Robert Zemeckis' newest film focuses on the true story of Mark Hogancamp, a victim of a brutal attack who uses his own doll creations as a way to cope and help himself through recovery.
Zemeckis is known best for directing the groundbreaking films; "Forrest Gump," "Cast Away" and "Back to the Future." However, with "Welcome to Marwen," his directing talents don't shine as bright as they do in those films.
The film stars Steve Carell in both live action and animation. In his live-action scenes, he's Hogancamp. In the animated scenes, he's Cap'n Hogie, a miniaturized version of himself as a World War II soldier who fights for both his own life and for the women of Marwen, the fictional town in which his doll creations are set.
Throughout the film, we see snippets of his personal life and the struggles that come with his recovery, and animated recreations of what Mark visualizes as he takes pictures of his Marwen dolls.
The concept of "Welcome to Marwen" is pretty captivating. However, if you really want to understand what Mark went through, seeing the documentary on his life would most likely be much more informative. "Welcome to Marwen" attempts to add heart and humor to this story, and unfortunately much of it falls flat. There are clear positive intentions behind this screenplay (also written by Zemeckis), but the film never seems to be what it's trying to be.
Carell delivers a great performance as always. He is one of the most ranged actors working today, from his silly, yet layered performance as Michael Scott in "The Office" to the deeply disturbed wrestling coach in "Foxcatcher." Here, he delivers just as much range and is, without a doubt, the best reason to watch "Welcome to Marwen."
Other than Carell, though, the film isn't as worth the trip to the theater as you might think. The animation sequences seem oddly out of place (although it is clear what Zemeckis is going for), the dialogue is often questionable, and we don't get to see as much of the other vital supporting characters as we think we would.
The film is an overall disappointment, which is surprising given the name of the lead actor and the reputation of the director. All that's important to know is that "Welcome to Marwen" isn't the touching, biopic it markets itself to be.
Worst scene: Mark's bizarre cup of tea with the neighbor
Weirdest scene: Gwendolyn Christie's forced Russian accent in her only live-action scene