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'Skulls' is full of hot air
Natalie Maxwell
Staff Writer

From The Gator Times,
April 5 - April 11, 2000

The WB's Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek) and Leslie Bibb (Popular) star in this action-packed drama about a townie who joins a secret society at his Ivy League school.

Luke McNamara, played by Jackson, just wants to fit in. He has overcome his delinquent childhood to become a stellar athlete and all-around successful ivy-leaguer.

However, he still lacks the money and connections to get into law school. Then he is invited to join the Skulls, a secret society that has the power to make all of his dreams come true. He soon finds out that the all-knowing and far-reaching society will do anything to protect its members and the secrecy of its existence, even murder.

The film also stars Paul Walker whose recent films include Varsity Blues and She's All That. Walker plays Caleb Mandrake, a sniveling, whining rich kid whose power hungry father, played by Craig T. Nelson, always gets him out of trouble. Mandrake becomes McNamara's new best friend and "soul mate" during their initiation into the Skulls.

The Skulls is just like every other story about a poor kid in a rich school. Once the townie is admitted into the elite society, he forgets what is really important. He mistakenly believes that wealth and access to the powers granted to the elite will make life easier and less complicated.

It takes the suspicious death of his roommate to make him question what he has gotten involved in. After which he returns to his real friends, including Chloe (played by Bibb), to help him uncover the truth about the Skulls.

There are several scenes in this movie that do not make sense. The most puzzling of which occurs during the first part of the initiation sequence. After swallowing a mysterious beverage, the initiates awake inside of coffins as part of their rebirth as Skulls.

The problem with this scene is the initiates open their coffins excited and refreshed, as if they've just rolled out of bed. That should have been McNamara's first sign that something was terribly wrong with these people.. I wouldn't trust anyone who put me in a coffin while I was still breathing.

The film has a great start but everything begins to unravel toward the end. The plot jumps all over the place, creating mass confusion and the writing turns the drama into a laughfest. Recently, there have been a number of films with weak beginnings, that have been redeemed because of strong endings. However, if you start off strong you must deliver a strong finish, and this film fails to do that.

Last updated
March 15, 2001
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