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Extraordinary Measures

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 24-03-2010

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Product Description
Parents seek out a reclusive researcher to find a cure.Amazon.com
Imagine Harrison Ford as a rogue scientist exploring not ancient artifacts of lost arks, but biochemical research to help cure rare diseases. In Extraordinary Measures, Ford manages to keep some of that wry rebellious Indiana Jones energy as he plays Dr. Robert Stonehill, a fringe researcher whose findings just might help keep alive the two children of John Crowley, played with heart and sob… More >>

Extraordinary Measures

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Comments (5)

This movie motivated me to write my first review.

I read on ‘Rottentomatoes’ that Extraordinary Measures “never feels like more than a made-for-TV tearjerker.” Don’t believe it! I am convinced that critics who do critiquing for a living often lose their senses of wonder, along with their senses of humor. After hundreds to thousands of movie viewings, they no longer see the story that makes the acting come alive. They only judge the acting (and that, superficially), and my guess is that most go into the theater with preconceived ideas based on trailers and their personal attitudes toward the actors in the film under review.

So with that out of the way, I will concentrate on the movie which I saw last night.

John & Aileen Crowley and their children, John Jr., Megan and Patrick, are the real stars of this movie. Which tells me that the actors who portrayed them did their job well.

As usual in his serious roles, Brendan Fraser brought to the screen the intensity and humanity and reality of John Crowley’s decision/quest/obsession for a medical miracle for his children. Brendan is unique. He has been wise in not being stereotyped. As far as I can see, he has much more to bring to life cinematically. His humor is one of his greatest attributes.

Keri Russell is relatable as Aileen. In this condensed version of this part of Aileen’s life, I think Keri allowed us to see into Aileen’s emotions and her relationships with her children as well as with John.

The children were played by Meredith Droeger as Megan and Diego Velazquez as Patrick. I was entranced by both children. They were believable and amazing in their mature ability to play children with Pompe challenges, while still showing how the disease does not identify their individuality. I believe both Meredith and Diego have a great future ahead of them regardless of their paths in life.

Sam M. Hall is a delightful young man who, I feel sure, played big brother John Jr. very much as he is – supportive, loving and responsible. His own challenges came through often with Sam’s expressions and responses to difficult situations.

And, of course, what can you say about Harrison Ford that has not already been said. I watched his interview with Charlie Rose, and he said then that his character, Dr. Stonehill, was a compilation of several doctors the Crowleys worked with. His characterization of the medical research personality was probably not all that far from truth. But he naturally gives his signature personality to the contrary doctor. (I have known some egos like his in the medical field.) In short, he was wonderful. And I truly appreciate his dedication to getting this story to film (along with anyone else involved).

See this film if you have a heart for children. See it if you like any of these actors. (And watch for Dee Wallace. Short but oh so sweet!)
Rating: 5 / 5

EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES

STARRING: Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, Keri Russell, Meredith Droeger, Diego Velazquez, Sam Hall, Jared Harris, Patrick Bauchau, Alan Ruck and Dee Wallace

WRITTEN BY: Robert Nelson Jacobs; based on the book by Geeta Anand

DIRECTED BY: Tom Vaughan

Rated: PG

Genre: Drama

Release Date: 22 January 2010

Review Date: 21 February 2010

I won’t even pretend to know the facts about Pompe disease. But what I do know is movies. And I take very much pleasure in squashing the opinions that Extraordinary Measures is a bad film and a cheesy film and that it belongs on a day-time old lady channel like Lifetime, rather than in mainstream theaters across our beautiful nation. It was fantastic.

Brendan Fraser stars as John Crowley, a father desperate to save his two children who are dying from the horrible disease. When he hears of a doctor who’s been working on a cure, he attempts to call on him for help. After a very well written scene of him trying to get the hermit of a doctor on the phone, he flies to his hometown in Nebraska for a chance meeting of face to face.

Dr. Robert Stonehill is played by Harrison Ford. He’s a man with the letters D and R in front of his name but rather than the victims, it’s the scientific structure of the disease he finds a fascination in.

Fraser’s character John is supported by his loving wife Aileen (Keri Russell). The film has received some slack in regards to their relationship being two dimensional, but I can clear that up right now with two little words: It’s not. The scene they share early on, when they are interrupted by the babysitter, was more than enough to shed light on their relationship. The film doesn’t dwell on their relationship, because that’s not its focus. The focus is on the disease and their children dying from it.

John sees something in Stonehill regardless of his eccentric behavior and often cold personality. He works relentlessly to get him on his side and eventually it pays off. The two team-up and set forth to find a cure for this God-awful disease.

Fraser and Ford may seem like an odd match, but what they do on film together is amazing. Fraser, who is primarily known for his funnier roles, is a very talented actor. He’s never overpowered by the pressure of sharing a scene with Ford and both of them deliver in every scene.

One of the things that make the film so enjoyable other than the great performances is its ability to make us cry and seconds later have us laughing out loud. This was a continuing factor throughout the film, and it’s not an easy one to pull off. Extraordinary Measures could easily be the most underrated film of 2009. Don’t miss it.
Rating: 5 / 5

Sure, there are tear-jerker moments in this movie, but it is a true story and I give very high marks to the script writer that condensed a much more complicated history into a very smooth movie.

Every single person in this movie is a star down to the kids and especially the young lady playing the oldest child with the disease, and shame on the sponsors of this movie for not giving Keri Russell more credit–she added class and grace and femininity with a touch of family love and sex that was much needed, or this would have been a fat guy and an angry guy taking on the money vultures.

Super movie, take the negative reviews with a huge grain of salt or even better, ignore them.
Rating: 5 / 5

Since watching “Awakening” and the story of introducing Dopa in the treatment of Parkinsonism, in the late 1980’s, “Extraordinary Measures” presents the huge progress made in the biochemistry of the 21st century. In Awakening, Dopa was a simple drug that when ingested reaches the brain and stimulates the dopamine receptors, which reduce muscle rigidity in Parkinsonism. Extraordinary Measures covers the gigantic leaps made in genetics. Pompe disease, one of many genetic enzymatic disorders, involves the missing of an enzyme in the pathway of breaking down stored carbohydrates. The accumulated carbohydrates cause multiple organ failure by the age of 9 years.

In contrast to the mechanism of action of Dopa in Parkinsonism, the treatment of Pompe’s disease requires finding a tagged molecule that could be identified by the diseased organ and that could trigger signals to the DNA of the diseased cells, activating the production of the missing enzyme. In the movie, the experimental drug appeared to act as a direct enzyme that acts immediately as it reaches its target cell. Had it been a DNA activator, it would requires a day or so to show action. The movie presents the dilemma of administering direct enzymes rather than DNA stimulators. A wrong enzyme could turn lethal by targeting the wrong sugar.

Reviving a complex scientific endeavor on the big screen of every mall and movie theatre transforms cinema into a folklore university. The movie conforms to the highest possible standards of telling a true story of human triumph over genetic disorder. Aside from the pathetic, eccentric personality of Harrison Ford’s Dr. Stonehill, every other actor sounded as real as it gets.

The movie covered the effort of designing, manufacturing, testing, and licensing a potential drug in great details. Even though tagging an enzyme with a protein marker, that enhances its concentration in some tissues more than others, sounds like a simple idea, the movie discussed the technical difficulties of making the intervening enzymes controlling the absorption and metabolization of the drug as it reaches its target cells in the heart and breaks down the excessively accumulated sugar. Even if the science could alter the biochemical defect that underlies Pompe’s disease, the movie went further to deal with process of clinical trial and the regulations that safeguard against endangering the lives of those who must consume the drug.

The humanitarian side of fighting a devastating genetic disorder was also covered neatly in the movie. The real victims of the disease must energize the endeavor of finding cure. The scientific institutions must seek revenues through whatever popular, such as sports. Scientific advances are low priorities for those institutions that struggle to get generate revenues. As such scientists fall in the bottom of payroll scale as their investigation requires many decades of hard work in order to return profit. The community also played a great role in advancing the research once the word got out educating people with the need to find cure.

The inconvenience of playing rough and eccentric by Harrison Ford acting as schizoid scientist was the only glitch in the movie as it made the acting unreal. In this movie, Ford appeared more congested and eccentric than his role in the Fugitive. The rest of the actors were new faces to me, which made their acting feel more real than Ford’s acting.

Rating: 5 / 5

“Extraordinary Measures” is an inspiring movie. It is based upon the true story of the Crowley family and their struggle with Pompe disease. I rate this movie superior because the tale is vital, the action gripping, and the movie is well acted.

“Extraordinary Measures” presents John Crowley (Brendan Fraser), his wife Aileen (Keri Russell) and their children, John Jr. (Sam M. Hall), Megan (Meredith Droeger) and Patrick (Diego Velazquez). Both Megan and Patrick Crowley have Pompe disease and are not expected to live past their eighth or ninth birthday. John and Aileen decide that prognosis is unacceptable and become determined to find a cure.

The Crowleys learn that professor Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) at the University of Nebraska Is close to finding a treatment for Pompe. They solicit Stonehill’s help and form a company dedicated to discovering a cure for this terrible disease.

As I watched the science progress, I began to understand the difficulty of performing biochemical research and the near impossibility of taking a new drug to market. The challenges of financing and the difficulty of getting FDA approval became clear. The dialogue seemed real and the science understandable. The script writers for this film produced a scientifically clear script.

Harrison Ford plays a biochemist who is technically superior, but unable to communicate without creating stress. This is a very different part for Harrison Ford but he presents a believable, old codger academic who struggles with interpersonal communication.

Brendan Fraser is outstanding as a sensitive, persistent John Crowley who gently pushes for solutions. Keri Russell appears a concerned mother desperate to save her children. Meredith Droeger and Diego Velazquez are wonderful as the Pompe plagued children. Unlike many child actors, these two talented youngsters appear natural and convincing in their roles.

This movie tells a good human interest story with excellent characters and a realistic plot. I highly recommend “Extraordinary Measures”.

Rating: 5 / 5

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