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Category:    Home > Reviews > Children > Comedy > Spy > Action > Alex Rider – Operation Stormbreaker (DVD-Video)

Alex Rider – Operation Stormbreaker (DVD-Video)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Film: C



One of the lamest efforts to ride the small wave of the hit Spy Kids franchise, Alex Rider – Operation Stormbreaker (2006) is a few years late, many dollars short, badly derivative of a Spy era now dead (especially with 9/11 factored in) and is a harmless (if often boring) romp at best.  It is based on the first of several novels written by Anthony Horowitz, but whether the book series continues or not, one wonders after this if the films will.


Alex Pettyfer is the title character, who is just a regular school guy, but when his spy uncle (Ewan McGregor) is goes missing suddenly becomes involved in his world.  He meets adults that he is not for certain he can trust or not, but quickly learns to trust no one and gets involved in chase after assassination attempt.  Unfortunately, none of it is interesting and I was shocked by how bad and quickly dated this all was.


No matter what is in the books, the film is obsessed with imitating and duplicating all the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films from Tomorrow Never Dies to Die Another Day and also has a strange obsession with Remo Williams – The Adventure Begins.  Horowitz adapted his own book as a screenplay and in the past has written for the Roger Moore Saint, a Saint revival that did not work out, Midsomer Murders, Poirot and Foyle’s War, so he can do serious work in related genres.  This is just a desperate throwaway, however harmless, but young children would be better off with certain Bond films or even Avengers episodes versus this.


The supporting cast in Robbie Coltrane, Stephen Fry, Bill Nighy, Sophie Okonedo, Alicia Silverstone and Mickey Rourke as the villain.  All involved were obviously filled with some high hopes, but Johnny English was more amusing and it too did not work.  Casting Pettyfer has Harry Potter hopes stamped on it and the casting of a blond male was likely intended to fly in the face of Bond, but with blond Daniel Craig and international hit in his Bond debut Casino Royale, that too is lost.  If they do a sequel, just smudging things around and being coy will not cut it.  Only DVD and secondary market play can save this from the cancelled pile.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image looks so pale, you would think this was shot in digital HD, but it was instead shot in Super 35mm by Chris Seager, B.S.C., and is amazingly bad.  It would rate lower if it were any worse.  The look is flatly lit, plastic and too impressed with its locations and sets.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not awful, but nothing special, except that it at least has the merit of using its surrounds often, even if it is just too keep the attention of its expected child audience.  Extras include the original trailer and five featurettes covering the visual effects, stunts, horse chase, adaptation and the martial arts work of Donnie Yen.  That was actually all more interesting than the final film and shorter.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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