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A Look At That Patinkin-Free, Fuller-Free DEAD LIKE ME DVD!!

I am – Hercules!!
“Kelvington,” who regularly kicks in reviews of “Doctor Who” episodes as soon as they air on the BBC, here reviews the direct-to-DVD movie “Dead Like Me: Life After Death,” hitting shelves Feb. 17. Two important things. The great Mandy Patinkin does not reprise his role as top reaper Rube Sofer. More damningly, “Dead Like Me” creator Bryan Fuller (“Wonderfalls,” “Pushing Daisies”) was foolishly not invited to participate in the project. Still, good to see the always enjoyable Ellen Muth getting a little work! “Kelvington” suggests the movie is not as good as the series, but still worth picking up:
First I was a HUGE fan of the original series, “Dead Like Me”. It was well written, well done and most of all intelligent. The TV Movie does well to try and follow in the footsteps of the series. But it does fall a tad short. While I by no means hated this adaptation of the show. It just didn’t feel the same. Here are a few reasons why, some spoilers contained within. The dead don’t age, they stay frozen in time, but since the show started several years ago, when Ellen Muth was several years younger, she has aged. They did a nice job trying to down play it, but she got older, nothing can be done about that. However, her voice matured, or fell victim to some heavy smoking and got a little raspy. That could have easily been fixed in post. Did you see the Dark Knight? They can do things with voices. The movie begins with a comic book style explanation was very well done and fit right in with the feel of the old show. However, the loss of Rube the leader of the reapers played by Mandy Patinkin was probably a loss they couldn’t afford. I don’t know if he didn’t want to come back to the part, or they didn’t want to offer it to him. Either way, the film suffers a bit from him not being there. After a short recap of things past, and how death works, we see George, played by Ellen Muth reap a soul and send it off to it’s lights. After that we meet the new boss played by Henry Ian Cusick, you know Des from “Lost”. And when I first saw him, I said, “Hey, it’s Desmond from Lost”. Even though this casting was a bit off he fit into the role nicely. We also see the new Daisy, played by Sarah Wynter, you might remember her from “24”. She did a great job filling the gap left by Laura Harris who was not available to reprise the role. Fortunately, we got both Jasmine Guy and Callum Blue to come back to play Roxy and Mason, which helped the film a immensely. The film could easily have been called “Dead Like Me – Reapers Gone Wild”, because we get to see what happens when the reapers break the rules, and yes even Roxy breaks the number one rule. She keeps someone alive. It’s been a while since I saw the very first “Dead Like Me”, but I clearly remember what Rube said about keeping someone past their expiration date. When George didn’t want to reap a little girl, and said she would have eighty more years left, Rube told her that’s eighty years she wouldn’t want, that souls rot and decay if left in the body. We get to see what happens when the reapers figure out that apparently there are no consequences for reaps gone wrong. George spends a great deal of the movie trying to figure out why she can’t reap a soul, while Daisy will actually break a leg to get back into acting, even if it’s not her own. The acting is top notch, Ellen seems to play the role in a much more thoughtful way, and it really shows. I had forgotten how much I loved this character and Muth’s portrayal of her. Jasmine Guy, hits everything so perfectly you never think for a moment she’s been doing anything but playing Roxy everyday since the series ended. We see that the reapers haven’t changed much in the past five years and that things are pretty much normal, except their new boss is more hi-tech than Rube, and uses Trio’s instead of post-it notes. I’m sure 3M was sorry to see the loss of that endorsement deal, but what are you going to do. Finally, the tone of the movie is very different than the tone of the series, while the series had a more light touch, the movie is much more dark in feeling and it’s one of it’s few faults. I think what made the series really work was the feel, the “Wonder Falls” meets death. It isn’t until late in the film do we get a sense of the old series. And while this is not as magical as “Pushing Daisies” it is still worth renting or buying, and it really pisses me off that Showtime ever canceled this show. I hope to see many more “Dead Like Me” movies. Just my 2¢

The Watchmen Film Companion!!

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