So today we’re kicking off our look back over the career of Leonardo DiCaprio by starting with his debut big screen outing in Critters 3. Off the bat, I’m sure that most readers will safely assume that this is not a great movie and you’re spot on.
The movie is essentially a cheap and nasty immitation of some of the Spielberg’s most beloved and best works of the 70’s and 80’s. There are shades of Close Encounters, E.T., and most obviously, the Spielberg produced Gremlins. Unlike some of those classics however the script is shoddy, with no stand out characters. These characters also don’t carry and convey the dread and horror of what is really happening—it’s all just one big cartoon with no one really deasling with the fact that their step-father or friend has just been eaten alive. It feels like one big cartoon. There is no effort in the story telling or the film-making, although I must admit, the critters them selves are quite cool, if ridiculous.
It’s kind of freaky seeing Leo at age 14/15. Many of his expressions and mannerisms are still there which make it more clear when looking at his later films which are really ‘Leo’s mannerisms’ as oppossed to the individual character he is portraying. Hearing little Leo say ‘horse shit’ exactly the way he does in Titanic, with the same expression on his face is something you have to see for yourself.
If I’m honest, DiCaprio is the only reason I got through this film. There are films that are a lot worse than this, I can think of many, and it’s not that DiCaprio is particularly amazing at all, it’s just that he is the only familiar face and the only one that your eye is really drawn to.
He has nothing really to work with from a performance stand point and as previously mentioned, the script does him absolutely no favours. Two things are quite clear to me from this first film though:-
1) You can see the potential all over young Leo in his convicing dialogue for the most part as well as his screen presence.
2) Down the line, Leo is going to be known as someone who carefully picks what films he does , often for it’s dramatic potential, but it’s clear as day here that this was just his first opportunity to get into a real movie and he took it. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. He had to start somewhere and get more recognition. It’s just a very clear observation.
Check out the trailer below