Paycheck, The Movie

Paycheck is the latest Philip K. Dick story to be turned into movie. While the short story this film is based on is quite good, the film version, just based on the trailed and the synopsis, doesn’t lead me to believe that Paycheck will be another Minority Report in terms of quality.

Why? Well, first of, the following 7 words should never be used together: “Ben Affleck is a brilliant computer engineer”. Riiiiight. All I think of when I see Affleck’s name is that duck from the Aflack commericals. “Affleck!”. Secondly, the movie is directed by John Woo. Ok, this means an action movie. The short story isn’t about action, although there is some. Since its Philip Dick, its about reality and our perceptions of it. I won’t go in to detail so as not to spoil the plot.

Third, and finally, the whole movie premise is based on Affleck being a super “reverse engineer” guy. Again, riiiight. We’re supposed to believe that there is a person (or persons) who are so gifted that they can reverse engineer just about anything. Why would you want to reverse engineer anything mechanical or electrical? Its not like a new product is going to be using some unknown law of physics that needs to be figured out. Reverse engineer really only comes in to play when dealing with more intellectual property. Software, firmware, etc. Compaq didn’t reverse engineer the IBM PC. They didn’t have to. The fundamentals of computer design are well known. What Compaq did reverse engineer was the BIOS that allowed the software to run on a PC. The rest is history. I guess I’m saying the premise pretty much ruins the story for me and the attempt to make it an action/adventure type movie doesn’t appeal to me either.

I could be wrong. They could turn this into a really good movie. But then again, we’re not talking Spielberg here.

5 thoughts on “Paycheck, The Movie”

  1. I hope to read Payfleck…I mean, Paycheck soon. Sometimes, especially with movies based on short stories, I try to read the book before seeing the movie. With varying results.

    When I heard Dune was being made into a miniseries on the scifi channel, I wanted a Dune refresher. I had first read it (and enjoyed it immensely) years before. On the re-read, I thought the book didn’t quite hold up. I’m not suer if it was because I knew what was going to happen (is the book all plot and empty of writing style?), or because this time all the internal dialogues annoyed me (doesn’t anyone on Arrakis talk?). At any rate, I found the miniseries to be kind of dull, although I remember likung the visuals. Coincidentally, I found the book sequels (at least the next 3) very dull as well. I am not planning on bothering with the last 2 books in the series (or the prequels).

    Recently, I read Dreamcatcher by Stephen King when I knew the movie was due. The book, I thought, was mediocre (3/5) due to being a bit longwinded. Afterwards, I had absolutely no desire to see the movie.

    Another case: Before watching A.I., I read Brian Aldiss’ Supertoys Last All Summer Long, the short story on which it was based. I Liked the story. I also enjoyed the movie. I know, I know…most people I know did not like it. I’m not sure why I enjoyed it so much. I guess the “wanting to be a real boy” aspect of the story just stuck with me during the movie and seemed to work.

    Yet another case: I read the novella The Bicentennial Man about a year or two before the Robin Williams movie. I would give the story 5/5 (I remember it having this fairy tale-like feel to it) while I would give the movie 4/5 or so. Again, the movie evoked the feeling I felt when reading the story, so it seemed to work for me. I did think there were a few too “cutesy” moments in it, though. And the whole (it’s Robin Williams so let’s make it funny!” parts felt forced. But overall, an enjoyable flick.

    That might be a fun geek-group project…to prepare for some upcoming movie by reading the short story or book, then ploan a trip to see the movie.

  2. Well, we’ll see. Paycheck the short story is not an action, shoot-em up. John Woo is known for that and the trailers look that way. I’m not expecting much.

  3. this is a great movie like the minority report. i just appreciate the directors the staffs also and of course the casts… keep up the good mork john woo. God bless!!

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