Dave’s 4-Word Review:
In a word, pointless
Telling the audience that the title character will be dying at the end of the movie right as the film opens happens quite a bit. It may be a gimmick, but typically, it’s a successful gimmick. However, there are reasons why it typically works for other films, unlike in the film Struck by Lightning, where the opening feels too blind for its own good. For others, the audience may be able to see a level of mystery in an inner layer of the film where maybe – the character isn’t really dead, and maybe he or she did die, but made a difference in the world. Struck by Lightning practically lets the audiences know everything they need to know before watching the rest, and because of this, the rest of the movie feels purposeless.
Chris Colfer stars in this film as Carson Phillips, a 17 year-old with big dreams of being the editor of a highly-publicized newspaper…or magazine…or practically anything that has words in it. His parents have long since gotten divorced, his mom a robot hooked on never-stopping medications, and his dad remarrying with a new child on its way. From the very beginning, you are told that he will be killed by a lightning bolt and will have a terrible funeral. After rewinding to the past, we go through the events that led to his ultimate demise. You see, the whole school was against his plan to start a school literary magazine, so he decided to blackmail the most popular kids in school to submit to the magazine as well as all of their closest friends. It was clear though, that duress doesn’t make people actually want your product.
Carson wasn’t popular before his literary magazine, nor was he popular after. Nothing happened in the movie, nothing important. The lightning strike was obviously brought on completely by chance, and Carson never once makes a difference in the movie. The death aspect in the movie was not needed, and in fact makes the entire movie worse. Sometimes death in movies is better off as a surprise, but trust me when I say it was quite possibly the worst idea Colfer had when writing this film.
Yes, indeed Chris Colfer not only starred, but also wrote this film. Good job for Colfer for completing such a task that others still have issues with. Clearly, his fame in Glee really opened this path to other possibilities, and this should be seen as a test run more than anything. What I would have to say about the people behind the camera is that the casting is all over the place. This film might as well be an ensemble film with all of the well-known actors in the film, including Rebel Wilson, Allison Janney, Angela Kinsey, Sarah Hyland, Allie Grant, and Christina Hendricks. It’s if their roles were picked correctly for the actors where this film fails; unfortunately, this also proves true for Chris Colfer.
The people who work on Glee may be stereotypical, but they are so good at casting their characters. Chris Colfer as an openly-gay and bullied individual makes so much sense, and he plays the role so well. This role as Carson doesn’t seem to fit him whatsoever. He plays his role fine, but he just feels so out of place. I think anyone watching this would rather Carson randomly bust out in song than to see him try to fulfill this confusing role.
It’s a dark-humor type of film, but they can’t even seem to get that right the whole time either. It has quite a bit of issues, this film does. Not to say that Struck by Lightning is devoid of positive attributes, because it really isn’t. It succeeds in being corky and different than anything else, and it has some pretty colorful characters that have the ability to keep the viewers interested…it’s just not enough to save the movie.
Check it out for yourself; Struck by Lightning came to Blu-Ray and DVD on May 21!