Extraordinary Measures – Review


He‘s saved the world before, but can Harrison Ford save this movie?

Harrison Ford and “Made for TV Movie” don’t really go hand in hand; so what do you do when Ford somehow ends up in one? Release it theatrically and hope for the best. Extraordinary Measures is one of those movies where you wonder why someone like Ford would sign on to not only star in, but be an executive producer for. It’s a film that could easily just be thrown on any network on a Sunday night and still have the same effect, yet somehow Ford felt it was a picture worth making.

The film opens with the statement “based on true events,” which is a sneaky way to let the audience know that something like this happened, yet we’ll add our own drama to spice things up a bit where we find it necessary. The problem is the film constantly falls flat, and with a movie that only works if it sparks emotion from the audience Extraordinary Measures fails extraordinarily.

It tells the story of John and Aileen Crowley (Brendan Fraser & Keri Russell), two parents who are battered down by routine due to the fact that two of their children suffer from a rare genetic disease that bounds them to a wheelchair, slowly eats away at their muscles, and enlarges their organs. In short, it’s a horrible disease that sees the life expectancy of someone who suffers from it top off at around the age of nine.

That alone is sad enough, and while the film continuously falls flat, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few instances where you do feel sad for the pain these kids suffer. The story mainly focuses around John and his constant search to find a way to help his kids. When he stumbles upon a doctor (Harrison Ford) – sadly not named Dr. Jones – who seems to be ahead of the game when it comes to finding a cure, he takes it upon himself to befriend and work with him in order to save his children.

Like any heart-wrenching tearjerker, we have our ups and downs as we learn about various medical roadblocks that come up when trying to get funding for a new drug, as well as all the hoops one must jump through before the real science can even begin to show promise outside of theories. It’s not overly complicated, and while explanations are there, they do have that Sunday-night-movie feel to them, as they’re family safe, and fairly basic. The story goes through the motions, but that’s exactly how it feels to the viewer; like you’re going through the motions with these characters waiting for the credits to role.

Fraser is a mixed bag; sometimes he’s perfect for a role like this, and other times he’s ill-suited. Measures is a film where he has his moments, but there’s just something off about his character, and sometimes he just comes across more hollow than he should. Russell is about on the same page as Fraser in her role as his wife, and both kind of act like this is something that should just head straight to TV.

That brings us to how Ford got wrapped up in the project. He’s said he’s at the point where he can choose his own projects. Fair enough: he’s one of the best in the business and has definitely earned that right. But it just makes you wonder if he thought there was more to work with than what the finished project delivered.

Extraordinary Measures is a movie where you won’t leave the theatre feeling justified at the money you put out or the time you spent watching. It’s not a bad film, and the right intentions were there. A theatrical presentation is just the wrong outlet for the message, or at least, the script wasn’t the right one to use. With no connection to the characters beyond the obvious sadness for the actual people who suffer from this disease, Extraordinary Measures ends up being nothing but ordinary.

Director: Tom Vaughan
Notable Cast: Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell
Writer(s): Robert Nelson Jacobs

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