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Thread: WICKER MAN, 2006. One of the great WTF remakes!

  1. #1

    WICKER MAN, 2006. One of the great WTF remakes!

    With the release this summer of MIDSOMMAR, a riff (if not outright remake) on 1973's classic THE WICKER MAN, I figured it was time to subject myself to the derided official remake* from 2006 with Nicolas Cage.
    Some credit must be given to Writer-Director Neil LaBute in trying to update the story and setting it in the U.S. Northwest (on an island off of Washington state). But, the tale he comes up with becomes so cock-eyed, that it's no wonder it's been considered an unintended comedy right from its release date (of course, LaBute and Cage have taken to saying the humor was intentional all along!).
    The film's strange arc can be shown through the performance of Cage himself. Playing a sheriff who, like Edward Woodward in the original, is summoned to an island to investigate the disappearance of a little girl, Cage's early scenes are done in a fairly straight-forward manner. But, as the script gets more and more obtuse, Cage slips into his maniacal overacting mugging that has typified his perfomances over the past couple of decades (to the cruel pleasure of many - the more unhinged, the better for some). There is no question that some of this is intentional. At some point Cage certainly must have sensed that this Wicker was never going to become a beloved straight version of the pagan tale. And, not even Laurence Olivier or Max Von Sydow could be convincing in a ridiculous bear outfit running around the country-side and punching women in the face!! Ellen Burstyn comes off a bit better (it's helpful that she's not even in the first half of the film), and, playing dual roles, Molly Parker manages to keep her dignity despite the foolishness around her. Kate Beahan is such a blank as Cage's ex that one can't tell if her vapidness is intentional or not.
    I was never a big fan of Neil LaBute's work with such pictures as IN THE COMPANY OF MEN and YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS (they always came off as straining to be 'controversial'), but, even so, this WICKER remake is a pretty shocking fall from grace (other than 2010's DEATH AT A FUNERAL (another remake!) his work has been largely ignored since). The superfluous epilogue was the final nail in this coffin (removed apparently in the Director's Cut). Angelo Bandalementi's score and Paul Sarossy's Cinematography (lensed in Canada) are solid.
    Seeing this 2006 edition in the wake of MIDSOMMAR (not to mention Hardy's final cut in 2013), one can't help but notice that Ari Aster took almost as much from this remake as he did from the original: The matriarchy, the festival maiden and the bear suit (!) in particular (also notable, Aster insists that his version, too, is largely intentionally humorous and that it's not a bad thing that some audiences were laughing at his "vision").


    * The official designation came over the protest of original Director Robin Hardy who wished to be distanced as far as possible (he is credited at the end as the original Director of the '73 version). The original's co-star, Christopher Lee, also voiced strenuous objection. Original writer Anthony Schaffer had passed, so he was given full credit upfront for his screenplay.

    * SPOILER Question: What the hell do the flashbacks to the car crash mean!??
    Last edited by JoeS; 09-06-2019 at 04:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    NOT THE BEES!!!!!

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