Okay… what was that? Fallen is based on Lauren Kate’s best-selling book series and is the latest attempt of adapting a young adult/romance novel into a franchise. However, this is a film that has taken a long-winded journey to make it out into the world; with filming taking around 2014, there was a following two-three year silence with whispers of scrapping the film altogether, yet a few months ago it arrived into a few countries without any form of marketing or promotion, which is not a great sign for universal success. This clearly was something that was intended to fill the Twilight gap, and since Twilight’s release there have been many films like it that have tried to fit that mould, like The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and The Host (not so great examples), with the standout being the highly underrated Beautiful Creatures. In the case of this, this is a film that ends up feeling somewhat dated and ultimately uninteresting as a result of many misfiring elements.
The first of which is that this is essentially a clichéd, teen romance movie with a supernatural twist that includes a forced love-triangle with a girl that’s introduced by a boy to the world of the fantastical and magical and coming with this are these plethora of reasons why they shouldn’t be together, even though they want to be. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? This ashamedly regurgitates the seen-it-all-before formula that Twilight established, and this makes the movie feel more like a derivative carbon copy as a result. The second problem is that this movie lacks any form of energy or momentum to give the movie the edge or drive it desperately needs, so it just becomes something of a boring slog. It’s around 90 minutes long, which isn’t long compared to most films out there that feel the need to stretch things out to 2+ hours, yet for nearly an hour into the movie there isn’t anything that happens (this is Fant4stic all over again!). Also, by the time the movie actually starts happening, it just stops, setting up a sequel that’s never going to happen.
It’s also not helped by the fact that the clumsy script and its wooden dialogue ruin any potential this movie had, as it consists of stilted phrases, awkward interaction and large lapses in logic. Plus, there are too much beauty shots of the Sword and Cross school and the forest surrounding it, almost as if the filmmakers are more interested in the characters walking around aimlessly in the fog-drenched scenery, rather than actually delivering any character development or substance. Oh, and could someone just turn on a light!? As far as performances go, every actor does try their best, yet none of them have anything to work with. Addison Timlin is perfectly fine, but she’s just reduced to brooding in silence, looking sad, or standing around looking attractive (as if we need to know that, Californication anyone?).
As for the two male leads, both Jeremy Irvine and Harrison Gilbertson are one-dimensional in their roles as the Edward and Jacob clones. The supporting cast are completely wasted in their respective roles, since the side characters are mostly resided to the background, which means the actors like Daisy Head and Joely Richardson are given the short end of the stick. The only actor and character in the film you actually like and care about is Lola Kirke as Penn, since Kirke gives a likeable performance and is the only character with personality and growth, but what they do to her by the end is almost unforgivable.
Fallen is a film that took a long time for an “official” release and you can see why. For a fantasy movie, the production is pretty poor, with a clunky script, bland characterisation, awful CGI, lousy editing, slow pacing, not much direction from Scott Hicks (famous for helming the Nick Sparks movie The Lucky One) and a talented cast that are ultimately wasted. It’s not as mind-numbingly boring as City of Bones or as aggravating as the Twilight movies, but that’s not really saying much, and the fact that it’s only for home release shows just how little effort the studio put into this. Fallen really could have stood a chance if the production company had tried harder, but alas, what we have here is as mediocre as it gets.
FALLEN / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: SCOTT HICKS / SCREENPLAY: NICOLE MILLARD, KATHRYN PRICE, MICHAEL ROSS / STARRING: ADDISON TIMLIN, JEREMY IRVINE, HARRISON GILBERTSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW