"All I want
is your Soul"
The world's most
famous stunt motorcycle rider Johnny Blaze (Cage) risked his life every
time he performed a death-defying leap to test his own mortality. Johnny
has a secret however, when he was seventeen he sold his soul to save his
fathers life. Now Mephistopheles (Fonda) has returned to collect his debt
by making Johnny his bounty hunter on earth. He is the Rider and Blackheart
(Bentley) is the evil he has to return to hell.
Comic Book movies
have became big business for Hollywood with both extremely popular and less
known characters heading to the silver screen, now it is the turn of Ghost
While not as popular
as the big names like 'Spider-Man', 'Batman', 'Superman', 'The Hulk' or
'Wonderwoman', 'Ghost Rider' has a loyal and almost cult-like following
but he is definitely a candidate for the big screen treatment. The sight
of a leather-clad biker with a flaming skull for a head that rides a motorcycle
of made of bones, steal and fire has cinema written all over it. In this
modern era of computer generated visual effects where anything the filmmaker
can imagine can come to life, a character like 'Ghost Rider' can be complete
realised on film and director Mark Steven Johnson's movie pushes those effects
to the very limit.
The visual effects
for 'Ghost Rider' are quite simply stunning. Johnny Blaze's transformation
into the rider takes the film into a whole new level of superhero realisation.
The action sequences involving the rider push the current level of visual
effects to the limit. The design of the character is superb, bringing the
flaming skull headed bounty hunter and vigilante to life as he sits atop
is flaming chopper. Adding to this is the creation of the elemental fallen
angels that join Blackheart in his quest to take over the earth and Blackheart
and Mephistopheles' demonic manifestations when their evil takes over
. The film may look
visually stunning but that doesn't always make a great movie and unfortunately
this is the case with 'Ghost Rider'. A combination of a week storyline,
some overly corny lines and in parts some bad acting, make the movie fall
short of being a comic book classic. The film has the same problem as every
first movie in a potential comic book franchise, it has to tell an origin
story. As a first time viewer or even a diehard fan, it takes a while for
the title character to actually appear as we have to be introduced into
how Johnny Blaze sold his soul and how he waited with dread for Mephistopheles
to return. While we know this has to happen but the build up story doesn't
really grab up and keep you interested. The performances are fine throughout,
with Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles and Sam Elliott as the Caretaker bringing
some class to their roles. Eva Mendes is as gorgeous as she needs to be
as Johnny's lost love Roxanne and Donal Logue continues to keep playing
best friends as Mack. Wes Bentley's Blackheart on the overhand is underdeveloped
and he plays him far too over the top to be an effective villain.
Nicolas Cage's Johnny
Cage/Ghost Rider is the role that, of course, can make or break the movie
and the good news is that he doesn't break it but he does cause a few cracks.
He is too old to play the role, especially when is supposed to be the same
age as Eva Mendes' character. You could also argue that he is too much of
a big Hollywood star to play the role. Where movies like 'Superman Returns',
'Batman Begins' and 'Spider-Man' have succeeded is having an actor who is
not A-list in the title role, giving the actor the chance to become the
character not just a big star playing superhero. You can tell that Nicolas
Cage is a big comic book fan however and looks like he is really having
fun in the role, making the character more appealing.
'Ghost Rider' is
an improvement over writer/director Mark Steven Johnson's last effort 'Daredevil'
but it is still not perfect. The visual effects are brilliant but are not
enough to compensate for the weak storyline and some of the performances.
This doesn't mean that the film isn't fun however but just don't go expecting
a movie that will redefine the comic book genre.
Presented in Anamorphic
Widescreen 2.35:1 with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the movie is presented
Ghost Rider Animatics
Watch the original computer generated, animated storyboards that show Ghost
Rider riding the hell cycle, the transformation and the bike.
The Making of
Ghost Rider Documentaries (81.56 mins)
Writer/director Mark Steven Johnson, executive producer E. Bennett Walsh,
producers Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Gary Foster, production designer Kirk Petruccelli,
cinematographer Russell Boyd, makeup designer Lesley Vanderwalt, visual
effects supervisor Kevin Mack, stunt coordinator Glen Boswell, costume designer
Lizzy Gardner and stars Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Peter Fonda,
Raquel Alessi, Matt Long, Laurence Breuls, Daniel Frederiksen and Mathew
Wilkinson this documentary, split into three sections entitled 'Spirit of
Vengeance, Adventure and Execution', covers all aspects of the films production.
With behind the scenes footage from the Australian shoot, insights into
the production of the movie, the visual effects and the history behind bringing
the Marvel character to the silver screen. This is a very good behind the
scenes feature that offers a fascinating insight to how a big budget, comic
book movie is made.
Sin and Salvation:
Comic book origins of Ghost Rider (46.08 mins)
Creators Roy Thomas and Mike Ploog, writers Howard Mackie and J.M. DeMatteis,
artists Mark Texeira, Clayton Caain, Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada
and editor Axel Alonso take you through the evolution of the character from
his 1960s origins through to his present form. Split into four sections
covering the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000 and beyond, the documentaries cover
the three different versions of the character and how each writer reinvented
him and the mythos of Ghost Rider.
Usher Home |
Hush, Hush... | The
Big Story | The Usher Speaks
@ Home | Coming Soon | Links
| Contact the Usher