Alphabetical Movie – Journey to the Center of the Earth
Brendan Fraser’s career is by no means dead but I can’t help but wonder if he actually reads scripts before he accepts a role. It seems like he so enjoys acting that he doesn’t much care about the movies he’s making. How else do explain how the guy makes movies like The Quiet American and Crash while also starring in films like…well…Journey to the Center of the Earth.
As an actor, I like Fraser a lot. Yeah, Rachel Weisz was definitely a discovery in The Mummy but without Fraser, the movie wouldn’t have been nearly as fun. He’s someone who can manage to make a bad movie better by his presence. He can’t save Journey to the Center of the Earth but I don’t think anybody can.
Problem is, he keeps choosing to take on films like Furry Vengeance and it gets hard to know if the next movie will be a good Brendan Fraser movie or a bad Brendan Fraser movie. I mean, I suppose that every actor has that problem but there are a lot of actors who seem to be trying to make good movies every time. Fraser doesn’t seem to be one of them.
I just don’t think you can read a script for Furry Vengeance and think “this movie is going to be amazing!!!”
Acting in movie is a job and while it sure seems like a cool job, it still takes effort to keep working. Maybe Fraser just figures he’s lucky to be able to keep working in such a cool job and so he’s not going to turn down any opportunity to do it. Maybe making Monkeybone was, for him, all about the experience of doing the job and not at all about the terrible movie that was the result. Perhaps his philosophy mirrors Michael Caine, who had this to say about Jaws 4:
I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.
Maybe Monkeybone paid for a very nice house. Or a winter in the alps. If I could spend three months in Europe for making a bad movie, I imagine I’d probably do it.
I can’t blame the guy for enjoying his job (and the things his job allows him to do). The fact he enjoys doing his job comes out in his performances. He genuinely seems committed to Journey to the Center of the Earth. He doesn’t look like he’s just thinking about a paycheck. He probably should be.
Instead, he’s smacking around those giant underground CGI piranha like his life actually did depend on it.
And I guess that’s one of the reasons I like him so much. He doesn’t seem stupid. He probably knows he’s making a bad movie. But he’s a professional and he figures there are probably a few people out there who genuinely enjoy the film. My kids, for instance, think Journey to the Center of the Earth is a lot of fun.
His committment to doing his job well is why I like watching him – even when he’s in a bad movie.
I just wish he’d make more movies like Gods and Monsters and fewer movies like Inkheart.