MOVIE REVIEWS

Review: ‘Chaos Walking’ Presents Interesting Premise, But Is It Theater-Worthy?

Mar 5, 2021, 5:46 AM | Updated: Jun 11, 2021, 7:18 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – What would you do if all of your thoughts were on audio and visual display for everyone around you, all the time?

That’s what humans in the not-too-distant future are dealing with in “Chaos Walking.”

Teenager Todd Hewitt, played by Tom Holland, discovers Viola, played by Daisy Ridley. She’s a mysterious girl who has crash landed on his planet, where all the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “the Noise” – a force that puts all their thoughts on display.

The title of the film comes from a line in the book series on which the movie is based: “The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, man is just chaos walking.

But nobody can hear Viola’s thoughts, and that makes many in Todd’s town suspicious and fearful of her, so she and Todd go on the run to find safety.

“Chaos Walking” was originally supposed to come out two years ago, but test audiences didn’t react well to the initial version of the movie. So the studio and director Doug Liman (best known for “The Bourne Identity,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Edge of Tomorrow”) had to do some extensive re-shoots.

Then the pandemic forced it to be delayed even more, and here we are finally.

It’s got a really strong cast, with two huge up-and-coming stars in Holland and Ridley, as well as other notables Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas, David Oyewolo and Cynthia Erivo.

But for some reason, outside of Holland’s main character Todd, nobody else really stands out or gets enough screen time to be very interesting — including Daisy Ridley, whose most memorable thing from the movie is having blond hair.

And that’s too bad because I found the central concept of the movie fascinating and unique.

I’ve seen films where the main character narrates their thoughts to the audience in voiceover. I’ve seen films where one character can read others’ thoughts. But I’ve never seen one where the all the characters can hear each other’s thoughts.

How embarrassing would it be if everything you were thinking but not saying was still somehow visible and out loud – whether you wanted it to be or not? How would you try and prevent it? How would your thoughts and behaviors change if they were always on display? How would you react to hearing and seeing others’ thoughts?

Speaking of that, Liman and special effects supervisor Louis Craig came up with a great way to visually represent the characters’ thoughts on display. It’s kind of a cross between the aurora borealis and the smoky illusions you’d see at a haunted house.

But despite being a sci-fi movie, there wasn’t an over-reliance on big CG moments or explosions. It was kind of a sci-fi western movie, with most of it taking place in pioneer-looking towns and the mountains and forests – not on spaceships.

As for warnings, there are a few.  “Chaos Walking” is rated PG-13 for some language and violence. And a big heads up that some of the violence involves animals, in case that’s something you’re particularly sensitive to.

The biggest non-content warning I have is that because the movie is based on the first book in a trilogy, there are too many plot threads and characters are left dangling by the end of the movie. I assume they’ll be resolved in future installments.

Combine that with the fact that I don’t even know if they’re going to make the rest of the series into films, and it leaves you feeling even more frustrated.

All in all, “Chaos Walking” has some good things going for it, but there’s just not enough for me. I give the movie 2 out of 4 stars.  It’s a cool idea but wasted a talented cast for the most part.

As for where you can watch it, it is exclusively in movie theaters. There’s no streaming for this film for a while. It may be worth a look if you love sci-fi movies or Tom Holland or you’re itching to see a new film in person. But it’s not good enough for me to recommend it if you’re not quite comfortable with the theater experience yet.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Movie Reviews

(L to R) Thira ‘Aum’ Chutikul as Commander Kiet, Popetorn ‘Two’ Soonthornyanaku as Dr Karn,...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘Thirteen Lives’ movie dramatically tells real rescue story of Thai soccer team from flooded cave

In THIRTEEN LIVES, a true story-based movie on Amazon Prime about the rescue of a teenage soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand, director Ron Howard manages to pull off the feat of balancing truth with drama without turning it into a documentary. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it was an emotionally-engaging movie that showcases the triumph of human effort and spirit when we work together to solve a problem.
11 days ago
(L to R) B.J. Novak as Ben Manalowitz and Boyd Holbrook as Ty Shaw in VENGEANCE, directed and writt...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: Dark comedy ‘Vengeance’ goes deeper than easy stereotypes for laughs in murder mystery movie

The death of a one-time fling draws B.J. Novak's writer/podcaster character Ben to West Texas to investigate and hopefully turn the story into a career-making podcast in Focus Features' VENGEANCE. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says this dark comedy has some great twists and very funny moments, while also going beyond stereotypes to create real characters.
18 days ago
Michael Cera as “Hank” and Samuel L. Jackson as “Jimbo” in Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank’ remakes an adult comedy classic into an animated movie for modern-day kids

A kids animated movie based on the irreverent 1970's film BLAZING SADDLES? That's exactly what PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK is, right down to having Mel Brooks voice a character. A friendly dog ventures to the land of cats to become a samurai, and finds himself protecting a village that doesn't even want him there. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says its got a great voice cast but keeping your expectations for the movie in check will help you enjoy it more.
1 month ago
The Gray Man (2022) Ryan Gosling as Six. Cr. Stanislav Honzik/Netflix © 2022...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: ‘The Gray Man’ is a violent but fast-paced throwback to action/spy movies of the past, with Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling chasing each other around the globe

The new action thriller movie THE GRAY MAN, from AVENGERS ENDGAME directors Joe and Anthony Russo, sees Chris Evans' sadistic mercenary chasing Ryan Gosling's on-the-run CIA agent all around the globe to get back some stolen information. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it's a love letter to spy and action movies of the past, and is very entertaining at times, though it is also quite violent.
1 month ago
(L-R): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios' THOR: LOVE AND...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: Portman, Bale help make ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ more than just another goofy adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, the 29th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sees Chris Hemsworth's Thor have to deal with his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) using his formerly-destroyed mystical hammer and possessing his same power while trying to stop a villain who can kill gods. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it's another goofy take on the character that has some very funny moments, but may not be to everyone's tastes.
1 month ago
Young Gru (Steve Carell) dreams of being the baddest villain of all time in MINIONS: THE RISE OF GR...
ANDY FARNSWORTH, KSL TV & KSL NEWSRADIO

REVIEW: Solid story, setting, voice cast lift animated sequel/prequel ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ above its predecessor

MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU brings back everyone's favorite little yellow troublemakers from the DESPICABLE ME franchise, this time in a tale of how Gru began to be a super-villain. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it's a much more enjoyable entry from start to finish over the first MINIONS movie, with clever villains, a great voice cast, soundtrack, and just the right amount of Minions hi-jinks mixed in.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Review: ‘Chaos Walking’ Presents Interesting Premise, But Is It Theater-Worthy?