Ghost Rider Mark Steven Johnson

Ghost Rider Mark Steven Johnson
Directed by the same schmuck who helmed that disastrous Daredevil crap, Ghost Rider should have been a bomb. It isn’t. While it may not be in the same league as breakout superhero flicks like the first two instalments of Spider-man and X-Men, or even Batman Begins or Superman Returns, Ghost Rider is still one of the better translations of a Marvel character to the big screen. Director Mark Steven Johnson maintains the spirit of the comic but takes a bit of liberty with his story about a stunt motorcyclist (Nicholas Cage) who sells his soul to the devil Mephistopheles and becomes a flaming fury of vengeance in the process. The effects are mostly good, which is important for creating a believable biker demon with a flaming skull for a head. And as pointed out in both commentaries (one by Johnson and visual FX supervisor Kevin Mack, the other by producer Gary Foster), a lot of computer effects are seamlessly used throughout. Gary Foster’s commentary also discusses the compromises made in order to create a commercial movie that would satisfy the studio, the producers, the director and star Cage, the latter having invested a lot into this movie about one of his favourite comic book characters. Especially important was the addition of humour and a love story into what would otherwise have been a very dark genre film, something all involved wanted to avoid. Despite a few cheesy moments of drama, Ghost Rider is a fun, funny, action-packed movie that actually deserves a sequel (unlike, say, Fantastic Four). A lot of its success rides on the star-studded cast, especially Cage, who contributed many great improv moments, along with Eva Mendes (as the love interest), Peter Fonda (as Mephistopheles), Wes Bentley (as the antagonist, Blackheart) and Sam Elliott (as Caretaker, a character that was originally based on Sam Elliott). The two-disc extended cut DVD outdoes the theatrical version by adding an additional ten minutes of character development to Johnny Blaze (with corresponding commentary), an additional "making of” documentary, for a total of three, animatics and an interesting breakdown of the four decades of Ghost Rider. Bring on the sequel! (Sony)