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Posts tagged “remakes

Children of the Corn 2009

franchisebannerHonestly, this series was ripe for a reboot. The sequels had been wondering aimlessly, and this thing needed a remake the kind of shake stuff up. I’m far more tolerant of remakes when the source was originally a book anyhow – we’re just seeing a new take on that original source material.

It starts off well enough, with a good looking font – some nice production values, and the quite frankly brilliant sound of children singing “bringing in the sheaves” under the tent of a revival meeting.  It sets the tone and lets us know right away that we are back into rural, vaguely religious horror.

It’s bad news though when we are five minutes into the movie and I find myself really hating our ingénue. She’s a spoiled snob (or brat. I really can’t decide which is the more accurate adjective) and the bickering between her and her husband immediately sets my nerves on edge. However when the car hits a child coming out of the cornfield, I can see we’re sticking close to the original but updating it with modern brutality. The blood has been laid on far more heavily in this movie then what we seen in a long while. Malachi in particular manages to be even more terrifying here then he was in the original film – and that’s no small feat… Isaac’s right-hand man was always the creepiest of our corn children.

Much to my surprise, I find myself digging this. It feels so much less like the direct video director that dimension insisted on turning out for so many years, and more like the fundamental remake that we saw in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The horror is natural, with outsiders intruding into the corn children’s community – it doesn’t feel forced the way the previous sequel or two did. It doesn’t feel like we’re trying to shoehorn the corn children into our modern day era. The ominous messages written on every wall and floor in the church, scribbled on buildings and in the town – they come off as eerie rather than contrived. The setting of 1975 – almost 10 years earlier than the original film, adds to the isolated atmosphere. It’s a low tech time where vanished communities could still haunt us more effectively. It’s more than just competent filming and effective framing – there is a care in the production of this film that is lacking from most of the other sequels.

It’s not the eerie slow burn the original was. This is more brash with a greater action edge than strictly horror influence. It moves at a rapid pace – and this ends up being to it’s benefit. I never got bored, I never got distracted – I couldn’t believe how quickly this film passed the time. The first of these films since the original to have a running time over 90 minutes (though it does have a good five or six minutes of credits so it’s actually more like 88 minutes) and that worried me – but I felt like this one flew by quicker than any of the others.

I really like this one. I was actually surprised when I looked up on IMDb and saw such scathing reviews of it – and I have to wonder how much of that is playing from nostalgia for the first film. To me this is the literary adaption – I don’t hate Christopher Lees Dracula just because I happen to enjoy Bela Lugosi’s. I shake my head at the people who scream in outrage that this is the worst atrocity ever committed to celluloid – these folks obviously haven’t seen any of the other entries in the series. This is a highpoint for me, and a refreshing renewal, contrasted with the sharp decline that we got in the fifth and sixth instalment of the series. I can see myself watching this one again and again – possibly even more often than the original.

Of course, there is still one more to go… And when I see that dimension extreme logo – i’m filled with trepidation.


Annie 2014

remakesannieWell, it bombed as expected, but did it HAVE  to bomb? We can point out that the general public wasn’t thrilled about the race change, but I think things go far deeper than that.

Annie just doesn’t work for me unless it’s a period piece. In the 40’s a millionaire adopting an orphan for a week is idiosyncratic. In 2014 it’s creepy. In the 40’s a horrible orphanage is a result of the war. In 2014 it’s an indictment of Social Services. The magic of going to the movies is lost, it’s too common now, but in the 40’s movies were new and there was no TV. It was truly something special. Today, we can watch TV on our phones -somethign I  noticed the ophans had….

I don’t mind portraying Annie as more hyper, a cute ADHD case. Bushier hair works – it takes the character and stretches the caricature. But..it’s not red. Red is such an important theme in this play/flim, from the wardrobe to the logo itself. Red does not work with this actresses complexion.

The source material is a Newspaper comic strip. I WANT my broad generalizations! I want Punjab and the Asp! I also want the negative stereotype of the white male included! Mr. Warbucks works much better than “Stacks”.

At the end of the day, I have to ask; will people be talking about this film in ten years? Will it be as iconic as the ’82 version with Aileen Quinn (also not a redhead, but they had the sense to stick a wig on her), Albert Finney, Carol Burnett and Tim Curry?

Could this  have been done better? Certainly. Indeed, I prefer the small screen adaptions  to this, and think that certain aspects could have worked. In 2014 you could ramp up the fish out of water aspect, the misfit feelings and the hyperactive cutie angle, but without it being a little redheaded girl in the 40’s the context just doesn’t click. Those aspects are essential,  and  untill Hollywood understandsthat race-swapping tends to water down rather than uplift we’ll keep seeing these kind of missteps, and more’s the pity