When the writers (Craig Pierce & Lewis Colick) of “Charlie St. Cloud” did the screenplay, they never would have thought that such a beautifully written script would be royally destroyed in its production. I am shaken as to how a group of individuals can put all their efforts into making such a beautiful script such a mockery.
Charlie; a boy who has an amazing talent in sailing and been awarded a scholarship to Stanford is unfortunate to meet with a motor accident with his kid brother in the passenger seat. Charlie who almost lost his life was given a second chance, whereas his kid brother Sam was not. Charlie who had made a pact with his brother before the fatal night to play catch every day at sunset continued to see him even after the tragedy occurred. Charlie denying the Scholarship to Stanford stayed back in his town with the hopes of fulfilling his promise. Five years he continued to meet his brother and for 5 years he played catch and spoke with him as he had promised. Such is the beauty of the screenplay. So many possibilities in making this one of the most heart tugging movies of the year 2010. So much potential, so much depth, this could have been the next “City of Angels”. What was Burr Steers thinking!
Burr Steers who gave us “17 Again” may not have realized that the depth of the script he was going to handle was way more than his direction of 2009. “17 Again” was not half as profound as “Charlie St. Cloud”. He clearly misjudged himself, the script and sadly even the casting. As a director it is his duty to visualize the entire production before you actually have a go at it. For crying out loud we are talking about a kid talking to his dead brother out of a pure brotherly bond!
Let’s look at the areas where Burr Steers could have paid extra attention to detail.
The Score; the music did not blend in with the scenes and the music did not carry the enhancement the scenes required, if they did, tears would flow, hearts would melt. Would I be wrong to say that music, score, film editing, cinematography and even locations are an extension to the final production quality? Next I would say is the poor selection of cast. Zac Efron was acceptable in his previous production, but why did he stick with him even on this? Apart from Charlie Tahan who plays the role of Sam even Amanda Crew who plays Tess fails to impress. Would you agree it’s the directors’ talent that enhances the depth in the way the script is enacted? I agree that the actors have their own innovation instilled in their performance and their portrayals, but still the director plays the role of ALMIGHTY and can adjust and fine tune all performances. Getting back to Zac Efron, he obviously gives his very best in doing a good Charlie, but yet the support he gets from Amanda Crew and also the lack of good theme music makes him falls desperately short. Clearly he is up the creek without a paddle and has no saves to use to recover his performance. Definitive examples to this are the occasions Charlie meets Sam, the funeral, when Charlie meets Sullivan and of course my personal favorite – the ending. Such a waste, it’s a pity – such a waste of opportunities.
I am very disappointed and mostly having a feel anger towards the unmerited script. Maybe this was just a teenage flick in the directors’ eyes and he took it all too easy. Maybe he was content with all of this, maybe the cast agree that they did a good job, sadly my views beg to differ. To the readers – now it’s over to you.
Title: Charlie St. Cloud
Starring: Zac Efron, Amanda Crew & Charlie Tahan
Directed by: Burr Steers
Rated: PG13 for language including some sexual references, an intense accident scene and some sensuality