I remember seeing the trailer to this in theaters and not being too impressed. The concept of a kid with super powers can be done well and has been in the past. Just look at Superman. Unfortunately, this film doesn’t go all that far with the concept. If you were hoping for a thriller with the heroes trying to escape the aliens and ducking the government….well that’s not going to happen. It’s mostly just the main characters trying to get from point A to point B and not much besides that. It ended up being a bit of a boring thriller, which is never a good thing.
The film starts out with a news report that a boy has been kidnapped. We then see the main character Roy and his son Alton. The government is after Alton because he has super vision and it seems like he can intercept radio broadcasts. This is a security risk and something big is happening in 5 days (around that much time anyway) so they have to catch him ASAP. This won’t be easy though since Roy has a gun and he’s travelling with another guy named Lucas. The government may be after him, but what can they do? Not much it seems as the government looks incredibly bad the whole time. Let’s hope that the big event doesn’t spell their doom!
So what is the main problem with this film? Well, I’d say that it is the film being rather boring which is the problem. It really drags on and on and on as the characters just sit around and talk. Even as the government starts to learn about the kid, it’s not as interesting and sensational as you would hope. This is due in part to the fact that the kid’s abilities aren’t all that impressive. He can shoot blue lights out of his eyes, which is all right I suppose, but his other abilities wouldn’t even seem that odd. If he hadn’t been tapping into the government frequencies, they likely would not have even known about it.
It’s also tough for me to stay engaged in a film where a kid is one of the main characters. I dunno, they just can’t act well enough or in this kid’s case, Alton doesn’t really act like a kid should. It’s partially due to the twist of course, but he tries to sound wise beyond his years at some points. It doesn’t work since he is a normal kid at other times. He needs to pick one side and then just stick to it for a while. I didn’t care for the two adults either though. Roy panics and yells a lot. I actually figured that the other guy was the Dad for a while before they mentioned that it was Roy. I dunno, I just never got that vibe from him so it was pretty surprising. I guess Roy had no reason to be happy so it makes sense that he was downcast the whole time, but he just wasn’t likable.
As for Leon, he seemed a lot more reasonable the whole time. The fights between him and Roy did get real old real fast though as they seemed to always fight about the same exact things. It also doesn’t help that he destroyed an innocent cop who was just trying to do his job. When you consider what the actual goal was, then it’s even worse. The journey didn’t seem to matter all that much by the end as nothing was really accomplished as a result of the journey. The only difference is that we don’t have a cop anymore and the government chase is over.
One of the few supporting characters is a guy named Paul. He’s from the NSA and is doing some snooping into this case. Unfortunately, he’s in over his head with this and as he seems to be puzzled about why he is even here, Paul decides to just help Alton out. This leads to a large amount of plot hax as the kid and him slip past a few dozen armed guards at a heavily protected government installation. How did they escape? The film couldn’t be bothered to explain so we’re led to believe that shutting the lights off was enough to scare the guards and get them to scatter as Alton and Paul escape. Great….I’m not buying it though. At least the government wasn’t completely evil this time. They were fairly reasonable with how they handled the kid. Getting two random cult gunners to come and secure him though? A little iffy, but maybe they did it of their own volition. We don’t know for sure.
Since the film was a bit of a snorefest, there was one thing that could have easily saved the movie. A cool alien attack at the end. Imagine the hype if aliens had suddenly rained down on the cities and started firing at everyone. Not only would it have immediately forced the film to switch genres, but the whole situation would have gotten 20x more exciting in a single instant. That would have definitely been a blast if you ask me. After all, this film’s premise heavily implies aliens from the Get Go. A classic “He’s warning us that they’re coming!” would have been a nice thing for the film to build around instead of just focusing on the journey.
Overall, Midnight Special is easily one of the most boring films that I have ever seen, but it technically doesn’t do a whole lot of things wrong. It’s boring, but not inappropriate and I’ll always take the former. I suppose that’s enough to keep from giving it a negative score this time around. I still wouldn’t really recommend it as you’re better off watching the recent Star Trek Beyond film, but if you want to see a alien esque film without the aliens/action…then this could be your cup of tea. Just prepare for a very long car ride with lots of plot hax moments sprinkled in for good measure.