Movie Review: The Wicker Man (2006)
How horrible can a movie be about a lone cop defying the odds to locate a missing girl, while on a mysterious island, where nearly all of the female, bee-worshipping inhabitants deny her very existence? Well, what other movie can you see Nicholas Cage chase little kids around, rant about a burnt doll, hijack a bike at gunpoint, and punch out a woman while wearing a bear suit?
"Not the bees..."
In honor of Halloween, we're going to look at something that's truly terrifying, but probably not in the way that you'd expect.
The Wicker Man (2006) remake was intended to be a suspense thriller that would keep viewers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. At least that’s what was conveyed to me when seeing the trailer in theaters. However, what ensues is 1 hour and 43 minutes of pure ludicrousness and anything but the serious tone the movie was attempting to purvey.
Well how bad is it you ask? Why review it now? Because it's absolutely so horrifyingly horrendous that it needs to be. Unless you’ve seen it, you can’t even begin to articulate how atrocious this movie is. I single-handedly credit it for making me laugh every time I've seen Nickie Cage after suffering through it. So let's dive right in...
Well, here’s the disc. Pretty flashy and attention grabbing...right? Yeah, I’m unfortunate enough to be the proud owner of the DVD version, which was a joke birthday gift from a few years ago. They may as well have gotten me Trolls 2 (don't worry we'll visit that one someday too) or hell, anything else. It catches the viewer’s eye and draws them in with its flashy artwork...Let this blank disc, which is devoid of any creativity, spirit, and detail, be a clear visual representation of the hollow and pointless story is that lies within.
The film depicts the account of Edward Malus (Nicholas Cage), a former cop, who answers the pleas of his ex-fiancée to assist in locating her daughter on the mysterious island of Summersisle. Ironically, Cage knew very little of his ex’s past or he would have undoubtedly stayed the hell away from the honey, pagan-influenced society. This especially seems to be the case considering he is allergic to bees, which are the island’s main economic resource and strange obsession.
Regardless, our "hero" decides to shed an early retirement for a woman, who broke off their engagement prior to the film’s beginnings, at a mere written request. Although somewhat inconceivable that a letter could influence him to assist the woman that ran out on their engagement, Edward charters a flight and heads for Summersisle. While on his search, he runs from bees, shoots out idiotic lines, holds up and punches women, hijacks a bike, chases children, hallucinates, raves about a singed doll, and dresses as a bear, on his high jinks driven trek around the island. That's right, he dresses up in a full fledged bear outfit and punches out a woman while donning the costume. It's something that has to be seen to be believed, and should be an addition to everyone's bucket list.
If this notion and the rest of those things sound ridiculous, it’s only because they are. Sadly, they are the highlights of the film, but for all the wrong reasons.
There are some "plot" twists throughout the duration of the film, but most are predictable or are just as ludicrous as the story itself and aren’t enough to carry the movie's attempt at a story. One in particular would appear to be a means of sympathizing with Edward or even providing meaning to his quest, but its never developed enough for the viewer to care. Whenever Edward was in danger, I found myself not caring the slightest for the character's wellbeing, but rather whichever ended the misery quicker.
As already established, the "plot," and I do use that word in the most non-literal sense possible, is a complete mess that toggles between taking itself way too serious and just plain absurdity. There's virtually zero character development, with the exception of learning some of Edward's backstory and his previous relationship with his ex. But the characters are all so uninspired and just act in such ridiculous fashions to even be believable.
Unfortunately Cage takes the role much too seriously. As a viewer, you feel embarrassed for him while watching the over-dramaticized performance that you can’t help but laugh at. Most of his antics are a complete riot as he attempts to locate the missing girl amongst the emotionless, non-cooperative, crazy women that call the island home. The contrast between Cage's over the top performance and that of the other flat actors just adds to the film's unintentional hilarity.
The audience and Cage would have been better off if he had accepted the film's crappiness and simply had fun with the role. It certainly would have added more comedic value to the serious shadowing overtone, which fails to be conveyed anyways. Even Cage admitted how “absurd” the movie was, but doesn’t acknowledge any hesitation while filming what had to be some really awkward sequences (Bear suit scene, I’m looking at you).
Riddled with ridiculous dialogue, overacting, scenes that don’t make sense, horrible editing, uninspired characters, and a B movie plot, the Wicker Man should NEVER have been rebooted. It is particularly insulting to the original, which featured Christopher Lee and is considered a classic among many horror movie enthusiasts. I can just imagine how disappointed moviegoers were after seeing this "movie" in theaters and the poor couples that never survived a first date because of it. I'm not even sure if the most sincerest of apologies would be adequate enough to forgive someone for dragging you to see this abomination. The thought of meeting the ridiculously high admissions prices to watch such a movie makes me sick.
Oh, and as for the ending, it doesn’t really matter how this "movie" concludes, since most will abandon it before finishing the journey. However, if you possess the endurance to sit through this remake, you deserve a medal (or a kick in the crotch?). And For what? All for a twist ending that fails to invoke any emotion, since any sane person would have stopped caring a long time ago.
It’s a wonder how this could have made it to postproduction, not to mention past prerelease screenings. Seriously, it begs the question how something this bad could have been made by accident. The only conclusion is, it couldn’t have been. It should have been called, Crazed Beewomen or Womanizing Cop. Hell, anything is better than calling it a remake of a movie, whose plot it's so loosely based off of. How about The Crazy Shenanigans of Nicholas Cage? Yeah, it would have a plot summary that read: "We got Cage really drunk, gave him a gun with blanks, and then put him in the most ridiculous situation we could think of and let him just go wild...". Short, sweat, and a more accurate description than anything you'd find on the back of the actual movie. I can promise you that.
See For Yourself
This fan made trailer does more justice to the film than an official trailer:
Oh and to answer your question, no. This compilation of scenes doesn’t make more sense if you sit through the actual movie.
Although the movie fails to deliver in the horror / thriller departments, I say let’s cut The Wicker Man a break and recognize it for what it truly is. It’s a comedy that depicts the exploits of a confused, disillusioned cop and the shenanigans that he gets into while on an island escapade.
I give it one Cage in a bear suit out of five.
Although I wouldn't highly recommend it too much for a serious watch, I say If you want to see something that’s so bad it’s good, check it out.
The Wicker Man Blu-ray
if you're hardcore collector and want to own one of the best, worst pieces of motion picture history in HD, here's the Blu-ray. Ironically is the same price as the DVD. But this is only if you want to experience Cage punching out women in High definition.