HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:73
It seems that “Mortdecai” has become the latest whipping boy, earning the moniker of “worst movie ever!” by most critical reviews and such. I prepared myself for the worst and actually came out enjoying pieces of the movie. It is by no means a good movie, but it doesn’t even remotely deserve a ranking among such Ewe Boll classics like “House of the Dead” or “In the Name of the King” by any stretch of the imagination. Your personal enjoyment of the film will largely be dependent on how much stupidity and childish humor you can take. “Mortdecai” was based off of the book titled “Don’t point that thing at me” by Kyril Bonfiglioli, and it appears that much of the wit and humor of the film has been derived from. Johnny Depp stars as the foppish Charlie Mortdecai in what seems to be a downward spiraling of roles for the aging actor. After literally catapulting his career back into the spotlight after “Pirates”, the man has been taking a bewildering amount of subpar career decisions that have made the man a farce of himself. Strangely enough, the goofy version of Depp actually works as Charlie Mortdecai, even if the script tends to fail the overall quality of the film in the long run.
Lord Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) and his wife, Johana (Paltrow), are up to their ears in debt and on the verge of losing their family estate. Relief comes in the way of an MI-5 operative by the name of Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor). It seems that a painting of great value has been stolen and the British government wants Mortdecai to investigate the matter since his sleazy underworld art dealings make him the perfect spy. Leaving his wife Johana at home, Mortdecai and his trusty man servant, Jock (Paul Bettany) head off to America, Russia and various other places in a wild hunt for the famed Goya painting. Along the way they run into crazed art dealers who want to open Mortdecai up, terrorists with nefarious plans for the painting, and an art dealer with a rather loose daughter who tries her best to steal Mortdecai from Johana.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=44785[/img]“Mortdecai” plays fast and loose with the James Bond/Austin Powers characters, trying their best to ham up the screen and garner plenty of laughs along the way. All the building blocks are there, and many of the scenarios have a great potential for being gut busting, but the putting together of those building blocks ends up with a rather shaky building. I laughed a few times and chuckled a few times more, but the majority of the stupid humor just didn’t jive well. Mortdecai’s foppish nature has been done a dozen times by actors much more capable than Depp, but there’s still some humor there. Although, I did get quite a kick out of Mortdecai and Alistair’s little games they play with each other. Mortdecai trying to humiliate the MI-5 agent, while Alistair does his best to woo Johana away from her moron of a husband.
Mortdecai and his fascination with a huge ungainly mustache is a talking point in the book as well as the movie, with Johana becoming violently sick upon being in close proximity to it, and a lot of the physical humor comes from Depp toying with and otherwise utilizing his mustache as a bit of slapstick humor. Paul Bettany does a solid job as Jock, giving the pugilistic looking actor a bit of a rough and tumble character to play. I was surprised at his inclusion in the film, as it seemed a waste of his talents to be running around as the man servant, especially considering his most recent roles. Jeff Goldblum is plastered all over the posters but really only in the movie for maybe 5 minutes.
Much of the humor is based off of physical and/or sight gags. My best comparison for Lord Charlie Mortdecai is blending a bit of James Bond with Inspector Clouseau from “The Pink Panther”. He’s a bit of a fop and ends up actually hurting his man servant, Jock, more than the villains ever do. The humor starts to fade a bit when the writers try inject some nobility and an overarching plotline that tries to bring him a bit down to earth for the viewers.
Rated R for some language and sexual material
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=44793[/img]For a movie that got hammered into the ground critically, Lionsgate pulled out all the stops for the audio and video presentation on the Blu-ray disc. The film was shot with high end Arri Alexa and RED digital cameras and the resulting image is about as pristine and clean as you can get. Details is exquisite, with every nasty little hair on Mortdecais crummy little mustache showing and every drop of blood that Jock exudes is perfectly replicated on screen. Contrast and skin tones are very natural, although the skin tones do look ever so slightly warm. The entire movie seemed to put its budget into production values, and the lush English countryside looks fantastic, with bright and well saturated colors. Indoor shots show off excellent black levels and the disc appears to be free of any compression issues, like Banding or Macroblocking.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=44801[/img]“Mortdecai” was given a rather robust 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that is actually quite surprising considering that the sound design doesn’t really take advantage of the immersion level that a 7.1 track can provide. Dialog is clean and clear with proper balance between the whining voice of Charlie and the general mayhem that follows him along his journey. Gunshots are weight and pack a punch, while the musical score fills out all 8 channels with a good layer of immersion. The lfe is punch, but doesn’t really give us bone rattling levels of bass. Surround activity is actually quite well done, with many a directional noise making its way into those back 4 channels. It’s a very good track, and while it doesn’t take full advantage of the 7.1 track, no one will much fault to find.
• Stolen Moments: On the Set of "Mortdecai"
• The Art of Noise: Making Music for "Mortdecai"
I had next to zero expectation for “Mortdecai” going into the movie, as the theatrical reviews were abysmal to say the least. The movie is nowhere near a good movie, and isn’t THAT entertaining, but it acts as a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I chuckled more often than I thought I would and popped popcorn at a wonderful clip. The audio and video for the disc are excellent, and while I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a must buy or anything, it works as a rental for when you’re in the mood for stupid humor.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Ewan McGregor
Directed by: David Koepp
Written by: Eric Aronson (Screenplay), Kyril Bonfiglioli (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1
Runtime: 106 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 12th 2015
Buy Mortdecai On Blu-ray at Amazon
More about Mike