The year is 2257 AD and the human race has travelled beyond Earth. On the planet New World, a group of humans have formed a home in Prentisstown – a male-only settlement.
Amongst the townsfolk is Todd Hewitt – a young, unassuming man who lives with his dads. Todd never causes any trouble, and goes about his business, often with his pet dog in tow.
One day, Todd comes across a space ship, which has crash landed in the woods. At first it appears as if there are no survivors of the ship, but a young girl called Viola soon makes her presence known.
Viola is taken to Prentisstown, where she is questioned by the Mayor. But while Viola appears to be a normal human girl, and no obvious threat to anyone, her presence could be the key to unlocking a dark secret at the heart of town – a secret that must stay buried.
Directed by Doug Liman, Chaos Walking is a brand-new movie which arrives in the UK this weekend. The film stars Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, and Mads Mikkelson, and is available to rent through all major digital platforms including Sky Store, Amazon, and iTunes.
Chaos Walking is based on the Young Adult (YA) novel, The Knife of Never Letting Go – the first entry in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. The movie is a sci-fi Western, with a smattering of action, and is aimed squarely at the teen crowd.
Does it work? Well, as someone who hasn’t been a teen for quite some time, I can’t speak for how young audiences will find this movie; but as someone who has watched his fair share of sci-fi films, I can say that I’m not impressed.
Production began on Chaos Walking back in 2017, with the movie due in cinemas in 2019. The reason it is seeing the light of day now is because the project had to undergo reshoots, following poor early test screenings.
Those reshoots were designed to give the movie a little ‘oomph’, but clearly, they didn’t work. In fact, I dread to think what the original cut of this movie was like, as the cut I watched today was a by-the-numbers, uninspired picture, largely devoid of any originality.
There are some bright spots, namely the cast, with Holland, Ridley and Mikkelson doing their best with the material they are given. Holland in particular gives it his all, and keeps things ticking along, but even he can’t save this movie from its own shortcomings.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Chaos Walking is the film’s central gimmick – which is a form of communication used by all of the inhabitants of Prentisstown. Referred to as the ‘Noise’, this bizarre gift (which is also a curse) allows the town’s inhabitants to see and hear each other’s thoughts.
The ‘Noise’ injects a little bit of drama into proceedings, but it can’t alter what is largely a painfully pedestrian tale. If you’ve seen at least half-a-dozen sci-fi movies in your life then essentially, you’ve seen Chaos Walking before, and therefore you don’t really need to see it again.
Sure, if you are a major Tom Holland/Daisy Ridley fan then you may want to give Chaos Walking a watch, but take my advice, wait for it to pop up on a streaming service in due course. Or, simply move on – there are far better movies you could be watching instead.
Chaos Walking has snuck out this weekend with very little advertising and no real fanfare. I appreciate that it has been overshadowed by the release of Godzilla vs. Kong, which is a huge movie, but I can’t help but feel the lack of buzz surrounding Chaos Walking speaks volumes.