Please don't get me wrong; I think that advances in special effects and cinematography allow for a clearer representation of a director's vision. However, I can think of only a few remakes that even come close to the original in quality, and perhaps "The Bounty" with Anthony Hopkins and a young Mel Gibson is one of them. Unfortunately, remaking the 1973 "Papillon" that starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman is not one of them.
|Dustin Hoffman's Louis Dega|
|McQueen as Charriere (Papillon)|
The movie begins with scene in 1931 Paris, that portrays the backstory on how Charriere ends up accused of killing a pimp, which wasn't included in the original film, the only added punch worth mentioning. The problem is that everyone in the scene speaks like they're from Rhode Island. I don't have anything against New England, but the scene is in Paris; why would everyone be speaking that way? It made no sense, and lacked any authenticity. Half of the characters in the movie, including Malek spoke with a European accent, so why does a British actor speak like Jackson Teller? It didn't work for me at all. After watching the movie for over an hour, it did grow on me to a degree, and I think that was because of Malek's spot on portrayal of Louis Dega. Although not as good, but on close footing with Dustin Hoffman's performance in the original.
|Jax Teller or Papillon - I can't tell at all|
So here is the point of this rant; why the remake? There was no innovation in cinematography or special effects that enhanced the story (much of which has been found to be fictionalized anyway by Charriere himself). The set location of the original 1973 version was more authentic, the scenes more developed, and of course, starred the King of Cool. With all of the talented screenwriters in Hollywood and elsewhere, writing their hearts out, why do the Hollywood studios choose to rehash something already great? Are younger viewers averse to watching an "old movie". I still love to watch the "Caine Mutiny" with Humphrey Bogart, or "Twelve Angry Men" with Henry Fonda because they are superb movies, beautifully acted and meticulously produced. If these directors aren't adding any real enhancement, why are they rehashing artistic greatness? Is it just about the money?
|Rami Malek, keep and|
eye on him.
On a lighter note, I did enjoy a couple of cameos in the movie including Tommy Flanagan (Chibs from SOA) that plays a bit part as a bounty hunter along with a few other little Easter eggs. But in general, I am as disappointed with this film as I was with the TV show "Son's of Anarchy" (see earlier post http://www.managersandwich.com/2014/12/outlaw-management-my-anger-and.html). I look to movies as a pleasurable escape. I don't need happy endings, I need to see that whoever made the film gives a shit about all the money and time that is spent putting it together. Is that so much to ask?