Thursday, June 26, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Rosemary’s Baby (2014) **

TV-14, 170 min.
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Writers: Scott Abbott, James Wong, Ira Levin (novels “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Son of Rosemary”)
Starring: Zoe Saldana, Patrick J. Adams, Carole Bouquet, Jason Isaacs, Christina Cole, Olivier Rabourdin, François Civil, Rosemarie La Vaullée, Frédéric Pierrot, Féodor Atkine, Oisin Stack

Before I watched NBC’s two-night mini-series event “Rosemary’s Baby”, I wondered what the point of remaking this horror classic could be. After watching it, the question remains. There is no way the filmmakers went into this project without asking themselves the same question, so they must’ve had their reasons. I noticed in the credits sequence that the new version’s star, Zoe Saldana, was listed as one of the movie’s producers along with several other family members. I wonder if they were fans of Ira Levin’s books. I notice the credits cite both the original “Rosemary’s Baby” novel and its sequel.

As for the movie itself, it isn’t terrible. It’s a good effort. There are some good aspects to it, some creepy elements, but it just doesn’t live up to Roman Polanski’s 1968 film. While Saldana is a great actress and she doesn’t really step wrong here, I find that the vulnerability of Mia Farrow in the Rosemary role is just more effective. That’s really what is missing from this version—vulnerability. That’s the main problem with being pregnant. The woman has so much more to protect, so much more to loose. Is there a more vulnerable point in a woman’s life than during pregnancy? Saldana just never seems vulnerable enough.

Spoilers ahead! I also question the ending a bit. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the ’68 film, but what I remember is Farrow coming into the room brandishing a knife to find the coven and the baby in his bassinette. Then she sees the baby and immediately goes into mother mode and we see the baby’s hand rise up out of the bassinette looking like some sort of demon’s hand. Maybe I’m just making that up, but that's how I remember it. This time they show us the baby. Much less is left to the audience’s imagination. If I’m wrong about what I saw in the original that just further proves my point, because not seeing the baby made it much easier to imagine just what horror they had brought into this world. So, watch the original and save yourself some time in the process; it’s shorter.

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