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Author: Subject: Manchurian Candidate (Spoilers contained within)
Blown Spot
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posted on 8-3-2004 at 10:56 PM Edit Post
Manchurian Candidate (Spoilers contained within)

I haven't seen the original so I can't draw a comparison. The remake however was quite good. Despite the absolutely annoying IN YOUR FACE CLOSEUP SHOTS!

I understand that those shots are supposed to create a sense of... I don't know... paranoia... claustrophobia, maybe, but when I can count the number of nose hairs in Denzel's nostrils we're getting a little too close.

I've heard this is Jonathan Demme's style but these closeups appeared worse than those I saw in The Silence of the Lambs.

Anyway, good movie. Meryl Streep's character was pure evil and slightly incestuous.

[Edited on 8-5-2004 by Blown Spot]





"I like to drink wine more than I used to... anyway I'm drinking more."

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masterofpigeons
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posted on 8-4-2004 at 04:50 AM Edit Post
uhh... Spoilers? Yeah... Spoilers, I guess.

I have a huge problem with pretty much any movie where the big revelation/payoff is something that isn't grounded in reality (or what's commonly accepted as such). Manchurian Candidate (I speak for the new one only, I haven't seen the original) is a good example of a movie that sets up a good intrigue - i.e: the prospect of a privately owned politician, but delivers it through sci-fi nonsense, rendering any possible message impotent. Like it or not, there is something to be said about present-day politics and private enterprises' involvement. Whether you're for or against, there's definitely a debate there, and it seems as though this movie just tried to use that debate as a backdrop for the science fiction movie it wanted to present... the sci-fi portion presenting a story something like this: "Man's brain is partially erased and furthermore controlled by a private enterprise." Now that's good and all, and I think it would make for a not so bad movie - IF ONLY THAT WERE THE ACTUAL PREMISE. But no, instead, we get to sift through half of the movie's length to find that out, and once we do find that out, we head over to the quasi-political spectrum where we're trying to figure out what goals this enterprise might be trying to achieve... but that never happens.

Instead, we have a movie that frustratingly goes nowhere. A candidate is brainwashed by a private enterprise, some guy tries to figure it out, he frustratingly can't - so what does he do? Shoot the man and the woman he might have a hunch is behind it. And after that? Nothing. The story doesn't tie any loose ends, and I'm not certain that was the effect it was going for. Especially on the political front - by placing itself in the present day (and making a lot of allusions to current events - like the 'terror alert up,' for example), the movie is BEGGING to be taken as political commentary - but it does nothing of the sort! It asks questions that no one is seriously considering, and it does so in a frustrating manner by straying dangerously close to present-day conditions.

A remedy might have been to establish the mind control right off the bat and follow through with a more detailed look at the relationship between the enterprise and the candidate and the army - make it a full blown conspiracy theory at least.

And even if the movie didn't want to step on any political toes, it could have gone a different route and just revealed that Denzel was insane or something. It would have been stupid and pointless, but less offensively bad.

Also, there are a ton of questions left over. What did the shoulder implant do? Why did Ben Marco have to shave his head at the end? Did he have one of the head implants, too? And, as I mentioned above, what was the relationship between the different parties (Manchurian, political, mother, etc)?

BAH. A frustrating movie, to be blamed mostly on the frustrating story. Denzel was adequate, Meryl Streep was at her bitchiest best and Liev Schreiber was oddly compelling in his role as Raymond Shaw.

Frustrating.

I apologize if this rant is too long/makes no sense.

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OO Kyle
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posted on 8-4-2004 at 05:16 AM Edit Post
Part of the problem is that Hollywood is incredibly afraid of pissing off special interest groups. That's why they went with the lame "it's an EVIL CORPORATION" theme.

Hey, we all hate those Corporations, so they're an all-purpose badguy. There's only one real problem- it's been done to death. Hell, "evil corporations" were the badguys in every movie made in the 80s- 20 years ago.

The other weakness with the plot, IMHO, is that we all pretty much suspect that every politician is already the sole property of whatever special interest group got him in to power. So the payoff in this version just isn't there. BTW, IIRC, the original version was kept out of circulation for years, which is why none of us have seen it.





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cpdevine1
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posted on 8-5-2004 at 03:00 PM Edit Post
spoilers included


the original version was on TV about for times in the week leading up to the release of the new one, and unfortunately I wasn't able to catch any of them. I can't make any comparisons because I didn't see it, but reading revies that do compare them, it seems that this time around they dumbed it down somewhat to cater to the impatient audiences of today that want an A-B storyline without all kinds of diversions. Some things they did in the first one explained some of the problems that people have with the new version. It is also easier to determine who exactly the bad guys were in the first one because it was made in the height of the cold war.

I personally didn't have the same problems that MoP had with it. Meryl Streep is indeed evil beyond words and plays it spectacularly, and there is a bit of inscestuoous tension going on with her son.

The whoe thing with the brainwashing/control/wiping isn't that hard to understand, and fits the plot. What goal is this enterprise trying to achieve? They want a person in power that they control. The loose ends are tied by implicating the big business in the assasination attempt, thus thwarting their plans.

The candidate himself is just as much a victim in this as the character Denzel plays. They are BOTH controlled and have their brains fried by the enterprise. It is the candidate who moves into position to have himself get shot. He doesn't want to be a part of it.

It likely was dealt with better in the first movie, but this one was good in it's own right.


addition- There was one problem I did have with the story. I can see how the Manchurian enterprise had worked their plan to get their candidate into power, and the mother working her political magic to get him on the ticket, but they planned to get him into office as president by killing the President when their candidate was Vice, how could they have known Denzel would get involved and therefore use him in their plan? The way it played out was like they knew all along that he would be the shooter. That part confused me a bit.

[Edited on 8-5-2004 by cpdevine1]





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Blown Spot
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posted on 8-5-2004 at 03:51 PM Edit Post
I didn't quite see it that way cpd1. Remember it really came down to two soldiers left alive for the deed to get done, Denzel's character and the one who first approached him near the begining of the movie. I know he was later killed, but he was getting too close to the truth.

I think the Manchurian Corporation had Ben Marco in mind all along because he was the one still on active duty and according to Raymond Shaw, an excellent marksman.

Despite the things I felt were wrong with this movie, they were minor, and I found myself getting caught up in the story.





"I like to drink wine more than I used to... anyway I'm drinking more."

"John Cena is poopy." - CM Punk to 6 year old kid on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

"What I said was deliberately untrue. However, that does not make it a lie. It's what we call in sophisticated debate terms a "implyo-obliqué-prevariclative," which is a statement that deliberately runs counter to the truth and is not factually supported — which is totally different from a lie..."

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mark markham
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posted on 8-6-2004 at 06:46 PM Edit Post
a little too slow paced for my taste. I did like the political rally assasination at the climax to the movie, but getting there was a boring ride. I would rate this a six out of ten, slightly better than average movie.
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LuckyLopez
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posted on 8-6-2004 at 06:58 PM Edit Post
Damn. Didn't anyone see the original and then the new one so that I can read a comparison from someone I know/respect to figure if I should bother seeing a remake of a movie I love?

Eh... I usually vote against remakes-of-classics anyway... I'll just go and watch my new special edition DVD release of the original Manchurian Candidate which should make the VHS copy expendable. Screw you, Hollywood. I don't need you.

P.S.

Hollywood, I was kidding. I'll be back with you next Friday for Alien vs Predator.

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Blown Spot
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posted on 8-6-2004 at 08:11 PM Edit Post
I know the last remake I saw, The Truth about Charlie was about 10 times worse than the original Charade with Audrey Hepburn. I was on the fence with TTAC, then landed firmly on the side of Charade after seeing it.

That's why I decided to avoid the original Manchurian Candidate before seeing the updated version. I didn't want to poison my view of the remake prior to its showing.





"I like to drink wine more than I used to... anyway I'm drinking more."

"John Cena is poopy." - CM Punk to 6 year old kid on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

"What I said was deliberately untrue. However, that does not make it a lie. It's what we call in sophisticated debate terms a "implyo-obliqué-prevariclative," which is a statement that deliberately runs counter to the truth and is not factually supported — which is totally different from a lie..."

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