Thursday, August 17, 2006

Remakes and Hollywood

Is there nothing sacred in La-La Land? Do Hollywood producers sit down and consciously decide which film to seriously screw-up in a remake? There has been a glut of seriously shite remakes such as The Italian Job, Get Carter, Alfie and so on. The originals were so much better!

The latest film to get the "makeover" is The Wicker Man. I saw the advertisement on a side of a bus as I walking to the train station and I despaired. I had heard about the remake originally they were going to cast Brad Pitt in the Edward Woodward part as Sergeant Howie (C'mon, Brad Pitt acting as a virgin copper just does not work).

Instead they plumped for Nicolas Cage, he of the wide eyed twitchy rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights actor (and who says nepotism doesn't work!) who gets to play the Sheriff (story shifted to the States) who investigates the disappearance of a girl in a mysterious neo-pagan community. There is no Lord Summerisle originally played by Christopher Lee. Instead the Summerisle character is played by a woman. I wonder if there'll be a busty barmaid played in best Britt Ekland tradition (voice dubbed and body double for the naked scenes... Poor Britt still feels annoyed to this day!).

I watched the trailer today on the Internet Movie Database and well it didn't offer up much. It just doesn't have the same chilling and scary feel that the original had. I am sure Anthony Shaffer would be turning in grave if he saw what they have done to his original script! I just can't see Cage topping the excellent performance by Edward Woodward as the sexually repressed copper. And why has the Summerisle character been transformed into a woman?

The original nearly never saw the light of day as the producers weren't sure what to do with it as they didn't like it (the uncut version was "lost" in some vaults) and the King of B-Movie Horror, Roger Corman saw it's potential rescued it and got it shown in cinemas in the States where it got a cult following. Somehow the remake aint gonna get cult status!

The film is directed and also scripted by Neil LaBute. He is one uneven director as he has made excellent films like In the Company of Men, which explored the connection between misogyny and corporate capitalism, to unfortunately some lame stuff. And I am not hopeful that Wicker Man is gonna win plaudits for him.

Why oh why do they do this? Will the climax have the same powerful impact as the original? I am doubtful. Why don't they show the original uncut version (Channel 4 televised it a couple years ago and I spent my New Years Eve watching it.....drinking tea) in the cinemas instead of remaking a substandard version?

Oh and finally, Edward Woodward was offered a cameo role unfortunately he declined the offer though said he was "impressed by the quality of the script".

Btw: it is up for release on the 31 August 2006.