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WICKER MAN remake opens - reviews and comments

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WICKER MAN remake opens - reviews and comments

Old 09-02-06, 08:05 AM
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WICKER MAN remake opens - reviews and comments

We had clues .... dumping the release to late summer .... not holding screening for critics ...

From NY Times 9-02-06

" ... The deeper question is just what Mr. LaBute, with his reputation as an intellectual provocateur, was doing when he set out to update one of the most enduringly creepy horror films ever made. The original, written by Anthony Schaffer and directed by Robin Hardy, imagined a remote island off the west coast of Scotland where a sinister form of pagan nature worship -- involving quite a bit of outdoor nudity -- had survived on the far fringe of modernity. Christopher Lee ran the place back then. Now Ellen Burstyn is in charge.
A movie like this can survive an absurd premise but not incompetent execution. And Mr. LaBute, never much of an artist with the camera, proves almost comically inept as a horror-movie technician. He can't even manage an effective false scare, or sustain suspense for more than a beat or two. Nor does the crude, sloppy look of the film turn into cheesy, campy excess. It's neither haunting nor amusing; just boring."


From NY Daily News 9-02-06:

" ... hilariously awful remake ....LaBute's movie attempts to shock and it does: it is shockingly bad."

Has anyone seen this?
Old 09-02-06, 10:37 AM
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I, unfortunately, have. The "comically inept" and "hilariously awful" comments are spot on. This is legitimately the kind of movie Snakes On a Plane wanted to be.

The high point is, of course, what the Wicker Man was missing all along: karate kicks!
Old 09-02-06, 10:38 AM
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My girlfriend and I got to see it free in a special screening Thursday night...

...let's just say I'm glad it was free.

Spoiler:
It was dreadful. The first half of the movie seemed plausible; man suffers psychological trauma, gets weird letter, goes off to help his ex who he obviously still loves and cares for. So, you get attached to his character development as such.

However, the 2nd half just seems to fall apart. Cage's character starts to fall further apart every minute, bursting out in loud tirades and nonsensical body language that employs apathy rather than sympathy.

The last 20 minutes had the audience muttering laughter, especially during the scenes where he's beating up the women and the ending scenes where you realize he's not making it out of there/the women start the process all over again.

It seemed like the director had a good thing going and gave up half way through.

I give it eleventeen thumbs down and worthy of a thorough MST3K beating.
Old 09-02-06, 10:55 AM
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I didn't think it was awful, and it played very much like a PG-13 version of the original. The last 20 minutes or so, until the "ending," played very much like original. I'm not sure how I felt about the changes that were made, and I feel that more time could have been spent "explaining" their beliefs. However, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. This is coming form soeone who cherishes the original, and thought this was an awful idea from the start.
Old 09-03-06, 09:55 PM
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I had no expectations it would be as good as the original.They changed a lot of the story and a great deal of what they changed makes no sense. It might be worth seeing just for the curiosity factor if you are a huge fan of the original. If you owned copies of both movies on DVD you would never watch the remake. I'm going to have to watch the original again sometime soon to cleanse my palette.
Old 09-03-06, 10:54 PM
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It was horrible.

I've had this vague nagging feeling that Nic Cage is just plain not that good of an actor, and this movie confirmed that 100%. This movie was NEVER suspenseful, the plot was chaotic, and they managed to make something that could have easily been very creepy and made it almost benign.

Spoiler:
However, for comedy value alone, it was all worth it for Cage's awkward jog in the bear suit. All 15 or so people in the theater were laughing loudly.
Old 09-04-06, 07:16 AM
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Worst movie of the year nominee?
Old 09-05-06, 09:39 AM
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so.... ??

Spoiler:
Cage's Edward Malus dies at the end, right?
Old 09-05-06, 09:52 AM
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Spoiler:
Yes, the ending is fairly faithful to the original
but the "six months later..." epilogue is horrendous and ruins any effect the previous scene may have had.
Old 09-05-06, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Panda Phil
Worst movie of the year nominee?
It's certainly in the running for me, but it's not nearly as bad as The Omen or V for Vendetta.

The level of unintended comedy was by far the most I've seen this year. The bear suit did it in for me, I almost had to leave the theater I was laughing so hard. Nic Cage riding a bike all over the island was pretty funny too, but the whole thing made absolutely no sense. I watched the whole thing and at gunpoint I still could not give an explanation that would save my life. I have zero idea what connection the bees and the honey had to anything else in the movie, if anybody could explain that I would appreciate it.
Old 09-05-06, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Bus
Spoiler:
Yes, the ending is fairly faithful to the original
but the "six months later..." epilogue is horrendous and ruins any effect the previous scene may have had.

Can you explain the epilogue via spoiler tags? Thanks!
Old 09-05-06, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bravesmg
It's certainly in the running for me, but it's not nearly as bad as...V for Vendetta.
Ah, and we so wanted to take you seriously, too...
Old 09-05-06, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Filmmaker
Ah, and we so wanted to take you seriously, too...
Old 09-05-06, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by JumpCutz
Can you explain the epilogue via spoiler tags? Thanks!
Spoiler:
Movie fades out after Cage is burned alive in the Wicker Man:

Six months later...

Two guys (James Franco and someone I didn't recognize) are readying to leave a bar when they spot a pair of attractive girls (Leelee Sobieski and another girl from the island). Thinking they might get some action, the guys sit down at the table and introduce themselves. Small talk commences, an offer to get more drinks, and IIRC, the camera zooms in on an evil (read: goofy) glint in Leelee's eye and blinks to a blank screen with one of Cage's amusingly awkward lines and/or screams playing over it. Oh nos! These two fine young gents are dooooomed! Roll credits.


Such a mundane, generic thing to tack on.
Old 09-05-06, 11:52 PM
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I like to believe LaBute (while I'm not a big fan of his) just made this horrible studio remake on purpose just to mock the studios continuous lame choices of remakes and sequels.

Last edited by cfloyd3; 09-05-06 at 11:55 PM.
Old 09-05-06, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cfloyd3
I like to believe LaBute just made this horrible studio remake on purpose just to mock the studios continuous lame choices of remakes and sequels.
What is his excuse for Your Friends & Neighbors, Nurse Betty, Possession, and The Shape of Things?
Old 09-06-06, 12:00 AM
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The theater I saw this in was actually packed with young teens who probably have no clue this was even a remake, nor would they enjoy the first one. When it was over I heard nothing but people trashing how stupid this movie was. I'm a pretty big fan of the original so I was a little disappointed as well.

Two comments ....

Spoiler:

From the moment Nic Cage started his angry tirade, before the festival, this movie took a steep step toward pure comedy.

my legs!!!! my legs!!!! "breaks twigs"
Old 09-06-06, 12:03 AM
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I wasn't exactly calling him a genius as I would agree The Shape of Things and Nurse Betty were quite lame but I did like Your Friends & Neighbors and In The Company of Men enough to not call him a complete hack. I don't know how he could pull off a film this bad without putting effort into making it that way.
Old 09-06-06, 12:28 AM
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'In the Company of Men' is one of my favorite films. Aaron Eckhart and Stacy Edwards are fantastic in this.
Old 09-06-06, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JumpCutz
'In the Company of Men' is one of my favorite films. Aaron Eckhart and Stacy Edwards are fantastic in this.
I also liked it a lot, and that's why I'm so disappointed with LaBute now--especially after watching The Shape of Things last year. I hated that movie. I think Eckhart is great... looking forward to seeing Thank You for Smoking soon.
Old 09-06-06, 03:29 PM
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I consider myself a film fan but to be honest i never even heard of the original wicker man until the remake surfaced. I think 90 percent of today's audience for films never heard of the original. If nothing elese the remake has made me curious to see the original film.
Old 09-06-06, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Filmmaker
Ah, and we so wanted to take you seriously, too...
I knew that would incur some comments, but I still stand by how much I was insulted by V.

Wicker Man wasn't insulting, it was just somewhat hilarious and made absolutely no sense. Still looking for some spoiler tagged help with the bees and the honey...
Old 09-06-06, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Bus
Spoiler:
Movie fades out after Cage is burned alive in the Wicker Man:

Six months later...

Two guys (James Franco and someone I didn't recognize) are readying to leave a bar when they spot a pair of attractive girls (Leelee Sobieski and another girl from the island). Thinking they might get some action, the guys sit down at the table and introduce themselves. Small talk commences, an offer to get more drinks, and IIRC, the camera zooms in on an evil (read: goofy) glint in Leelee's eye and blinks to a blank screen with one of Cage's amusingly awkward lines and/or screams playing over it. Oh nos! These two fine young gents are dooooomed! Roll credits.


Such a mundane, generic thing to tack on.
The other
Spoiler:
future victim of The Wicker Man
is Jason Ritter.

Here's my review off IMDb. If you're registered and want to agree or disagree, be my guest:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450345/usercomments-91

Some Horror Remakes Work, Some Don't. "Wicker Man" Collapses Into The Latter Category

Let's face it: Remakes of classic movies are comparable to treading on thin ice. Remakes of classic horror movies are considered worse, especially when the original was excellent. There are few examples of horror remakes that manage to shine brighter than the originals (The Fly and The Thing); remakes that are nowhere near as good as the originals, but still manage to work (House of Wax, The Omen and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre); and the remakes that sully both the original and all involved in the remake (Van Sant's Psycho, Carrie and The Fog). Unfortunately, playwright Neil LaBute's redo of the cult classic The Wicker Man (which I am a fan of) falls (very hard, I might add) into the third category.

The plot remains the same as the original, except for a few minor changes: police officer Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) is summoned to the honey-collecting colony of Summersisle by a former lover of his, Willow (Kate Beahan). It seems her daughter, Rowan (Erika-Shaye Gair), has disappeared without a trace, and Edward is the only one who can find her. The townspeople all women (Frances Conroy, Leelee Sobieski, Molly Parker, and Diane Delano, among countless others), sans a few men who help around the colony are all unhelpful, some claiming that the girl does not exist while others say that she has died. The search leads Edward to Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn), the leader of the island, who also happens to be the head priestess of the Pagan religion that dominates the whole island, and a terrible realization: every year, a sacrifice is given to the Sun Gods through something known only as "the Wicker Man" in exchange for healthy crops and delivery of honey. And it seems Rowan has been picked as this year's sacrifice...

When the preview first aired in June (around the same time the remake of The Omen was released, coincidentally), it was evident that LaBute's Wicker Man would be nothing like Robin Hardy's 1973 classic, which can best be described as "a sex-filled Pagan musical." Gone are the ongoing musical numbers, nubile young women parading around flames in the nude, hares, Christopher Lee in drag, and a dubbed Britt Ekland seducing Edward Woodward's pious Sgt. Howie through the walls of her room while she sings, dances, and caresses her nude form, replaced with a dull Nicolas Cage, who will most likely be up for a Razzie nomination (and possible win) next February (which is especially sad, considering how perfect he was last month in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center) who gets a laugh every time he beats up a woman (and believe me, he does this quite a few times), an opening that has nothing to do with the story itself (as well as an unneeded epilogue that, God help us, leaves the door open for a James Franco-headed sequel), an uninspired score by Angelo Badalamenti, and a complete reworking of the townspeople and the idea of good vs. evil, which is the biggest mistake the movie makes. LaBute, famed for his unapologetic misogyny (his debut film, In the Company of Men, being a perfect example), has changed it from a township of men and women sacrificing a pious virgin (but let's be honest: who, in their right mind, would buy Nicolas Cage as a virgin?) to better their crops to an island of droning, feminine-worshiping butchers who only use men to procreate and toss them away (well, burn them away) like yesterday's garbage. Original Wicker Man scribe Anthony Shaffer must be rolling in his grave over this.

However, for all the wrongs of The Wicker Man, there is one element that makes up for most of them: Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream) as Sister Summersisle. While she is no Christopher Lee, Burstyn commands the screen with her revered presence and manages to salvage the last half-hour of the movie, which is when the plot actually starts to heat up (no pun intended).

"Welcome, Mr. Malus. You have come of your own free will to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man." This short line of dialog uttered by Ms. Burstyn is nothing more than a reminder of an appointment I slightly regret to have made. But I will not attempt to dissuade you, the reader, from viewing The Wicker Man. If you want to see it to see how the American movie studio has converted a British classic or for Ellen Burstyn and the ending (which remains faithful to the original in almost every detail, except without Edward screaming for Jesus and the townspeople rejoicing and singing as the Wicker Man burns), be my guest. I am just offering a notice of caution and recommendation towards other movies in theaters within the genre. Or, better yet, just go to Blockbuster or Netflix and rent the original Wicker Man.

C-
Old 01-12-07, 06:53 PM
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Hate to bump an old thread, but this video puts the "best" scenes from the 2006 version of the Wicker Man and rolls it up into one of the funniest compilations I've seen in a long time.
Old 01-12-07, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Simpson Purist
Hate to bump an old thread, but this video puts the "best" scenes from the 2006 version of the Wicker Man and rolls it up into one of the funniest compilations I've seen in a long time.
I saw that a few days ago, and it got a good laugh out of me. It reminded me of the Walker Texas Rangers clips from Conan O'Brien.

HOW DID IT BURN! HOW DID IT BURN! HOW DID IT BURN!

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