By Marc S. Sanders
The last of my salute to Dan Allmond is to carry on his enthusiasm for Venom. Sadly, I don’t think he got to see it. Here is a little of what Dan had to say following the release of the trailer:
HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT. VENOM!!!!!
My take (and I think Dan would not fight me on this, but he’d love the film nonetheless):
Venom is one of the few movies where a special effect occurs, and I look everywhere else except at the magic of the special effect. Probably because the special effect is not that magical.
This is a Marvel film that Disney wisely opted not to pee on to claim its territory. Disney knows when a turd smells horrifically bad. So Sony and Columbia Pictures settled on it…and…well…they are making money off of the film considering it bested Lady GaGa and had a record opening weekend. Tell me though, reader, which screen attraction will probably still be in theatres come Thanksgiving, and thereafter? Lady GaGa or Venom? Venom may have shot box office elephant in its opening weekend. Lady GaGa will happily collect mice for the next 12-18 weeks. Truth is in longevity.
This movie makes no sense. Moreover, it makes no sense that talents like Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams signed on to do this junk mired in literal black goo. Forget about the Venom character for a second. The first 30 minutes of this under two hours masterpiece is nothing but Hardy’s unlikable, unattractive schlub of a journalist character, Eddie Brock, walking down sidewalks, speaking to homeless people while getting a newspaper (what journalist reads newspapers anymore?), picking up a soda at a convenience store, eating dinner with Williams, and through all this there’s no Venom in sight. This is oh so boring. This is oh so uninteresting. Then, we jump ahead and this alien goo leaps on Eddie and now the poor sap hears a gravely voice in his head at inopportune moments. Later (seems like a long while later but maybe it was only 5 minutes), Eddie is trying to keep a bulbous, black monster with teeth and a very phallic looking tongue from “coming out of him.” Reader, the best way to describe the art in a special effect like this is to envision Tom Hardy trying to take a shit through his face. It ain’t pretty.
So Venom speaks, and I imagine the three credited writers of this dreck were hoping for a salute to All of Me with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin or The Odd Couple where different personalities clash. You know what…scratch that. These guys were probably not bright enough to go to those films for inspiration. You see that’s what “Venom” needs. It needs a disagreeable couple forced to live with one another; forced to argue with one another; an internal struggle…IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR????
Instead, we are to believe that the Venom personality is hungry so it eats the heads off of live humans and swallows live lobster whole. The lobster bit kinda works because you actually see the lobster get chewed up and swallowed. The head thing? Yeah…no, because it all happens off screen. Why would the filmmakers do that????? You have this black as night gooey hulking mass of a creature with this tongue and steak knife teeth and you don’t even see the gory destruction that he’s apparently capable of. It’s like Moe throwing the pie at Curly but you are denied of seeing the splat in Curly’s face. That’s not the script’s fault. That’s just lousy production value. That’s lousy filmmaking.
The Venom personality is not funny. He has no wit. He has no memorable lines. He’s certainly not cute. He just interrupts Eddie at times when no one else is even in the room. Eddie talks to him but there are often times when no else is there to offer the standard dumbfounded look and ask Eddie the age old question “Who are you talking to?” There could have been something at least a little redeeming here. Give the character some humor and wisecracks. Throw in a little slapstick. Make him like the Joker or the Riddler or something!!!!! Could Venom just crack a joke, maybe? It’d make the pill easier to swallow, or in this case the head.
Michelle Williams cashed in a paycheck to pay the mortgage. The most she does with her role is wear a wig to hide her well recognized bob haircut. Otherwise, there’s nothing here for her.
Lastly, and this is a frustrating shortcoming for me at least. Eddie breaks into this wealthy villain’s lab where the goo is housed. He sets off the alarms like a complete moron. He gets attached to said goo and then he gets out of there with the help of the Venom goo. Cut to the next day and the big bad spends a long five minutes of movie time asking and interrogating with threats who was it that broke in. Dude!!! You are supposed to be this wealthy scientific megalomaniac that sends ships into space with high tech security and glass and steel and alarms everywhere. You don’t have one single security camera in this lab?????????? Sony is a producer of this film, and yet they don’t have a prop room anywhere to offer up a couple of camcorders even????????? Reader, what does that tell you about Venom?