Friday, September 28, 2007

The Real 'Wicker Man' ...

Last month, I watched the Nicolas Cage remake of The Wicker Man. I was not pleased.

Specifically, I asked, "What kind of M. Night Shyamalan/David Lynch-wanna be piece of crap was that?!"

But readers commented that the original film was much better than the remake so I vowed to rent the original and do a compare-and-contrast.

Um, guys? (And by "guys" I mean "humans with penises.") You liked this one because it had lots of naked girls in it, right?

Maybe it's because I saw the second version first, but these films are nearly exactly like each other. Nic's version was a pretty accurate retelling of this movie. A few details changed, but the gist is the same, including the freak-out ending.

I'll grant you that for 1973 this might have been seen as revolutionary, but I gotta think that it's much better experienced when you're high.

Having never been high, I wouldn't know for sure, but I think it's a solid guess.

Comments on Netflix reveal that this version has been cut by 20 minutes, but I'm glad for that. I couldn't have taken 20 more minutes of the inanity.

What was with the weird musical numbers? What was with all the nudity and overt sexual references? I mean, group sex on the beach? Children's toys in provocative poses on the bed?

I'm still shaking my head.



Anonymous Dave Tutin said...

I guess you had to be there in '73!

I still think the lead actor - Edward Woodward - did a great job of portraying the 'innocent virgin' male he was supposed to be. After all the usual sacrificial virgins were women - which is what gave this movie it's interesting twist. One that in '73 we did not see coming.

The sexual references were all relevant to the Pagan religion that was dominant in the Summer Isles for a long time. I haven't seen Nic's version but the role of an innocent virgin strikes me as one he could never play if his life depended upon it!

But kudos for at least watching it.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Dave Tutin said...

Damn, I hate myself when I write it's when I mean its.

I must be tired. Just got back from two weks touring Italy.

By the way, have you ever been to the Burning Man
festival in California? It's a bit like The Wicker Man with fewer virgins!

10:53 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

There are naked girls in the movie? I didn't even notice?

In all seriousness, since you watched the short version (the American theatrical release is only 88 minutes), I can understand your reaction. But the 100 minute director's cut is, in my opinion, one of the greatest films of all time. To me it does a great job of presenting a society very different from our own, where a pagan religion (at least paganism as 19th century scholars would have it) took hold long ago. Indeed, as Dave pointed out, the sex is relevant to the pagan religion of the movie--it is not gratuitous. The same is true of the musical numbers. And I think that in playing Lord Summerisle and Sergeant Howie, Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward gave the best performances of their career.

Anyway, you are the first person I've ever encountered who didn't like the original!

11:14 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Mmm. Well, maybe my take on it was corrupted by having seen the remake first. And by seeing the shortened version.

Though at this point, I'm afraid I can't stomach the idea of watching another version. Three attempts at "The Wicker Man" just ain't gonna happen.

As for the nudity and the Paganism, OK, I get that in the scene where the girls are frolicking around the fire, but the scene in which the barmaid is in her bedroom and dancing around and slapping her ass? Didn't seem particularly "Pagan ritual" to me. Seemed like a chance to goose the boys in the audience.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

LOL. Well, the Britt Eklund dancing scene is there as a test for Sergeant Howie, to see if he was pure enough. If he gave in and went to pay her a visit, he probably wouldn't have wound in the wicker man...

1:15 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

See? Virtue is underrated!

He would have had sex with the hot blonde chick and avoided the wicker man. Win-win! But noooooo.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

No, overrated! Virtue is OVERrated!

Sheesh. I need another nap.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Dave Tutin said...

I'd have been round to pay Britt a visit. Period.

But that is the whole point of the movie as M points out.

Plus, back in '73 the boys were in bad need of goosing! Nothing wrong with that. Back then...or now!

Obviously what the remake needed was Angelina J
updating the Britt role. And the marketing guys needed to make it clear that this is one for the guys. I think their mistake was in trying to make a politically correct version. (God, I hate that phrase!)

8:53 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

Well, I think what the remake needed was simply not to be made at all!

At any rate, I have to agree with you, Beth. Virtue can be overrated (I wouldn't have wound up burnt toast like Sgt. Howie did...)

11:25 AM  

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