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Along Came A Spider
review by Ren C.
Running Time: 103 minutes
Starring Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter
Screenplay by Marc Moss
Based on the novel by James Patterson
Directed by Lee Tamahori
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Featurette, Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital
English 5.1, French Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions,
English Subtitles, Scene Selection
Released: September 25th, 2001
Alex Cross is back and this time he's...well, he's doing
a lot of the same things that he did in "Kiss The Girls".
In one sentence, that is the fundamental problem with "Along
Came A Spider". The movie isn't actively bad, it just
suffers from an overall sense of sameness. Not just to it's
predecessor, but also to other movies in the
The movie centers on the kidnapping of a senator's
daughter from a very affluent school that specializes in the
children of diplomats and politicians. The kidnapper, Gary
Soneji, a teacher who has been plotting the crime for years,
has a strange fixation on the Charles Lindbergh case. This
case came to be known as "the crime of the century" and
Soneji wants to not only recreate it, but top it. The
question is, how does he plan to do it?
Soneji, almost immediately after the kidnapping, gets in
touch with Detective Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman), who has
been in mourning for his partner, who was lost in a job gone
wrong. Cross immediately is thrust into the case when he
finds the kidnapped girl's shoe in his mailbox. This brings
him into contact with the FBI, as well as the Secret Service
agent assigned to the case, Jezzie Flannigan (Monica
Potter), who was largely responsible for the girl being
Cross and Flannigan now have to work together to uncover
the clues that will lead them to Soneji...and hopefully to
the senator's daughter before it is too late.
While the plot may sound easy to follow, it actually has
a number of very unusual twists and turns. These lead to
another of my major problems with the movie, namely, that
many of the solutions seem too convenient. There are
several scenes in the movie where a problem that should take
days or weeks of movie time to solve is solved in minutes.
Also, in addition to "Kiss the Girls", there are scenes
within the movie that seem strangely reminiscent of "The
Fugitive" and "Die Hard: With a Vengeance".
There is a fairly small ensemble cast that is focused on
throughout the movie, and each actor does a very good job
with their role, especially the always-excellent Dylan
Baker. One of the best aspects of Alex Cross' character is
the relatively short amount of time that we see him on
screen. The screenwriters and director rightly realized
that Cross is not the main focus of the story, and reflect
Overall, despite all the faults that I have found with
it, this is actually a very good suspense movie, as I found
myself startled in some fairly unusual places. It may be
unfair to compare it to "Kiss the Girls", but as with any
sequel, that is the risk that the creative team takes. In
this case, the movie makes a valiant effort but falls
slightly short, both as a sequel, and in terms of a
As with any recent release, I have a higher standard for
grading the transfer. Paramount has not disappointed me.
Quite frankly, I couldn't find anything wrong here. There
was absolutely no grain evident on the anamorphic transfer.
Black levels were very deep and rich, and colors bright and
vibrant. Even sky and water scenes, where many movies show
multiple flaws, were crisp and clear. Overall, this is a
very impressive transfer, almost to the point of reference
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix also holds up very well.
Dialogue is distributed well in situations where characters
are far apart, with little dropout. Sounds are crisp and
clear, and ambient sounds are never overwhelming. Bass is
also well used, as while this is not an intensely
action-driven movie, those scenes that are action-driven
benefit greatly from bass. Also included is a Dolby Digital
2.0 Surround track, along with a French 2.0 track.
Out of all the major studios, Paramount still lags far
behind in terms of features on both new and catalog
releases. The extent of the features here are a twelve
minute "making-of" Featurette that plays like an
extended trailer, and the actual Theatrical Trailer.
The featurette uses maybe one of the twelve minutes for
behind-the-scenes footage, with the rest devoted to on-set
interviews and movie footage. Anything else here would have
been greatly appreciated.
The movie will never go down as a classic, but is
definitely good for entertainment value. The video and
audio are first-rate, but the features are deplorable,
especially for a title that did relatively well at the box
office. Also, considering this is a Paramount release, the
price is a little steep at thirty dollars. Because of this,
I'm giving this a recommendation to rent first.
(3/5 - NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)