Saturday, September 02, 2006

The wicker man - why?

The trailers for The wicker man, a new remake of the 1973 British classic, looked promising.

I've never seen the original, so I'm completely out of my depth making comparisons, but I think I can say with some confidence that the 1973 version was better than this pile of incoherent codswallop. There are worse films than this remake for sure, but it must be hard to take a reasonable actor like Nicholas Cage, put him in a solid, sinister storyline and come up with a movie as dull and disjointed as this. I think I was meant to be scared, but only the usual horroresque slow, building strings playing in the background in every other scene could put me slightly on edge. Pavlov's syndrome, maybe?

The obvious question is whether this remake was necessary at all. From what I hear, the original is pretty good - I added it to my LoveFilm list as soon as I got back from the cinema. I suppose that's a plus point for the new film - it's at least entertaining enough to show that the basic premises could make for a good story in the right hands. It's just already been done.

If they wanted to make a glossy colour film, Americanised and all Hollywooded up to whet modern appetites, then my first instinct is to say think of something original. I'm not sure, however, that I can shout that out and mean it, because there are some old films that I think should be made new for a fresh audience (and me) to enjoy. I'd dearly dearly love to see a new version of To kill a mockingbird, great as the original is. Why? Because the film missed so many important things out of the book that I want an even better one that does it justice.

My conclusion must therefore be: remakes are fine if they're an improvement on the original (and I would generally count an equally good version in colour as an improvement, with all apologies to those who would disagree), but pretty pointless if they're worse.

The wicker man is very pointless.


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