Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Children of the Corn

Once again, a movie has been remade from a film I have regarded as a classic, or somewhat of a classic, within the Stephen King library of films. The film I’m referring to is 1984's Children of the Corn. But now in 2009, it’s back again, albeit with some changes.

During the beginning stages of the film, I had to take multiple breaks and pause it every once and a while to cleanse my pallet of this flick. From the get go, the co-star of the film, Kandyse McClure (who plays Vicki), was getting on my fucking nerves, making me want to turn this off and send it back to the Netflix warehouse by express mail. She was acting like such a bitch to the character of Burt (played by David Anders of "Heroes" fame) that it was bordering on overacting.

In this version of Children of the Corn, Burt and Vicki are not a happy couple, but a couple on the verge of divorce. But you'd think that she'd start being civil to Burt after hitting the kid that runs out into the middle of the country highway...or at least stop acting like a bitch and start being a little concerned. Instead, she accuses Burt of murder, telling him he’s going to jail, and then going off in a tangent about how he’d rather be back in Vietnam doing sweeping patrols and smoking pot. At this point, we’re supposed to get that this is a period piece around the late 1960s or early 1970s. Which brings me to the point that the Burt and Vicki in this film are now an interracial couple. No biggie. But I was just wondering, why the change?

Up until the ending, the film pretty much follows the original, begging the question as to why the filmmakers felt they had to remake this film. Yeah, they put a couple of touches here and there, establishing the children taking over the town already and giving us a shot of the leader. This time around, however, it’s not the man who looks like a child playing Isaac, but an actual child. Usually, that’s a mistake when you put such a young child in a heavy role like this one and seeing how the film was going thus far, I’m sure that was the case there.

On the plus side, when the couple are driving on their way into the town of Gatlin, Vicki lightened up for a while. But then she reverted back to her previous bitchiness when she found the corn crucifix and Burt didn’t want to throw it out.

It makes me angry that original movies are insulted like this. Why does anybody think it can be done better? Children of the Corn of 1984 wasn’t considered a classic by the masses or an award winner in any sense, but it had a cult status among fans of the genre as well as fans of Stephen King adaptations. The stars of the original film didn’t give the performances of their lives, nor did they stand out in the film. What was memorable about 1984’s Children of the Corn was the actors who played Isaac and Malachai, John Franklin and Courtney Gains respectively. Not only did they both stand out, but it was ingenious casting to have Franklin take on the role of Isaac. He was 25 years old when that film was released, yet he was playing the part of a boy in his pre-teens. The actor had GHD (Growth Hormone Deficiency), so he looked and sounded years younger than he actually appeared. Because of this fact, he appeared to be a boy with extraordinary intellect and vocabulary, nailing the part perfectly.

Now, this 2009 version did nothing of the sort. They rounded up a bunch of kids, with one stand-out as a copycat Courtney Gains playing Malachai, and they stuck the kid from Showtime’s "Dexter" in the lead role. He’s okay as the cute little kid in that show, but to have him as the sinister Isaac? Having him standing on top of a roof and doing little meaningless hand signals is not scary at all. He has no antagonistic prowess whatsoever and giving him that oversized black farm hat isn’t going to make him any more sinister. He just looks like a cute little kid.

There’s a part in the film when the children are chasing down our protagonist, Burt, into the rows of corn. Let me tell you, this is a long portion of the film; it seemed as if it was never going to end. However, if I may be so bold as to admire one change they made to the characters, and that’s the fact that Burt is a Vietnam War vet, which makes this portion of the film a little interesting. See, he’s flashing back and he’s seeing this situation as how he and his platoon were chased down in the jungles of Vietnam. If only it didn’t take so much time out of the movie. I mean, they could’ve cut the film time down a bit if they edited this piece a little.

Overall, I guess it wasn’t that bad. But then again, it wasn’t that good either. It’s just another testament that this trend of remaking films has got to stop. Let’s go with fresh ideas, let’s try to come up with ingenious ways to create sequels to the favorite movies of our time. Why do we constantly accept remakes? Even the filmmakers these days are tired of using that nomenclature. Instead of using the already tired term of remake, filmmakers are now injecting the word “reboot” into the mix.

I’m not going to go into this particular movie too much, only just to say it’s another forgettable remake of an original film that had, like, ten sequels, dooming this reboot from the start. Every time I ventured into a Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, I’d see a few of these sequels on the shelves and I just felt pity.

Anyway, what’s my final “bit” on Children of the Corn? Seeing that the film was a cable TV event, that tells you a lot. It wasn’t good enough to make it to theaters and in my opinion, it shouldn’t have made it to DVD as well. It’s just another remake that should be filed away with all the remakes released so far and all the remakes that are on the horizon to be filmed. This one is forgettable and not really worth a watch, but if you do, you’ll neither be disappointed nor impressed. It’s nothing to recommend, but it’s not like someone will hate you for doing so. Skip it…or not.

No comments: