Edward Woodward, star of the original The Wicker Man (1973), has said that while he was offered a part in the remake and declined, he nevertheless was "surprisingly impressed by the quality of the script." Nonetheless, the name of the young girl was changed from Rowan Morrison (in the original) to Rowan Woodward for this film. See more »
After swimming to the Sea Plane, in his boxer short's and t-shirt, Edward swims back to the dock where he is next seen fully dressed and totally dry, except for his hair. Then, while walking up the lane, there is absolutely no water bleeding through to the outer clothing from the soaked undies beneath. Evidence to him having these on underneath is that he is wearing the same boxer's / t-shirt combo after the bee attack when he is dressing after his recovery. See more »
Many scenes were cut from the Theatrical Release to get an MPAA rating of PG-13. The Unrated DVD Release adds those scenes back in, however, over 4 minutes of deleted footage is still missing from this version and has never been released publicly. See more »
Carnival Of Bones
Traditional (Thoinot Arbeau-1589)
Arranged by Aaron Catlow, Mike Edwards, Phil Howard, Julia Laycock
Performed by Paescod
Courtesy of Paescod Recordings See more »
Don't build a house out of this "Wicker"
In the recent vogue of remaking movies at a fair clip, writer-director Neil Labute has decided to turn his eye to the early 1970s minor cult classic The Wicker Man. The original has developed a following over the years and is generally well regarded. Unfortunately, the remake will probably be held in the same company. While not a terrible film, The Wicker Man is nevertheless not great by any imagination, occasionally sliding into the realm of unintentional self-parody.
The film opens on police officer Edward Malus (Nicholas Cage), a motorcycle cop who is witness to a horrific traffic accident involving a young girl and her mother. Unable to shake the experience, Malus goes on an extended leave and then ends up receiving a letter from his ex-fiancée, Willow (Kate Beahan), that her daughter is missing and she needs his help to locate her. Malus travels to the remote island of Summersisle, a private commune that has developed a matriarchal hierarchy, where men are little better than pack mules. Malus is reunited with Willow and begins his investigation of the island, discovering a number of unusual habits and strange goings-on. None of the inhabitants acknowledge the existence of Rowan, Willow's daughter, even the leader of the group, Sister Summersisle (Ellen Burstyn). After some investigation, Malus becomes more and more convinced that not only is Rowan still on the island, but she may be the eventual subject of a ritualistic sacrifice to the naturalistic gods the people worship.
The Wicker Man falls apart in a number of different ways, but no more detrimental than in the performance of Nicholas Cage. Cage, an effective actor in other films, has been known for his somewhat unorthodox style at times, and here he turns in what may be one of his worst performances ever. He overacts the role of Edward Malus to the extreme, often bordering on the ridiculous. It is difficult to not hold back giggles at times in some of his more "emotional" moments as he pushes the bounds of seriousness almost beyond their breaking point. It is difficult to say whether this is all Cage's fault or if some of the blame lay at the feet of director Labute, but either way, Cage's performance is a serious hindrance to the success of the film.
Cage isn't the only one in the film that is not quite up to par in the performance category. Many of the actors overplay their parts, seemingly to increase the "weirdness" factor of the film, but again causing little but bewilderment for the audience. The word subtlety is not to be found in the vocabulary of this film. The only semi-decent performance on record is that of Burstyn in the role of Sister Summersisle. She is low-key and effective in the role of the leader who has what appears to be ulterior motives to her actions.
Aside from the acting missteps, The Wicker Man lacks much in the way of any real suspense. There is little in the film to raise the hairs on your neck, although the film seems to want to try every so often. A few scenes try to head in this direction, but they almost all fail to pay off. Also, when the twists and turns are finally alluded to, you find yourself questioning some of the significant leaps of logic the script makes. A few of its "revelations" are so difficult to swallow that it is hard to even believe the whole of the structure of the film.
Even so, The Wicker Man has a sometimes atmospheric setting , there are some occasional bits of creepiness and the ending will most likely leave you a bit taken aback. If Labute had dealt with some of the performance issues and ironed out some of the logic in The Wicker Man, it may have been a decent little thriller. But, in the end, it just turns out to be just another forgettable remake.
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