(rbrown) from STARKVILLE, MS
Reviewed on 2/25/2009...
Based on the Stephen King novel, this remake of the Brian De Palma film falls astoundingly flat. According to promotional materials, it's been "re-imagined for a new generation." I take that to mean "remade because we're greedy and don't have any original ideas." The DVD case trumpets that the film has a "shocking, all-new twist ending!" Well, it has a twist, but it's only shocking in commercial terms, not artistic ones, as it was shot as a set-up for a proposed TV series that, thankfully, never materialized. What doesn't work about this remake? Primarily, the casting. Although I love Angela Bettis as much as the next person (and perhaps a wee bit more), she seems more borderline psycho than Stephen King wrote the character, and certainly less human than Sissy Spacek played her. And that's the gist of the problem--De Palma's Carrie is pretty much a modern classic, with two Academy Award-nominated lead performances. There's no way ANY new production could try to best the original film, especially one that's pre-eviscerated because it was made for broadcast TV. If Piper Laurie was a bit over the top in the original, IT WORKED. Patricia Clarkson in this film is barely there. The role of Margaret White is underplayed into near-invisibility. The new Sue Snell looks JUST LIKE Amy Irving...except that she's played by an African-American actress in a nod to diversity. Chris Hargensen as played by Nancy Allen was the rich-bitch high school snob from hell; Emilie de Ravin doesn't look old enough to even BE in high school yet. So, yeah, I'm not real fond of this version. There were two things that I did rather like about it, though. First, one of my favorite scenes from the book made it into this version, albeit in an adapted form. It's the scene where Chris Hargensen's father meets with the school principal to get him to let Chris attend the prom. Secondly, I like the fact that this version allowed Margaret White's death to happen in the same manner as in the novel. Even though I feel that De Palma's staging of Margaret White's death befitted the operatic mood of that film, it's nice to see King's version get used. But those two things aside, this version is dreary.
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