The day and age were Hollywood remakes coming off as a somewhat passable effort are completely gone. Hollywood continues to feed us drivel that is devoid of anything remotely entertaining or anything that made the original entertaining in its own right. In 2006 Warner Brothers decided to remake the 1973 classic film Wicker Man. Instead of trying to adhere to the original, Warner threw everything that made Robin Hardy’s original such a classic and have since replaced it with moments that were meant to scare us but instead come off as almost laughable.
In this remake actor Nicholas Cage stars as detective Edward Maius. We quickly learn that Edward’s former fiancÃ©e Willow (Kate Beahan) left him a few years back without any reason why. Edward soon receives a letter from Willow stating that their daughter Rowan has gone missing. Traveling to the island of Summerisle, Edward soon learns that the island that Willow has moved to (oddly comprised entirely of woman) may have something to do with their missing child. Edward searches high and low trying to figure out who these women are, what they do and who exactly is the so-called Wicker Man.
The biggest issue with a film like this is that the audience can never figure out if the film is trying to act like a horror film or is trying to act like a film that plays out like a kind of battle of the sexes film. As Maius ran around trying to figure out what was going on, it felt like the island of women were acting more as if they were all the greatest thing alive instead of acting (one can assume) as a part of the film’s horror. The film has way too many clichÃ©s, all of which are stolen from other horror classics. Instead of attempting give us an actual real scare (I had hoped they would do something better with Edward’s allergic reaction to bees rather than making all of women on the island love honey), the film ends up playing out as a type of comedy instead of a genuine horror-fest.
I suppose the only positive I can make here is that Warner has included the original intended uncut ending here on this HD DVD release. Even though the 1973 original ending is played out here, the ending is not as chilling or creepy as the original was. The Wicker Man, despite some solid acting from Cage, ended up as a huge disappointment.
Presented in a 1080p, VC-1 Encoded, 2:35:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio, WB has at least made The Wicker Man look a lot better than the film actually was.
The film’s print, obviously benefiting from being so new, shines here with fine color usage and good detail. Colors were bright and clear (especially the blacks). Grain and video noise was pretty much absent here. Detail was rather impressive with most of the film’s exterior sequence boasting a rather solid appearance. As a side-note, WB has released The Wicker Man day-and-date with the Blu-Ray release (the review can be found here: ). In the end this is a solid effort from WB.
Boasting a Dolby TrueHD audio track, one would immediately think that a “horror” film like The Wicker Man would be the perfect candidate for a track like this. Well the end result is that the TrueHD track is fine in its own right, but the film’s aural focus on the fronts instead of the rears hurt this one.
Dialogue was perfect with no real notice of muddled dialogue. Dynamic Range was rather weak during the 1st half of the film (somewhat understandable as the 1st half was rather quiet). Surround usage was also pretty quiet never really becoming active minus from the occasional scream or booming noise. I did like how the TrueHD, when compared to the also included Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio track, seemed more natural especially during the outdoor sequences. While a TrueHD track was nice here, it’s definitely an odd decision when WB includes a TrueHD track on a film like this when they keep it off of a film like T3. This one gets bonus points for the effort, but don’t expect a true audio experience here.
- Audio Commentary with director Neil LaBute, Actors Leelee Sobieski and Kate Beahan, editor Joel Piotch and costume designer Lynette Meyer: What I always find funny about commentaries is that the participants try to pass of their film as something that is the second coming. Anyhow the standard affair, like film purpose, production design, costumes, acting and story are dealt with. I suppose if you liked the film, you might want to listen to this. Otherwise skip it.
- Trailer: Yep, the only other extra is the film’s theatrical trailer.
Instead of trying to re-invent themselves with this 1973 remake, WB has instead put the category of “remake” further down the totem pole. With dull scares that seemed like comedic horrors instead of genuine horrors, The Wicker Man comes off as a forgettable film, despite solid acting from Cage and Sobieseki (underrated by far). At least WB has given this one a solid video and audio presentation, but decided to only include one extra (and it was a rather dull commentary). Unless you’re a fan of the remake or the biggest fan of Cage or Sobieski, skip this one on all fronts.