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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Off Topic: The Remake of Rosemary's Baby

By Tom

Okay, I'll admit that I usually don't like remakes. Rarely do you get something that is even in the same zip code as the the original. The remake of "Psycho" by Gus Van Sant was an interesting disaster. The remake of "The Stepford Wives" was just a disaster.

The remake of "Rosemary's Baby"? So far not so good.

Where to start? First off, the original was an almost word for word carbon copy of the book (legend has it that Roman Polanski didn't realize that it was de rigeur in Hollywood to change the original material.) While I didn't expect that the remake would be so faithful there are plot points that at least to me seem to be there as just that, plot points (SPOILER: in the original, Steven Marcato is Roman Castevet, a major moment in the movie where Rosemary with the help of a scrabble set finds out that her kindly elderly neighbor is the son of a man who claimed to have conjured up the living Satan and was beaten to death by a mob in front of the Bramford Apartments in New York, where they all live. In the new version, they're separate people. Why? Who knows.)

The director of the piece states that unlike Mia Farrow in the earlier version, Zöe Saldana is not a "victim." Well, I beg to differ. Mia Farrow's Rosemary Woodhouse was not a victim. She was a woman who moved into an apartment building with her loving husband and became pregnant only to slowly discover that there was something so horrific going on around her that it defied belief. First finding your husband distant. Then having horrific health problems in your first few months of pregnancy that your doctor (and back in the 60's doctors were considered like gods, especially Society ones that were on TV) tell you will end soon. Then having the few people you can turn to either die or not believe you. Then coming to the crushing conclusion that your husband and your neighbors have literally sold you out to the Devil.

What does she do? Grabs the biggest knife in the kitchen and makes her way in to the middle of the party of her tormenters to take her baby back. Sound like a victim? I don't think so.

Also, casting. Ms. Saldana I have no issue with and I actually really liked Carole Bouquet who is pinpoint perfect in her portrayal of the sophisticated Gallic warm and just a little too friendly Margaux Castevet. It's the boys who let us down here. Roman in the original was so benign seeming that it was a shock when it turned out he was the head of a Satanic cult, 2014 Roman practically twirls his moustache. John Cassavetes in the original (when Guy was an actor) was a great actor in real life: he was able to show us when Guy in the movie was "acting" at Rosemary. You could see the wheels turning in retrospect, even if Rosemary could not. 2014 isn't turning my wheels.

Then there's the gore; I am so tired of TV shows throwing battle slops at me instead of plot. I might be putting on my old man pants here, but when did something like this get a "TV-14" rating when by my count it was gorier than "Freddie VS Jason?"

But even the gore doesn't move the story, the first installment at two hours was a horror taffy-pull. I don't know that I have the energy to watch the rest.

What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Image: IMDB


Blogger Flora said...

Thanks to your review I will pass on the new version - hard to improve on the original, although certainly possible, but it looks like this was not the one to do it.

12:25 AM EDT  

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