It’s hard for me to hate on Nic Cage.
Seriously, I have a lot of love for the man. I think it stems from the fact that Cage wasn’t going to settle for a merely mediocre film career; goddammit, if he was going to be bad, he was going to be the worst of the very worst. He would make movies like Bangkok Dangerous and Next sheerly for the awful factor because he already got his damn Academy Award, so why not excel in the other direction? (This, at least, is what I tell myself when I curl up with a Nicolas Cage movie on a Saturday night.)
There is something intangible, something nominally endearing about Cage that I just can’t shake. Even when he’s at his worst, I just kind of shake my head. “Oh, Nicolas,” I mentally say and I carry on. Any other actor would cause a disgusting stream of invective to exit my mouth, but not Cage. Oh, no. And why, I’ve never really become quite certain. Cage just makes bad movies, and I just watch them and giggle, and we both carry on like things are right in the world.
So The Wicker Man is no exception. I know I should be RIGHTEOUSLY INDIGNANT that they remade this one. The original was uber-cool and featured bad-ass Christopher Lee, so remaking it – the sense it does not make. But this is Nicolas Cage World and we don’t ask questions there, because the answers we would get in Nicolas Cage World make little to no sense.
The movie itself is somewhat faithful to the original; man gets on this creepy island, searching for a lost little girl and at the end discovers he’s intended for a ritual sacrifice because the island’s inhabitants follow some old-school pagan religion. Did I spoil you? Oops. Oh, well.
It’s hard for me to lump this in the same category as Ax ‘Em or Midnight Skater simply because this movie brings horrible, disgusting, unintentional hilarity at every turn. And thanks to YouTube, you can see them all compiled here:
NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEEEEEEEEES! AHHHHHHHH!
I’d say the only thing that kind of disturbs me about this version of The Wicker Man is the change made to make the society a “Celtic pagan” community where women are the utter psychos, rather than an island of women and men. It makes my feminist-ire bone tickle in a funny way, to tell you the truth.
Cage is a fount of hysterics. He’s a master of awful cinema. And so, while I admit The Wicker Man is truly horrific, while it’s nothing like the original, while it is nothing like what it set out to be…I laughed far more than I have at other straight-up comedies.
And for all you Cage haters? The ending scenes are worth it for you. Watching Cage’s bones get shattered and then, presumably, watching him burn to death will more than satisfy your vengeful bloodlust for movies like Guarding Tess and Con Air.
If you’re renting the DVD, be aware; the filmmakers did away with the original ending and tacked on an “alternate ending”. I spent my final viewing experience pissed off because you have no option to view the original theatrical ending like you do on most DVDs. Why am I pissed? Because apparently I missed thirty or so seconds of James Franco, who was in the original theatrical ending. NOW THAT would’ve made The Wicker Man infinitely better, because James Franco is hot and I am nothing if not terrifically shallow.
Oh, Nicolas. What WON’T you do?