Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Wicker Man (2006)

First of all, I want to warn you that there will be spoilers in this review. Not that they changed the basic plot and climax at all, but rather because what they did change is what I have the most to say about. Also, I made it a point not to read anyone else's reviews on this film prior to seeing it, so my apologies if my views on the film seem to mirror everyone else's.

In a nutshell, this film was the wet dream of every Wiccan group I've ever met. It also clearly illustrates precisely what I dislike about every Wiccan group I've ever met. And before you ask how I would even know, I probably should mention that there was a brief time in my life where I was a barely-accepted observer among such a tribe because someone very close to me was a part of it. And part of that included going to even larger gatherings of Wiccans and realising that they all seemed to share some views about the male of our species that I just cannot tolerate.

Now, I have to start by saying that I really like the original film. The story of a private island community where men and women follow a pre-Christian religion, children of both genders performing the traditional Maypole dance, people smiling and singing all the time, and the nasty little group prank pulled on a would-be hero.

It turns out that someone had some strange ideas on what an All-Wiccan community would more likely be like while coming up with the modern remake. Here, we see an already-wrapped Maypole and wonder if the women did it themselves or if they whipped the men with switches in order to get them to perform the dance. The owner of the isle is now a goddess-avatar matriarch and every man in the community is little more than a beast of burden, there only to toil and serve. (In fact, the only male voice you hear on the island is Nick Cage's.)

While little is changed in regards to the plot, the character change of the community itself is enough to really screw up this film. Asides from the Superior Woman theme, Cage's character is intentionally crude, obnoxious, and unlikable - which I can only assume is meant so that all the girls in the audience won't feel sorry about his final moments in the Wicker Man.

Personally I think if the main character was endearing, the whole mood of the film would have changed for the better. Instead we get a film about every guy's worst nightmare complete with the obligatory man-roasting.

I spent most of the film just shaking my head in disgust at the few predictable changes and the constant "woman is superior" message that was played over and over again like a broken record. In my opinion, this is one of those films where there are no "good guys", just a loathsome male character and a whole tribe full of loathsome female ones. My alternative ending would have involved the Wicker Man exploding and the flying sticks impaling everyone on the island.

Film information: The Wicker Man

The Original Film:

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