The Men Who Stare at Goats Review


Synopsis:
Reporter Bob Wilton is in search of his next big story when he encounters Lyn Cassady, a shadowy figure who claims to be part of an experimental U.S. military unit. According to Cassady, the New Earth Army is changing the way wars are fought. A legion of "Warrior Monks" with unparalleled psychic powers can read the enemy's thoughts, pass through solid walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it. Now, the program's founder, Bill Django, has gone missing and Cassady's mission is to find him. Intrigued by his new acquaintance's far-fetched stories, Bob impulsively decides to tag along. When the pair tracks Django to a clandestine training camp run by renegade psychic Larry Hooper, the reporter is trapped in the middle of a grudge match between the forces of Django's New Earth Army and Hooper's personal militia of super soldiers. In order to survive this wild adventure, Bob will have to outwit an enemy he never thought possible.

Review:
I should call this review the Reviewer that Stared at Screen. I say stared because I wasn't necessarily bored watching "Goats" but I was certainly conscious of my staring, waiting for something to happen. The premise is that the US Military at one point decided to start a "psychic" division that worked on non-traditional ways of defeating the enemy. This could include peace and love, concentration or just plain staring at them. They even tested the latter on goats, to stop their hearts and this is where we get the name.

Quite frankly, this movie is a Coen Brothers movie without the Coen Brothers. It has George Clooney playing a goof-ball, sort of like O Brother, Where Art Thou? or Leatherheads, but to a degree that's not exactly believable or funny. It is at times entertaining (the sparkly eyes scene is kind of funny, actually), but not enough that I was rolling. There were around two good gags the entire film. The rest kind of plodded along, forcing the audience to stare, waiting for something to occur.

For an Iraq War movie, I was prepared to take more preaching then actually took place. Preaching can be okay, if there is a clear message. But this story mostly just shows how goofy psychics can be (especially if they are George Clooney) or how silly hippies can be when accepted into the military. This silliness might include: staring at clouds to dissolve them with their minds, guessing what's in boxes, or drawing a gun and shooting at a military base while on acid. (Not so silly after the events of this week.)

I can see old hippies liking Goats, and "getting" the peace message. But for the rest of us, not even "jedi" references over and over, or George Clooney doing kung-fu moves will be enough. I know, I saw. I stared. Unfortunately I got nothing to happen. (Review by Rob Angells)

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