Tuesday, July 08, 2008
(Image from Amazon)
I've fallen behind on these reviews, so this is going to be brief.
I've praised writer Stephen Moffat before several times on this blog, and was thrilled to hear that he was working with Spielberg and Jackson on Tintin. So it's quite disappointing to find that his mini-series 'Jekyll', based on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story, is not upto the standard I was expecting. It's overlong and drags badly, feels repetitive and has some lame twists and turns, is populated by poorly written characters, and features some rather lame comedy beats. In fact, the supporting characters are almost uniformly unappealing, especially the lame lesbian detective team and the villains. The story isn't bad, being a sort of modern day 'continuation' of Stephenson's classic book, but there's such an insistence on Americanizing things with cheesy covert agencies and evil 'Americans' with terrible accents. It just tries too hard. To be fair, it's not all the fault of the writing, as some of the blame must go to the too flashy direction, cheap visuals, and average performances. And the soundtrack is just horrendous; I rarely feel this way but I was wishing there was a way to simply turn off the music, particularly the grating main theme!
The show isn't bad, however - it has a secret weapon, one that elevates it to watchable. That weapon is James Nesbitt, who is simply brilliant as both Dr. Jackman and the villainous Hyde. His transformation is so incredible that it's hard to believe it's the same man! While his portrayal of the good Doctor is great - desperate, tired, but full of resolve - it's his turn as the insanely maniacal and charismatic Hyde that thrills. Superb stuff, a performance that makes you forget the show's weaknesses. Ultimately however his work is simply not enough to elevate 'Jekyll' to anything above decent, but without it I can't imagine I'd have sat through more than an episode. As it stands, I wouldn't say it's worth watching - in fact, the critical love this has received beggars belief - but perhaps it's worth checking out the first episode, just to see Nesbitt in action!