Review: “Chaos Walking” Falls Flat

“Chaos Walking” stars Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley as two young people fighting a dystopian system. Image courtesy Lionsgate

For a movie about aliens, adventure and Tom Holland’s butt, “Chaos Walking” felt underwhelming. As no surprise to anybody, the pandemic affected every business out there. The movie industry was no different. However, “Chaos Walking” had already been postponed, even before the pandemic. 

“Chaos Walking” is based on the book trilogy of the same name by Patrick Ness. The story follows Todd Hewitt, the youngest boy in Prentisstown, a town of only men, in the New World. In the New World, all the thoughts of men are projected out loud, or the Noise. Women are not burdened with the same affliction. Hewitt meets Viola Eade, who crash landed on the New World and is the first girl Hewitt ever encounters. With aliens, enemies, and drama, a great premise for a teen dystopian story begins. However, the movie fails to live up to the standards of those who love the books. 

“Chaos Walking” stars Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley and was directed by Doug Liman, and first began filming in August 2017. The movie was originally scheduled to be released March 2019, but after horrible reviews from test screenings, the movie began reshoots. Unfortunately for the movie studio, Holland and Ridley were busy filming “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker,” so reshoots did not start until April 2019. After two months of reshoots under a new director that added another $15 million to the movie’s budget, “Chaos Walking” was scheduled to be released January 2021, but was pushed to March 2021 due to the pandemic. 

That mess of a production for the movie carried over to the movie itself. Fans of the “Chaos Walking” book trilogy will enjoy the first 20 minutes of the movie. The movie only follows the books for that long before completely changing course. The movie tries to piece together the three books into just one movie, and that is one of its main faults. The characters’ intentions are not clear, and there is not a connection made between the characters. 

Obviously, a more intimate connection is made with the characters when reading the books rather than watching the movie. The books focus on Hewitt and Eade, and how they learn more about the Noise and its origins, while the movie is heavily action-based. In the books, it is clear that Hewitt is the one being pursued in the fear that he finds out the truth, rather than Eade as the newcomer to the New World. 


“Chaos Walking” is a dystopian story out of its time. The love for dystopian movies that came from “The Hunger Games” has faded. The Noise is a metaphor for the over-consumption of social media, and how it can be a breeding ground for secrets and misogyny. 

With the movie going under-promoted and only grossing $15 million from its $100 million budget, it seems Lionsgate has accepted its losses. 


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