Though the likes of Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres and Mario Gomez all played a crucial role in the 2012 World Cup, the real star of the tournament had six extra legs and didn’t once kick a football: His name was Paul The Psychic Octopus.
Predicting all eight matches correctly against everyone’s suspicions, Paul became an international superstar that graced every newspaper and TV across the globe. Now, he’s the subject at the core of Alexandre O. Phillippe’s latest release titled The Life And Times Of Paul The Psychic Octopus, a documentary that recounts his unexpected rise of fame and the hilarious phenomenon that followed.
Having similarly explored the theme of fandom in The People Vs. George Lucas, his bittersweet ode to the love-hate relationship that obsessive Star Wars fans have towards its director, this sophomore effort from the director promises plenty of whimsical charm in its opening moments. Phillippe allows us a glimpse into the bizarre idolization that succeeded his predictions, giving the audience access into the job of Paul’s agent, the media frenzy and, in the most amusing instance, the bookies to whom the eight-legged oracle was a sworn enemy.
However, the joke wears thin very quickly as The Life And Times Of Paul The Psychic Octopus simply doesn’t have the wealth of material or history to make it entertaining for more than 20 minutes. Phillippe, clearly recognizing this issue, decides to stretch the story as far as he can, including a lengthy history about the greek mythology of the oracle and the philosophical complications that seeing into the future can create. Neither of which are necessary in what is intended to be a whimsical film about a funny octopus.
It may have made an amusing short film about the nature of modern celebrity culture, but at a full 90-minute length The Life And Times Of Paul The Psychic Octopus is too much of too little.