Paul (film)

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Paul
Paul poster.jpg
UK release poster
Directed by Greg Mottola
Produced by
Written by
Starring
Music by David Arnold
Cinematography Lawrence Sher
Edited by Chris Dickens
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • 14 February 2011 (2011-02-14) (United Kingdom)
  • 18 March 2011 (2011-03-18) (United States)
Running time
  • 104 minutes
  • 110 minutes (unrated version)
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1][2]
Box office $98 million[3]

Paul is a 2011 British-American comic science fiction road comedy film directed by Greg Mottola and written by and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, with Seth Rogen as the voice of the title character. The film is about two British science fiction fans who meet an extraterrestrial being with a sarcastic manner and an appetite for alcohol and cigarettes. They help the alien to escape the Secret Service agents who are pursuing him so that he can return to his home planet.

The film contains numerous references to other science fiction films, especially those of Steven Spielberg, as well as to general science fiction fandom. Critical reaction to the film was generally positive.

Plot[edit]

Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are British comic book enthusiasts and best friends who travel to the United States to attend the annual San Diego Comic-Con International, and to take a road trip to visit the sites of UFO sightings. They meet two rednecks at a restaurant who torment Graeme. As they leave, they accidentally hit the rednecks' truck with their vehicle. Later that night, they see lights behind them. They assume that the rednecks are following them, but it's a car that passes them and then crashes. Investigating the damaged car, they discover a grey alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), who is in desperate need of help. Despite his shock, Graeme agrees to give Paul a ride. Clive faints at the sight of Paul, and later is not pleased with Graeme's decision.

United States Secret Service Agent Zoil arrives at the car crash site and informs his unseen female superior, "the Big Guy", that he is closing in on Paul. She sends two inept rookies, Haggard and O'Reilly, to assist Zoil.

Graeme, Clive and Paul camp at an RV park run by Christian fundamentalists Ruth Buggs and her father, Moses. Around their camp grill, Paul reveals that during his captivity he had been advising the government in scientific and sociological matters. Paul outlived his usefulness and his captors planned to surgically harvest his stem cells to harness his invisibility and healing powers. With the help of a "friend" inside Area 51, Paul sent an SOS to his home planet and waited for rescue.

The next morning, Paul intentionally reveals himself to Ruth during a theological argument, and Graeme and Clive are forced to kidnap her. Moses, believing Paul to be a demon, grabs his shotgun and chases them in his truck. Paul shatters Ruth's faith by sharing his knowledge of the universe via a telepathic link. Ruth overcomes her horror and becomes eager to commit all the sins she was raised to abhor. She does not trust Paul at first, until he heals her blind eye.

The fugitives stop at a bar and Ruth tries to call Moses, but Zoil intercepts the call and she is accosted by the rednecks. Escaping, she warns Graeme and Clive, but the rednecks catch them and a fight starts. Moses arrives and sees Ruth's healed eye. Too stunned to react, he allows the group to escape in their rented RV. The rednecks close in, but Paul appears outside the RV and the astonished rednecks drive away. The next day, the fugitives reach a busy small town where it becomes difficult to keep Paul hidden. Paul and Clive visit a comic book store, where Paul is forced to pose as a statue to avoid detection.

Ruth is questioned by Agent Zoil, but claims to know nothing about "a one-eyed girl" or "two British nerds". Released, she and Graeme retrieve Clive and Paul, who narrowly escape O'Reilly. Frustrated, Zoil orders Haggard and O'Reilly to return to base, but they insist on catching the alien themselves. Moses is also still in pursuit.

Paul reveals his intention to meet Tara Walton, a girl who saved his life after his initial crash landing in 1947, now an old woman. Walton's dog, Paul, was killed in the crash, and the alien took the dog's name as his own. Having spent her life as an object of ridicule for her belief in Paul, Tara is grateful to see him alive. As she makes tea for her visitors, Haggard, O'Reilly and Zoil surround the house. The fugitives flee, but O'Reilly shoots at them, igniting gas from Tara's stove and destroying her house. O'Reilly is apparently killed in the explosion. Zoil pursues, but Haggard runs Moses off the road and catches up to the RV. Due to an error in judgement, Haggard drives off a cliff and is killed. Zoil reassures the Big Guy that he will have Paul within the hour, but she is tired of waiting and informs Zoil that she has ordered a "military response".

Paul, Graeme, Clive, Ruth and Tara arrive at Devils Tower National Monument, where they set off fireworks as a signal to any watching aliens. Orange lights glow over the surrounding trees, suggesting the arrival of Paul's rescue ship. However, it's the Big Guy arriving by Army helicopter. As her troops prepare to shoot Paul, Zoil arrives and reveals that he has been on Paul's side all along. Zoil disarms the soldiers, but is shot in the shoulder by the Big Guy. The Big Guy threatens Ruth, but Tara subdues her. Moses appears and attempts to shoot Paul, but Graeme intervenes and is shot. Paul heals him and then collapses, but quickly recovers; Moses exclaims that this is a miracle from God. The Big Guy regains consciousness but is crushed to death by the alien ship as it lands. Paul invites Tara to come with him. He bids farewell to his new friends, and hopes to see them again.

Two years later, Graeme, Clive, Ruth, and O'Reilly (who survived the explosion) are at another Comic-Con where Graeme and Clive are promoting Paul, their best-selling "novel".

Cast[edit]

Seth Rogen provides the voice and motion capture work for Paul.

In an interview for the DVD release of Paul, Pegg and Frost said they made the film to demonstrate their love for Steven Spielberg's films Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, as well as their favorite science fiction films.[8] After they mentioned the project to Spielberg, he suggested he might make a cameo appearance, and a scene was added to include him as a voice on a speakerphone in 1980 discussing ideas with Paul for his soon to become box office hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.[9][10] According to Robert Kirkman, he, along with Invincible co-creator Cory Walker and current Invincible artist Ryan Ottley, had a cameo in the film as The Big Guy's henchmen.[11]

Production[edit]

The premise for Paul came from Pegg and Frost in 2003, while they were filming Shaun of the Dead.[1]

To help with the script, Pegg and Frost went on their own road trip across America and used ideas from it to add to the script.[12]

According to Mottola, the film was given the green-light shortly before the late-2000s recession; if it had been delayed, "they probably wouldn’t have made the movie."[1] The budget for the film was around $40 million.[1]

Principal photography, including 50 days in the New Mexico desert,[1] wrapped on 9 September 2009,[13] with additional scenes filmed in July 2010 at the Albuquerque Convention Center, which was designed to look like the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con.[14]

During filming, Joe Lo Truglio was a stand-in for the character Paul, the only character who was created by CGI. Seth Rogen did some motion capture in pre-production and voice work during post-production.[15]

The cover art for the fictional comic book Encounter Briefs was drawn by alternative comics artist Daniel Clowes.[16]

Release[edit]

A teaser trailer was released on 18 October 2010.[17]

The film had its world premiere in London on 7 February 2011.[18]

Reception[edit]

The film has received generally positive reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 71% approval rating with an average rating of 6.3/10 based on 196 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "It doesn't measure up to Pegg and Frost's best work, but Paul is an amiably entertaining -- albeit uneven -- road trip comedy with an intergalactic twist."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[20]

Empire rated the film "excellent" (four stars out of five) stating, "Broader and more accessible than either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, Paul is pure Pegg and Frost – clever, cheeky and very, very funny. You'll never look at E.T. in the same way again."[21] SFX also gives the film four stars out of five, saying "the film veers dangerously close to alienating (no pun intended) all but its geek core audience, [though] the more obvious concessions to a mainstream crowd [are] never enough to derail the film's laugh-a-minute ride"; SFX also calls it a "triumph of visual effects, convincing characterisation and bad taste humour."[22]

Peter Bradshaw gave the film two stars out of five and called it a "goofy, amiable piece of silliness" exhibiting "self-indulgence" and possessing a "distinct shortage of real gags".[23] On the same scale Nigel Andrews gave the film only one star, calling it a "faltering extraterrestrial knockabout".[18] The Independent grades the film two stars out of five, saying "Pegg is likeable as usual, Frost more doltish than usual, and Kristen Wiig an appealing convert from Bible thumper to ladette", and notes that "from time to time, clever ideas rear their heads – like the idea that 'Paul' has been the brains behind all science fiction and UFO initiatives for the last 30 years, including Close Encounters and The X-Files – but they soon return to the film's default setting of laddish japes and a conviction that the word 'cocksucker' will always get a laugh."[24] Common Sense Media gave the film three stars and an iffy rating for ages 16–17. Saying "Cheerfully dumb sci-fi comedy has sex, drug humor."[25]

IGN provided Paul with three reviews. The first gave the film three stars, stating, "Simon Pegg and Nick Frost send up everything from Star Wars to E.T. in this sci-fi comedy... As with Pegg and Frost's previous films together, it's derivative stuff, the plot similar to countless sci-fi flicks of the past; paying homage to the good and gently ribbing the bad."[26] Less excited was their review for the British Blu-ray version, which said, "But unlike previous Pegg and Frost collaborations – Shaun of the Dead and Hot FuzzPaul does not generously reward repeat viewing. That's not to say it's a bad film at all; it has a strong central premise, which carries much of the film, loveable central characters, the odd neat idea (it turns out that Paul inspired all major works of SF post-1950, from Close Encounters to The X-Files, and has a direct line to Steven Spielberg), and a couple of genuine laughs, but it never feels more than a rough sketch of a bigger, much funnier movie."[27] In a second review for the American Blu-ray version, IGN compared the movie with Galaxy Quest and wrote that it is "richly layered with clever homage, a refreshingly original alien hero, delightfully entertaining characters and great performances from our leads and their supporting players."[28]

Upon its U.S. release, Roger Ebert gave Paul a mixed review of two and a half stars out of four, saying it's a "movie that teeters on the edge of being really pretty good and loses its way. I'm not sure quite what goes wrong, but you can see that it might have gone right."[29] According to Manohla Dargis, "As genial, foolish and demographically engineered as it sounds (hailing all fan boys and girls), Paul is at once a buddy flick and a classic American road movie of self- (and other) discovery, interspersed with buckets of expletives and some startling (especially for a big-studio release) pokes at Christian fundamentalism....The movie has its attractions, notably Mr. Pegg and Mr. Frost (and of course Mr. Bateman), whose ductile, (noncomputer) animated and open faces were made for comedy....Paul proves the weak link. One problem is that Mr. Rogen, however comically inclined, has become overexposed, and there’s just something too familiar and predictable about this voice coming out of that body. Yet while Paul seems great conceptually, he’s not particularly interesting or surprising, despite a funny recap of what he’s been doing on his time on Earth. With his vibe and vocabulary, shorts and weed, juvenilia and sentimentality, Paul turns out to be not much different from a lot of guys who have wreaked comedy havoc on American screens lately, even if this one only wants to beam up, not knock up."[30]

Box office[edit]

The film has grossed $97,984,015. In North America, Paul opened in March 2011 with $13,043,310.[31] The film closed after 63 days in theaters, grossing $37,412,945.[3]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on 13 June 2011 and was released in North America on 9 August 2011. There are three versions of the film.[28]

The DVD release features an audio commentary with director Greg Mottola, stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Hader, and producer Nira Park; 2 featurettes; "Simon's Silly Faces"; photo galleries; storyboards and posters; and a blooper reel. The US Blu-ray release features all the DVD supplements with nine more featurettes and a digital copy.[32]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2011 National Movie Award Best Comedy Won
2012 Annie Award Character Animation in a Live Action Production Michael Hull
David Lowry
Nominated
2012 Visual Effects Society Award Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture Nominated

Soundtrack[edit]

Paul: Music From The Original Motion Picture was released on 21 February 2011 by Universal Music.[33] It intersperses David Arnold's score with the rock songs appearing in the film.

All songs written and composed by David Arnold, except as noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "Paul Opening Title"     David Arnold 1:56
2. "Another Girl, Another Planet" (from The Only Ones, 1978) Peter Perrett The Only Ones 3:00
3. "Road Trip Number 1"     David Arnold 0:57
4. "Just the Two of Us"   Withers, Ralph MacDonald, William Salter Bill Withers and Grover Washington, Jr. 3:57
5. "Passport"     David Arnold 1:18
6. "Road Trip Number 2"     David Arnold 1:34
7. "Flying Saucers Rock 'N' Roll" (single, 1957) Harold Ray Scott Billy Lee Riley 2:02
8. "Window Shopping"     David Arnold 0:51
9. "Hello It's Me" (from Something/Anything?, 1972) Rundgren Todd Rundgren 4:20
10. "End of the Road Trip"     David Arnold 1:38
11. "Dancing in the Moonlight" (from Dancing In The Moonlight, 1973) Sherman Kelly King Harvest 2:56
12. "Campfire Confession"     David Arnold 1:24
13. "Got to Give It Up" (from Live at the London Palladium, 1977) Gaye Marvin Gaye 6:01
14. "A Little Talk with Paul"     David Arnold 1:21
15. "I Chase the Devil" (from War Ina Babylon, 1976) Lee Perry, Romeo Max Romeo 3:22
16. "Chase"     David Arnold 1:18
17. "Cantina Band"   John Williams Syd Masters & The Swing Riders 3:42
18. "You Gotta Try"     David Arnold 2:51
19. "1st Contact"     David Arnold 1:17
20. "Planet Claire" (from The B-52's, 1979) Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland The B-52's 4:33
21. "Goodbye (It's a Little Awkward)"     David Arnold 4:42
22. "All Over the World" (from Xanadu, 1980) Jeff Lynne Electric Light Orchestra 4:05

Sequel[edit]

Simon Pegg has stated that he would like to film a sequel to Paul called Pauls.[34] However, Pegg says the time and expense it would take means it is unlikely to happen unless costs go down.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Kohn, Eric (March 11, 2011). "Right Man to Handle an Irreverent Alien". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (2011-03-17). "Movie Projector: Matthew McConaughey, Bradley Cooper and an alien battle for No. 1". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2011-03-17. 
  3. ^ a b http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=paul.htm
  4. ^ Fleming, Michael (2009-05-26). "Seth Rogen to voice 'Paul' for Pegg". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  5. ^ "Paul – Jason Bateman interview". Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Variety staff (2009-06-17). "Sigourney Weaver, Blythe Danner, Joe Lo Truglio". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  7. ^ "Sigourney Weaver: Paul role is dream come true". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Simon Pegg and Nick Frost hilariously help 'Paul' phone home". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  9. ^ http://entertainment.ie/pages/Paul/paul-interview.asp
  10. ^ Sweeney, Ken (February 11, 2011). "Stars invade for alien film 'Paul' – and reveal love for Spielberg". Independent. 
  11. ^ Kirkman, Robert (August 9, 2009). "Flying out tomorrow to New Mexico..". Twitter (via Echofon). Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  12. ^ Paul featurette Matt's Movie Reviews Paul trailer. Matt's Movie Reviews. 2010-10-18. 
  13. ^ Lance Bangs (September 9, 2009). Principal Photography Wraps!. What Is Paul? – The Paul Production Blogs. Retrieved 2010-07-25.  Paul – Principal Photography Wrap-up Blog on YouTube
  14. ^ George 'El Guapo' Roush (July 15, 2010). "Paul Set Visit Report. The New Simon Pegg/Nick Frost Comedy!". LatinoReview.com. Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  15. ^ "Paul – Joe Lo Truglio interview". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Cover to Daniel Clowes' Encounter Briefs #23, as Featured in Paul!". Hypergeek. 
  17. ^ "Matt's Movie Reviews Paul trailer". Matt's Movie Reviews. 2010-10-18. 
  18. ^ a b Andrews, Nigel (9 February 2011). "Film releases: February 10". Financial Times. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  19. ^ "Paul (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 04 September 2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  20. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/movie/paul
  21. ^ Hewitt, Chris. "Paul Review". Empire. Emap. 
  22. ^ Farley, Jordan (11 February 2011). "Paul – film review". SFX. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  23. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (10 February 2011). "Paul – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  24. ^ Walsh, John (11 February 2011). "Paul (15)". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  25. ^ Review on Common Sense Media
  26. ^ Tilly, Chris (March 17, 2011). "Paul Review". IGN. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  27. ^ Krupa, Daniel (June 13, 2011). "Paul Blu-ray Review". IGN. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Shaffer, R. L. (August 11, 2011). "Paul Blu-ray Review". IGN. Retrieved August 31, 2013. 
  29. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 16, 2011). "Paul". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  30. ^ Dargis, Manohla (March 17, 2011). "Calm Down, People; He Comes in Peace". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  31. ^ Weekend Box Office Results for March 18–20, 2011 – Box Office Mojo
  32. ^ "Paul – DVDActive/News". DVDActive. 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  33. ^ "Paul: Music from the Motion Picture". February 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  34. ^ http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk/podcasts/Paul-The-Movie---Pegg-and-Frost
  35. ^ Simon Pegg Says Paul Sequel Is Unlikely

External links[edit]