Apparently I’m a comic book geek anomaly or I’m way too forgiving in my tastes of comic book-to-bigscreen movie adaptations. A lot of the films that comic book fans horribly flame end up being some of my favorites. There’s Batman and Robin (it’s just plain fun), The Punisher: Warzone, Tom Jane’s The Punisher (definitely one of the most underrated comic book movies), the Fantastic Four movies, and I’m sure there’s some more I forgot. I am most definitely going to be adding Jonah Hex to that list.
Jonah Hex was getting tread upon before the movie was even done filming. I don’t remember why and quite frankly couldn’t care less. I just remember all the fanboy and movie news websites reporting negative crap about it almost from the start of production. After seeing the film, I really don’t know why. One of the issues I believe had to do with supernatural elements being put in the film. I heard one person state that Jonah Hex never had any supernatural elements in the comic book and basically that it was just a western. Well, that’s just not true. Vertigo published three miniseries that were horror-based between 1993 and 1999 which featured Hex battling zombies and a Cthulhoid monster. Also, the movie doesn’t really stick to canon as far as the character’s origins. Maybe I didn’t put up a wall of defense to the flick because I had never really read the comics. If so, I’m happy for that because I found it very entertaining. One of Hex’s recurring nemesis in the comic, Quentin Turnbull, is the main villain in the film adaptation. His friend Jeb Turnbull also shows up.
Jonah Hex is one of those fun movies that I deem “short and sweet.” It doesn’t rattle around with a bunch of padding to fill time and keeps from getting too bogged down in trying to make itself overly intelligent. Just like the character the movie is based on, it just comes out firing. The film gets off to a pretty quick start and aside from some quick character introductions and plot explanations just moves forward full steam. It is 82 minutes long and that’s all it needs to be to get the job done.
As far as the feel of the Jonah Hex goes, I believe director Jimmy Hayward did a great job of hitting the nail on the head. It feels like a western and there’s just the right amount of supernatural flair added to it as to not overdue it. The sets, the costumes, the actors – everything is dusty and grimy the way they should be in a western.
Josh Brolin does an awesome job at portraying Jonah Hex. He’s got the southern drawl and eye-twitch down pat. John Malkovich as Quentin Turnbull is just as ruthless, calmly nuts, and sadistic as he always is. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but even Megan Fox did a good job in her role as Tallulah Black / Lilah. Comic book movie mainstay Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes an appearance as the dead but revived Jeb Turnbull. Aidan Quinn does a good job with what little role he is given as Ulysses S. Grant. The only actor that sticks out as being a little miscast is Will Arnett as a Union soldier. He looks like he’s trying to keep a straight face through the entire film. I have to give him props for trying to do something besides comedy, but I’m not sure this role really worked for him.
Let’s talk about the music. Metal band Mastodon did the only music in the film that actually stood out in my mind. I usually can’t stand period piece films with rock music as the soundtrack. Somehow, the whole concept is pulled off with flying colors in Jonah Hex. Mastodon has put together just the right mix of sludgy doom metal that sounds down-trodden like the character it’s scoring and creates an atmosphere with some abstract twangy-sounding country and western riffs. They have succeeded where so many other period pieces with rock soundtracks have failed.
I will admit that at times the plot of Jonah Hex seems like it’s starting to move into the dangerous area of Will Smith’s Wild Wild West, but it never fully let’s go of reality that much to ruin the film. It still ends up being a fun revenge western tale with just the right ingredients of the supernatural element. Who doesn’t like watching a man give the villain what he deserves for his wrong-doings?
Jonah Hex comes in two different single disc formats. It comes in a regular DVD format and Blu-ray. The press release claims it comes in a Blu-ray Combo pack as well, but I don’t see it anywhere on Amazon. The regular DVD only has additional scenes for special features. They are definitely nothing to write home about. Mainly just alternate sequences and such. The technical specifications for the regular DVD are AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC Format; English Language; English, French, and Spanish Subtitles; and 1.77:1 Aspect Ratio. The Blu-ray version has the Deleted scenes plus more special features like The Inside Story of Jonah Hex and The Weird Western Tales of Jonah Hex. The technical specifications for the Blu-ray are AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC Format; English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), and Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1) Languages; English, French, and Spanish Subtitles; and 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio.
You can get the Blu-ray here.
You can get the regular DVD here.