Review by Jessica Brandt
Most of the time, when we dream, we have a vague notion of what the dream was about, or merely have a notion that we'd had some kind of dream. We can see it vividly the moment we wake up, but as we get further into conciousness, it disappears.
In The Cell, Jennifer Lopez is a doctor who goes into the minds of her patients-- she sees what their mind's eye sees. What they see in dreams.
When you see The Cell, as soon as you leave the dark mind of the movie theater and reach the bright light of day, the movie is gone.
I honestly cannot remember much of this movie, even though I saw it less than five days ago. Why? The plot is not memorable, and you spend so much time waiting for something to happen, that you forget to pay attention to what's going on in the current scene.
I must admit that the special effects were dazzling, but director Tarsem Singh (of R.E.M. "Losing My Religion" fame) picked and choose from many elements to put this "dazzling array" together.
First off, we've got the Queen Amidalia-esque costume changes of The Phantom Menace for the robust Jennifer Lopez. Then, there are the vast desert scenes accompanied with annoying buzzing music from the cult classic El Topo. Next, we've got the bondage and antique robotics of Tool and NIN videos. There's painting-like effects from What Dreams May Come. There's the empty room/single window of "Losing My Religion." There's big scary monsters and bloody, disfigured boogie men like in Hellraiser. I'm sure you've all heard of the stop-motion special effects that were inspired by The Matrix. This all somehow linked to a murder mystery reminiscent of Se7en.
I spent more time watching this movie thinking "where did I see that before?" rather than "wow, what a breakthrough film."
Lopez is unconvincing of a child psychiatrist, who comes home to unwind by smoking a joint and watching creepy cartoons. Of course, they wrote in hints of a possible relationship between heartthrobs Lopez and Vince Vince Vaughn (who is better at being an investigator than Lopez is at psychiatry.) When we first meet Lopez's character, she is "visitng" the mind of a young comatose boy, trying to unlock the secret to why he just won't respond anymore. This boy's case kind of falls to the wayside during the rest of the film, and provides for a rocky start to the film. They do wrap it up in the end, and I would ruin it for you if I actually could remember the end of the movie.
There's a string of murders, a masochistic serial killer, and a chain-smoking investigator (Vaughn.) Special effects, the little boy, a fluffy white dog, busty Jennifer Lopez and some tight rubber suits. Thus explains the $17.5 million opening day box office draw. Who needs a plot when you've got "nice thingies to see"?
(Out of five)