It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about the actor I love to hate. Yes it’s old potato face, Nicholas Cage. As if the original of this film, with its all star cast of Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland and Christopher Lee wasn’t weird enough, it was felt that this needed a revamp in 2006.
I will readily admit that I went to the cinema to see this as I knew the fate of old Nic and went to see this for the sole pleasure of watching him burn in the Wicker man.
As this story has been knocking around for some time, I don’t think that there is a spoiler alert, but just in case you’ve never felt compelled to watch this or the original, story line is below…
After a failed attempt to rescue a girl and her mum from a car accident, Edward Malus (Cage), spirals in to a pit of despair, until he receives a letter from his long lost ex fiancée Willow Woodward. She is now living in a private island community called Summersisle and is asking Malus’ help in locating her missing daughter, Rowan.
On arriving in Summersisle, it’s pretty clear that it is a female dominated community, which acts like a refuge for downtrodden women and harbours refugees from the Salem witch trials. Tradition is high on the isle, and there are a few men kept about the place for breeding purposes.
Poor old Malus, gets upset when he runs in to numerous beekeepers, as he’s horribly allergic to bees, which is going to be troublesome as the main export of the isle is honey.
Malus overhears about a up and coming mayday festival with a ritual catchily called ‘the time of death and rebirth’. He also finds out that last years crops failed, and he nearly dies from a bee sting. He then comes to the staggering (she says rolling her eyes) that Rowan will be burnt alive in a pagan ritual to try and enhance the crop growth for that year.
Malus runs in to sister Summersisle, who has her own, not so devious plan for him involving the Wicker man.
Now, the original film called for a man that came to the island of his own free will, Christian and was a virgin, but in this hash job of a remake the perfect sacrificial lamb goes out the window, only to be replace with Malus, making this film less about a religious power struggle and made it more about a sexual not so powerful struggle. The premise for the sacrifice is flimsy at best, and by the time Malus works out he’s been baited to the isle, you just don’t care enough about him to want him to survive.
Inevitably Malus, is popped in a head cage full of bees then thrown in the Wicker man to burn as Rowan is returned to Willow, who had previously been sent out in to the world to make a guy fall in love with her and then break up with him so that years later she could lean on him to come and help her look for a child that has gone missing in a place he doesn’t know.
You really need to be prepared for a lot of this face from Cage…
He also plays the character like he is on some form of perma sedation.
While the original was weird, it was beautifully crafted around odd pagan traditions with a clever script and great sound track, yet this remake has taken this film, then run it through a wood chipper, the tried to glue the fractured pieces back together with Pritt stick and sellotape. It’s clumsy and oafish and left me as a viewer really only wondering how the bee population survived with a distinct lack of crops the previous year.
This film rates in the top 10 of worst remakes, so if you’re looking for something to rant at for an evening, this could be the film for you.