Addicted to novelty since 2001

Reviewed Five Ways: The Sum of All Fears

I live in Ireland, and as a result I see most movies weeks or months after they are released in North America. The only exceptions are European films and major box office events like Star Wars and the like. What really irks me is that occasionally the distributors will run a film in the UK for 4 to 6 weeks and then ship the print to Ireland. We end up getting Britain’s sloppy (grainy, scratched, faded) seconds.

I see at least one movie a week, taking full advantage of my UGC Ultimate Card, which permits me to see as many movies I want (at certain cinemas) for a mere €13. Despite a fine arts background and a healthy dose of aesthetic snobbery, I’m a movie slut. I’m go see anything.

To avoid the crowds (and there are always crowds in the evening in Ireland–movies will regularly sell out on a week night), I almost always go to matinees, and often alone. When I walk home from the movie along the Liffey, I play a little game with myself. I try to think up five different ways I would write a review of the film. I make up the first line or two of each review.

This weekend’s fare was the tepid The Sum of All Fears, and here it is, reviewed five ways:

  1. This film might be better named the Sum of All Clichés–the Russians mutter in plush armchairs, the Whitehouse senior staff yell a lot, and America is victorious.
  2. In action hero terms, Ben Affleck is to Harrison Ford as a minibar is to a refrigerator. His Jack Ryan is lacks Ford’s susceptibility or, dare I say it, Keanu Reeves’s wit.
  3. The makers of “The Sum of All Fears” appear to have done a Find and Replace on “The Hunt for Red October” script. They’ve replaced “submarine” with “Baltimore” and “nuclear warhead” with “nuclear suitcase bomb”.
  4. “The Sum of All Fears” runs about 115 minutes, which is at least 15 minutes too long for a tepid, post-September 11th action movie. (Oddly, the Internet Movie Database describes a 14 -minute difference between the German and Austrian versions of this film…what are the Germans seeing?)
  5. The first hint of the lameness of “The Sum of All Fears” should have been the bizarre quantum mechanics at work. Jack Ryan is younger and still desk-bound, yet the film is set in the year 2002. Will the movie version of “Rainbow Six” feature a pre-pubescent Jack Ryan (perhaps played by Haley Joel Osment, with Martin Lawrence as the salt-and-pepper-haired mentor?).