Dean Koontz is one of the best selling authors of all time, and the seventh best selling American author ever with a staggering 450 million copies of his books sold. This puts him in the company of other internationally known American writers such as R. L. Stine, Dr. Seuss, Danielle Steele, Horatio Alger, and Harold Robbins. His work has even been discussed on Midnyte Reader in the past. However, Koontz hasn’t had the same success as his fellow bestsellers when it comes to film adaptations of his work. During his career, Koontz has had 15 authorized film adaptations of his work, the most recent being the trouble-plagued Odd Thomas.
What sets Odd Thomas apart from the other adaptations of Koontz work is two things: its high expectations and its cataclysmic post production failure. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the troubles surrounding the film, the long story short is that the producers weren’t given the $35 million they were promised by the film's financiers to promote, market, and distribute the film. Because of this, the producers filed a lawsuit against the financiers, and the film’s distribution was stopped dead in its tracks. The film has only recently been released in the U.S. through an exclusive deal with which allows DirecTV subscribers to watch the film on demand or via streaming services (here’s info for DirecTV New York). Unfortunately for those of us without DirecTV, we’ll have to wait until it is released on video in a few months.
This comes as a disappointment for fans of the Odd Thomas series, as the legal fighting and limited distribution make it likely that the film will be forgotten quickly. The Odd Thomas series is a cornerstone in the work of Koontz and a film adaptation could have likely lead to a series of films covering all six books in the series, ala The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series. This prospect however, is now only known as what could have been.
The post production issues led to problems with the quality of the film as well. The finely crafted characters and plotline of Odd Thomas are somewhat sold short in their film versions, no doubt due to a rushed and lackluster editing job. The film’s star, Anton Yelchin (of Charlie Bartlett fame) shows promise in his adorably quirky take on the troubled young man. However, director Stephen Sommers falls short when it comes to his interpretation of the paranormal themes in the book. What should come off as eerie and haunting instead becomes too aggressive in its attempt to scare.
Critisisms aside, the film itself does a relatively good job following the plotline of the book, with some storylines cut short due to the time limits of films. As previously mentioned, Yelchin's Odd is the star of the picture in multiple ways, even aside from his natural on screen charisma. His character is also the most filled out in the series, while the other main characters like Stormy (Addison Timlin) and Chief Porter (Willem Dafoe) aren't nearly as developed. The film accomplishes its goal of conveying the story it needs to within its time limits, and gives fans a generally satisfying adaptation. I'd say for the Odd Thomas fans it's a worthwhile film to catch. Is it going to make the list of best films of the year? Likely not, but it's entertaining and offers just enough action to keep viewers interested.
Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, culture, and lifestyle blogger. He lives and works in Chicago. When not working he can be found camped out in his apartment watching the latest films and newest television shows.