- Campus copes with holiday grief
- New water plan saves big money
- Campus police offer holiday safety tips
- Alys Stephen Center Screens Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
- Hospital feeds underprivileged new moms
- UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Yo-Yo Ma Dec. 6
- Southern Miss tops Blazers, 62-27, in season ending game
- Henry Panion selected for 2014 Alabama African-American History Calendar
- Enjoy Christmas at the Alys Dec. 2, “The Season’s First Jingle”
- Engineering’s Ning wins ASTM International award
- Collat School of Business unveils sign at celebration
- Heudebert elected master by American College of Physicians
- Anti-aging strategies can improve more than looks
- On campus ‘blackout’ taken in stride
- Bariatric Surgery Services to present annual fashion show Nov. 25
Another turn on the ‘Carrie’ saga
So, the questions most of you probably have going into the latest take of Carrie are as follows:
(A) Didn’t they just remake this not too long ago?
Answer: They surely did, back in 2002, in a perfectly serviceable made-for-TV adaptation starring Angela Bettis. (The better question would actually be: whatever happened to her?) The fantastically underrated Patricia Clarkson did the honors as the mom, with Lost-vet Emilie De Ravin as the nefarious Chris, Carrie’s arch-enemy. This version was actually the most faithful version to date, until the end, which had Carrie survive, in hopes of it becoming an ongoing series. This didn’t happen, as the ratings were middling at best. There was also a direct sequel a few years before that, with Amy Irving reprising her role in the classic original 1976 version by famed director Brian De Palma. Both were adequate, but the 70’s version remains the best to date.
(B) What does this new Carrie bring to the table?
Answer: A new cast, obviously, including up-and-coming star Chloë Grace Moretz in the titular role and the superlative Julianne Moore as her mother. Boys Don’t Cry-director Kimberly Pierce does the filmmaking honors, so those put off by some of De Palma’s more rampant sexism- like the infamous opening shower scene- need not worry about gratuitous nudity or the like. For once, the teens are played by actual teens that look their age, and the story is updated for the modern age, which includes iPhones and internet, as Carrie is even more publicly humiliated than ever before. Also, with bullying even more prevalent than it was at the time of the original film, the story has an undeniable resonance that should appeal to teens themselves, despite the R-rating.
(C) How does it stack up to the previous versions?
Answer: Overall, the film holds its own. It hews pretty close to the 1976 version, as opposed to the book, contrary to what they’ve been saying in interviews. However, having a female director helps to hone in on the material in a way that shouldn’t put off women the way the original might, given some of De Palma’s more unsavory tendencies. She also jettisons all of the more overt 70’s-era techniques and trappings- you won’t find any kaleidoscope-cam, spin-cam, or split-screen here, nor bad hair and bell bottoms. (Which is not to say I don’t love the hell out of all of the above, and the original in general.)
The actors all noticeably underplay nicely, going more for realism over frills. Mind you, those over-the-top antics also netted both Sissy Spacek, as Carrie and Piper Laurie, as her mother; Oscar nominations for their work, so there’s something to be said for broad interpretations of this particular material. I don’t see the same thing happening here, but then again, it’s going to be a crowded field this year, what with all the solid material out there as of late. That said, the cast in the remake is nothing less than superb, and no one has anything to be embarrassed by.
(D) Is it worth my time?
Answer: That depends. If you’re a younger viewer unfamiliar with the original, you might actually prefer this version, and if you saw that 1976 version instead, it might seem totally dated, classic though it may be. If you’re a fan of the book, and hoped they might do a version closer to the source material, they don’t really, but you might want to check out the TV version if you haven’t seen it instead. It’s way more faithful, at least until the very end, which was left open-ended on purpose. This version does incorporate the famous “rain of stones” sequence, albeit not at the beginning like the book.
However, no one has really done the book complete justice because no one in Hollywood would likely have the guts to do it the way Stephen King wrote it, which was with Carrie as an overweight, pimple-faced, hopelessly lost outcast. TV-version Angela Bettis (from the cult classic May, which was a similar kind of film to Carrie in its own twisted way) was closer to the mark, but she’s still too pretty compared to the way King describes Carrie.
Star Moretz is best known as “Hit Girl” from the Kick Ass movies and as a vampire in Let Me In, so buying her kicking some teen bully butts isn’t too hard to imagine, and though she’s convincingly nerdy and gives a fine, believable performance here, she’s way too pretty to be completely buyable as a nerdy misfit. In short, she’s Hollywood’s idea of nerdy at best, a la Zooey Deschanel, not actual nerdy, like maybe Felicia Day- and even Day is way prettier than King’s description. So, dream on if you’re expecting them to do a truly faithful version.
Ultimately, if you’re a die-hard fan of Moretz or Moore- and I’ve no doubt some of you are- you’ll probably want to see it eventually, be it in theaters or at home. This should definitely help to further Moretz’s rep as one of the finest rising stars of her generation, and certainly won’t hurt it. Also worth a mention: a fab Judy Greer (as the PE coach), who once gave good Hollywood nerd in Jawbreaker back in the day. Beyond that, it’s a good effort, and certainly nothing for anyone to be embarrassed by, but nothing earth-shattering, either.
As it’s the only game in town, horror movie-wise, this Halloween, it should do just fine at the box office, but I would have to say that when all is said and done, the original, 70’s tropes and all, still rules the prom, so you would-be haters can plug it up and save your hate mail. I give this one an “A” for effort, but only a B for the overall grade.
Just remember, kids: be nice to your fellow students, and take comfort in the fact that your prom experience might suck…but at least it won’t be like Carrie’s. Let’s hope.