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China and the US get into a little nuclear war and destroy all life on earth except Armand Assante and his sub marine crew and the folks in Australia. Until it is found that a cloud nuclear is drifting south from China. This movie, like it's predecessor, On the Beach-1959, should scare the hell out of all of us and get our government actively engaged in seeking universal disarmament. Brian Brown and Rachel Ward's characters were unnecessary to the plot. Assante, Jacqueline McKenzie and Grant Bowler give OK performances, but the star of this film is the message of the horror of nuclear war. Although it's longer than necessary, the social commentary makes it a must see.
Excellent Emmy-Quality performances by Armand Assante who plays Dwight Towers and Rachel Ward who plays Moira Davidson. In the year 2006, an ELE (extinction level event) is inflicted upon the world by itself when China invades Taiwan and ends up in an apocalyptic nuclear war with the US.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, we're on the beach again. And the first question that comes to my
mind is - why?
What was so very wrong with Kramer's 1961 original that the whole thing needed re-jigging?
Here, we have Armand Assante replacing Gregory Peck as submarine commander Dwight Towers. Someone called Rachel Ward steps into Ava Gardner's shoes as Tower's love interest. And preposterously over-the-top Brian Brown - who got his big break in 'Murder By FX' - makes a determined but completely failed attempt to supplant Fred Astaire as the scientist. Various other B-movie nonentities cling fast to their ancillary parts.
I'm sounding a little scathing, I know; when in truth this is a very competent little movie in its own right. It just happens to be inferior to its original of nearly 50 years vintage in almost every respect. And that's the point. Modernisation does not necessarily mean improvement.
What does it add? Well, the first think to notice is photography in colour, instead of black-and-white. And I don't like it. For me; as a child, the cold war was represented in B&W. Not just on the movie screen but on television at home. Newsreels were always monochrome, and that is how my generation largely remembers that stark, terrifying period of history. Think of any cold-war movie, and you'll know what I mean. Moreover the social and political philosophy was also black-and-white: capitalist or communist, east or west, enemy or friend, right or wrong. There was no middle ground.
Secondly, and obviously; in the intervening time, special-effects have advanced in leaps and bounds. Here we get to see some of the nuclear destruction that was denied us in Kramer's slightly flawed masterpiece. It's breathtaking stuff. But does it advance the story? Not one jot. Does it make for a better, more shocking, more convincing experience? I think not. To me, those still, silent, deserted streets viewed from a distance in the original, spoke volumes. What both these movies demonstrate is the complete irrelevence of special effects compared to a good story well told, whilst at the same time, modern movies' almost-addicted dependence upon them to carry the day.
Then, we get to see the onset of radiation sickness. And once again it's more graphic in its presentation, with some good, hearty honking. But do we need it?
Finally, there is the love triangle thing. And that too is needlessly more graphic and hysterical in a way that detracts from the constrained and understated original. Frankly; it's unbelievable. To see this Rachel Ward character strutting about amongst men as though sexual desire were still the biggest story in town, and all of them in turn fawning over her, as if the universal thought of imminent hideous extinction could be completely eclipsed by the sight of a well-figured slut, is just too ludicrous to countenance. And if that were not enough, we have the Dwight Towers' character becoming petulantly jealous over this woman's sexual dalliance with the Professor, despite the fact they're all going to be dead in a week anyway. So how in hell can it matter? Might as well go for a threesome.
If there had been no Neville Shute novel, and if there had been no previous movie; this would have been the standard-bearer for the cinematic portrayal of nuclear extinction. And it would have been - and is - reasonably good. However, there was a novel and that was extremely good. And there was an earlier movie which both maintained an adequate fidelity to that novel and was quite excellent. Which brings me back to the original question: If you can't improve upon the original - why bother trying to replicate it?
Well; I guess you can read the book. And I guess you can watch both of the movies. I have, and my comments are here. Decide for yourselves.
Perhaps in the end, each is a movie of its time, and reflects the social mores of its generation.
ON THE BEACH is a marvelous movie with beautiful scenery and every performance is perfect. The movie is very well done and Armand Assante is sensational. The story has a frightening message and Part Two is extremely sad. I will watch Part One many times. On The Beach should be recognized for those reasons but may be too hot to touch. It is well worth watching and hopefully by the right people.
What if you know that death is coming and there is no cure about it? What would you do? Today that nuclear war is really possible it's really obvious that no one can escape it. In the movie people choose to die with their beloved ones, or at least on homeland. Is it ethical to commit suicide when you know that death is unavoidable? This is a movie that YOU really should see... it might change your opinion about wars.
Remakes CAN be better than the original, even in this genre. I'm reminded
of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" done in 1956 and again in 1978. Both
versions are great and I feel that way about "On the Beach".
The original 1959 film has been an alltime favourite of mine, but the remake
exceeds the original.
I had my doubts it could be done better but it did.
The remake's characters were more believable. The trip to Alaska was a great addition and the solar powered laptop with its corrupted video clip message brought the whole plot to the present in a very convincing manner.
Brian Brown and Rachel Ward were excellent. I only disliked the actor playing the submarine commander. He was so wooden and unbelievable.
The scenery of the Victorian coast was spectacular.
I thoroughly enjoyed this remake.
I noted that many comments say that politicians should view this film. I feel this attitude has lead to the plausibilty of the film. ALL PEOPLE should see this film, so they will insist on BETTER POLITICIANS.
Don't be afraid to support Ralph Nader next time.
They still make movies like they use too.
Armand Assante's performance as Dwight Towers is convincing. Suspension of disbelief - the goal of art - is achieved. The intersection and interaction of the main characters, Assante, Ward, Brown and McKenzie, was sheer mastery. And, maybe I'm just a sucker for this kind of stuff, but the romantic elements enhance the movie immensely. The movie translates to recent times more than the original which demonstrates the enduring qualities and contemporary currency of this classic movie.
Every politician on the planet must see this movie.
First a warning for the guys, don't be seduced by the nuclear sub on the box, this is a chick flick. It's after the war, and there is nothing more to shoot at. It's long, but moves along alright, although you can FF through the mood scenes. It's lots of relationship stuff and crying, and a little suspense as they try to locate life in another area of the world. There are tons of cliches and platitudes, and the plot is straight formula. The acting is adequate, and if all you want is a tear-jerker with an adequate story, this might be enough for you. If you're looking for action, this isn't it. -Bob
Blame the author of the book I guess but I don't see any point whatsoever to this film. The human race dies in a nuclear war, most presumably in horrid flames, but we see it from the viewpoint of neat and tidy deaths of affluent suburbanites. Three hours to tell you what I could say in a few seconds, if there is a big nuclear war we would all suffer and die. The makers of this film chose to illustrate this point with a slow and tedious bomb of their own. The final moment is the greatest insult of all. The author envisioned the triumph of love over all else, but I see instead the refusal of the protagonist to acknowledge humanity from any motivation short of its' destruction.
I gave this movie a 10 to counteract the other low scores. I would have given it an 8 otherwise. I found this movie in a 2 DVD movies for $6 at a store. I remembered the original and how deeply it affected me so I bought it. Wow, I agree with the other post that this remake is better. There seems to be more depth to the characters in this movie and the acting is superb. I always felt a little something was missing in the original but I don't feel that way with this remake. Buy it at discount or otherwise...you won't be sorry. On a side note I always wondered what happened to Rachel Ward after thorn birds, and after looking her up on IMDb I realize that all of these actors in On the Beach have been around forever but they are mostly TV stars. I never watch TV movies so I miss out.
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