Johnny and the Dead

Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 1:43 AM

After watching Johnny and the Bomb the other day, I thought I'd watch the previous story in the series, Johnny and the Dead. It was made about a decade before it, so the cast is all completely different. The plot involves Johnny, who can see the dead people from his local cemetery, and how he helps to keep the cemetery from being bulldozed for redevelopment, and meanwhile the dead walk around the city to have a bit of a fun time.

This one was a lot more of a literal translation of the book, many of the lines are word for word, which unfortunately causes very stiff and awkward speech from the main cast of kids at times, who weren't very good actors anyway. The Director was also trying to be a little bit surreal when dealing with some of the imagery and atmosphere, apparently it was a lot more ambitious than he was capable of achieving. All in all, it was a bit of a misfire - poor acting from the kids, a lot of the nuance lost, and no budget to speak of, most of which probably spent on getting Brian Blessed in (who was actually quite good as the Marxist, William Stickers).

It could do with a proper remake, with a better cast of kids, and a more solid grasp of what the point of the story is supposed to be (the importance of remembering the dead, despite their seeming obsolescence to the current generation). As it was, it left a fair amount to be desired.

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