that was slightly interesting were the design of the deados, but even then, at least Men in Black has great effects. The monsters here look like creatures from a video game commercial. What a waste of time and talent.
I’ll give this half a comic that better the the movie out of five. R.I.P.D. reminds me of an attraction at Universal Studios; as if this was a guide on how to build a generic blockbuster, yet some executive forgot that this wasn’t supposed to be put in theaters, but did so anyway to try and make money. R.I.P.D. can go rest in peace as I doubt anyone would find this fun or entertaining.