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July 19th, 2013

Movie Review - R.I.P.D.


Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong, Marisa Miller, Robert Knepper, Mike O'Malley, Devin Ratray, and more.

Directed by: Robert Schwentke Screenplay by: Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi Story by: David Dobkin, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi Based on the Dark Horse comic by: Peter M Lenkov Cinematography by: Alwin H Küchler Original Music by: Christophe Beck

Premise: Having succumbed to temptation, Detective Nick Cruz and his partner took some gold they found during a police raid. Later regretting the impulse, Nick seals his fate when he informs his partner he's decided to turn his share in to the evidence department. Soon dead, Nick's soul is sucked towards the sky, but then gets diverted sideways into the R.I.P.D. - the Rest In Peace Department. They want him to help bring back the souls of the dead which have fallen through the cracks and remained on Earth rather than move on to Judgement. These dead's corrupted souls will affect the living world, turning it toxic, so they must be brought back or eradicated. So Nick has his hands full and in the midst of it reconcile himself with the fact he's dead. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Thumbs Up: Jeff Bridges in his role as Roy will make you laugh, cringe, and want to smack him all at once. These emotions are clearly and nicely reflected by Ryan Reynolds as Nick. Kevin Bacon was fun as Hayes - sweet, friendly, and evil. James Hong and Marisa Miller looked to have had a lot of fun playing Nick and Roy's earthly avatars.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The first minute or so after Nick's death were awesome. I loved treatment of that whole scene. Then there's the sequence as he leaves the ground and is pulled heavenward only to be shunted sideways into jarring normalcy  - also nicely done. Some of the CGI movements of people were a little too flexible to pass as real people, but could be considered a 'nitpick'. Though this same flexibility served them well later with the 'deaders'.

The holes in reality and the collapsing parking garages came out great. The bank vault and the casefiles area were truly superb. Even better is the scene at Hayes' house when a truth is revealed.

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: For readers of the Dark Horse comics, the details of how Nick died and how he came to be employed by the Rest In Peace Department are not the same. In the film Nick is well aware of who killed him, while in the comics he possessed no idea on who had done the deed. A point which proved a major factor on why he signed up for the department.

While the set up and plot were believable and worked overall, there were several spots that didn't quite work or where explanations were bypassed. Roy calls attention to the fact that one of the 'deaders' is exhibiting powers he's never seen before but nothing is ever done to reveal any information on why he could do it. A reference is made to special talismans late in the film, but nothing ever ties them back to the particular character. There were also no explanations for the intensity of decaying power of a recently deceased person - so this was yet another items left unresolved.

It didn't help that when things were at their lowest point, and Nick has finally had his fill of Roy, he stuck around with him. Sadder still was the lack of follow up once the main ordeal was over. Did the Eternal Affairs department set everything back as it had been or was the footage of all the 'deaders' now forever in the internet? We never find out one way or another.

I will say there was one piece of genius in the film - setting up a rough and tough man of the west with a beautiful woman avatar. Someone obviously was hoping to teach him a lesson.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: CGI or real, the stunts worked well. The setup when Nick realizes time seems to have stopped was great - kudos for the number of explosions and flying debris frozen in time and space.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Some interesting angles and sweeping looks at the city of Boston. Really neat shots in the Rest In Peace Department areas too.

6) Music - Total Thumbs Up: The film had some nice background music tracks by Christophe Beck. There is also a song Jeff Bridges helped write and perform that will have your eyes rolling. They play a more professional sounding version during the credits.

Conclusion: Though "R.I.P.D." feels a lot like a "Dead Like Me" meets "Ghost Busters" and "Men in Black" mix, the problems with skipped explanations and lack of real follow up at the end, kept it from being an awesome combo. Still, it was definitely entertaining. You'll never think of coyotes in the same way ever again.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)
Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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