(Review originally written at 16 June 2007)

It's funny how Robert Rodriguez his more 'light' movies are also his 'worst' ones (Spy Kids-trilogy, "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D") but yet he continues making movies like this. But who can really blame him for making them, they seem like fun movies to make.

Problem is that it is unclear what the movie is trying to be. A fun spoof of high-school movies, a tense science-fiction thriller. But whatever is the case, "The Faculty" is obviously not a movie that is brought seriously. The movie mixes so many different styles (think "The Breakfast Club" meets "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".) that the movie its style is incoherent and the movie lacks a real identity of its own. The one moment you don't know if you should be entertained or scared by what's happening on the screen.

The story is way too simple and simply uses all of the high-school clichés, also in all of its characters. It works in a spoofing kind of way and therefor in a way also adds to the fun but it's just not solid and surprising enough to fill a 104 minutes movie with. Because it's so cliché filled, nothing in this movie ever comes as a real surprise. It also is the reason why this movie just never becomes tense or mysterious to watch.

The good news is that the movie itself luckily also doesn't take itself seriously. It's what saves the movie and what makes it a good and fun one to watch. The characters are so deliciously over-the-top that they become very entertaining, which is also really thanks to the 'big-name' actors playing them, some in some small bit parts such as Jon Stewart, Salma Hayek and Christopher McDonald. Everybody clearly had fun playing in this movie. Some other parts are there for some fine actors such as Famke Janssen and Robert Patrick. They also deliberately cast some irritating teenagers in the main leads. Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Shawn Hatosy were all still some fairly unknown actors at the time. Surpising to see how much I enjoyed Josh Hartnett in his role. He was so much fine. I also was surprised by Usher Raymond, who I also enjoyed in his (small) role. So really nothing wrong with the casting here.

The editing was really off at times. It even seemed as if the movie was incomplete at the time of its editing process and some in between shots were simply missing. Seemed like Robert Rodriguez still had a lot to learn with his 'shooting and chopping'.

The special effects and its typical genre movie gory effects also weren't much good but somehow I have the feeling that they deliberately made the effects look fake to add to the movie its fun and light atmosphere.

A good movie to watch but it still left me with the feeling that it had more potential.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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