Case in point deux: director Chris Lackey, who – according to the film’s press kit – animated The Chosen One “almost entirely from his Santa Monica apartment” as “a truly independent film alternative to the big, multi-million dollar studio animated movies.”
And while bigger is indeed not always better, and independent filmmaking can be innovative and inspiring, would The Chosen One truly be a godsend to viewers?
Lou (Chosen One co-writer and composer Chad Fifer) is having a bad day. He’s dumped by his girlfriend (Laura Prepon), fired from his job, his car is totaled by falling satellite, and he’s attacked by a bear. While recovering from the bear attack, Lou’s geezer roommate Zeb (Chris Sarandon) takes him to Zeb’s oddball church, where the congregation declares Lou to be “the chosen one” and sends him to Kansas on a mission to bring the world into a new age of enlightenment. But as Lou begins his journey – with Zeb and ex-coworker Donna (Danielle Fishel) in tow – a rogue group of church leaders sends a squad of mercenaries (including femme fatale Traci Lords) to kill Lou – while a dapper, Fabio-esque Lucifer (Tim Curry) joins Lou on his trek, filling his ear with religious rhetoric…and what Lucifer feels is Lou’s true calling.
I was really hoping to enjoy The Chosen One, due to its eclectic cast and unconventional animation. But I was also expecting (and hoping) for it to be more profane and savage in its execution. Not that a film has to be dirty to be funny, but The Chosen One is strangely a very tame film for tackling hot-button topics such as religion, relationships, and the meaning of life.
The animation is more South Park than Pixar – an irony, since The Chosen One’s timidity is the complete opposite of South Park’s no-holds-barred yet often intelligent raunch. (Lackey’s Flash-based animation and vector-art illustrations remind me of Internet ads I worked on at my agency circa 2002.)
The film’s narrative is meandering and nonsensical, and while the main characters all take turns philosophizing about what true happiness is, none of it is profound or memorable. In addition, the dialogue is flat and littered with punchlines that never rise above a sitcom. I smiled four times and didn’t laugh once (yes, I kept score).
Lackey and Fifer could have taken The Chosen One in three directions: a polemic questioning religion’s role in one’s fate, an outlandish comedy skewering the many outdated aspects of religious beliefs, or a clever combination of both. Unfortunately for the viewer, they chose none of the above.
Is it suitable for your kids?Aside some cartoon violence involving fighting and explosions, there’s nothing in The Chosen One that’s truly offensive or inappropriate. But that doesn’t mean your kids would find the film even remotely interesting.
Will your FilmMother like it?Even if she likes films that question such higher topics as religion, mortality, or morality, she’ll be disappointed by The Chosen One. And if she’s looking for a laugh-out-comedy…um, what’s worse than “disappointed?”
The Chosen One
* Director: Chris Lackey
* Screenwriters: Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer
* Stars: Chad Fifer, Laura Prepon, Chris Sarandon, Danielle Fishel, Debra Wilson, Tim Curry, Lance Henriksen, Traci Lords
* MPAA Rating: N/A