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“The Good Doctor”: Is the Bloom Off Orlando?

July 30, 2012

When is a movie star not a movie star? When his films succeed despite him, not because of him. That seems to be the case with Orlando Bloom, whose Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings trilogies earned billions of dollars. Yet hardly anyone went to see those movies because he was in them, and when he was dropped from the fourth Pirates adventure, nobody seemed to notice. Major filmmakers like Wolfgang Petersen and Ridley Scott cast him in lead roles in big-budget epics like Troy and Kingdom of Heaven, but the box-office returns were hellish. And when he tried to switch it up as a villain in last year’s awful 3D remake of Three Musketeers, he was foiled once again.

Bloom has momentarily put costume dramas behind him to star in a contemporary thriller, The Good Doctor, but the results aren’t any more successful than they were for his ill-fitting role as a suicidal shoe designer in Cameron Crowe’s dreadful Elizabethtown. Bloom sleepwalks his way through the role of Dr. Martin Blake, an ambitious resident who becomes inexplicably obsessed with Diane, an 18-year-old patient played by Riley Keough, who’s Elvis Presley’s granddaughter but bears more of a resemblance to Clueless-era Alicia Silverstone. You can skip the movie and just watch the trailer, which summarizes the plot right up until the movie’s shrug of an ending.

Keough’s performance is equally somnambulant, and the movie (which Bloom also produced and is now available on VOD in advance of its theatrical release on August 31) only shows signs of a pulse when Michael Peña appears as a disorderly orderly who blackmails Dr. Blake about his allegedly inappropriate relationship. The always-reliable J.K. Simmons turns up in the final 15 minutes as a cop, but even he can’t bring this soporific flick to a satisfying close. Meanwhile, ex-Northern Exposure doc Rob Morrow adopts a weird high-pitched voice, attempting to draw attention to himself as Bloom’s medical supervisor, but he’s guilty of acting malpractice.

Bloom sports an unfortunate hairstyle throughout the film, rendering him nearly unrecognizable, which may have been the point. The sad fact of the matter is, Teen People‘s “#1 Hottie” of October 2004 is 35 years old now and not that cute anymore. (Maybe after you’ve married a Victoria’s Secret model like Miranda Kerr, you can stop trying.) His career will get another artificial boost when Bloom reprises his role as Legolas in Peter Jackson’s planned Hobbit trilogy. But if he can’t anchor a successful film of his own soon, Hollywood casting directors may kick the Orlando Bloom hobbit.

Can you explain Orlando Bloom’s appeal? Post a comment!

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  1. Andrew permalink

    I’ve been saying this for a couple of years now. I don’t think it’s because his movies succeed in spite of him, exactly. I think it’s more that he’s a successful ensemble actor, not a successful lead actor.

    That tends to be the difference between which of his movies do well and which do poorly. Those in which he is part of a good ensemble succeed; those where he’s put out on his own to lead, don’t.

    There’s nothing to be ashamed of in that, mind you. I can think of a lot of great ensemble actors.

    John Rhys-Davies is a great ensemble actor (perhaps that’s one of the many reasons he made such a great counterpoint to Bloom in the LotR trilogy).

    Eric Bana and Danny Trejo– both great actors who seem to lean toward doing well in an ensemble cast. Vincent D’Onofrio, too.

    Heck, you want great additions to an ensemble cast, look no further than Ian McKellan or Patrick Stewart. They’re always stand-out additions to whatever ensemble they join, even when given less screen time than the “main” main characters.

    Honestly, I think the best thing everyone could do for Orlando Bloom’s career at this point (including Mr. Bloom himself) is acknowledge not all actors are made to be great leading men, but that doesn’t stop them from being great actors, and start directing his career efforts toward those roles where he’s known to shine.

  2. nicoletta permalink

    I don’t think he is a good ensemble actor. The successful movies with him in it as an ensemble actor had just great screen writings. LOTR was good because of the story, the dialogues, the acting scills of persons like Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellenJ Kate Blanchet; the music; special effects, camera. The same with the Pirates movies….the Johnny Depp and the bad guys were great. Orlando Bloom is always acting in the same way. He just look, speak, is shy …. there is no development! LOTR: luck to do good dialogues with the dwarf gimli but he had’nt to develop. Okay, he hates dwars, then he is friends with a dwarf afterwards. And between that? lots of jokes, looking feminine, but behaving like superman. Pirates: so in love with a girl but always shy …ever since the third pirate movies it was getting boring!!! Again no development.

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