Friday, February 28, 2014

Scott's Op/Ed: 'The Birds' Lovers Beware, because Michael Bay is Here

Scott offers up some heartfelt thoughts on yet another Michael Bay produced horror reboot. This time the once thought to be untouchable, The Birds.

----------------------------------------------------------

As a fan of movies, there are many things that I love, and a lot of those come from the realm of the horror genre. I absolutely love The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a movie which used atmosphere and a drawn out scene around a dinner table to show the horror and insanity that a person was forced to endure. I was a huge fan of Friday the 13th, a slasher flick that did not have a lumbering mammoth, but rather a psychotic mother of a boy who had tragically died. A Nightmare on Elm Street was a brilliant concept that was cunningly creepy for audiences, as we realized that we were not even safe from the horrible things of this world in our own dreams. And I cannot forget to mention The Amityville Horror, which, while not being the greatest movie ever made, played well off of the idea that this was indeed something that happened in real life; and watching it before I knew it was a hoax just added to the experience.

Each of the movies I mentioned, share multiple things in common. First off, they were each the beginnings of franchises that would last for decades, spawning more and more sequels that took the universe in which they lived further and further away from what they originally were. Secondly, they all had a unique feel to them. These movies were not all carbon copies of each other, but rather films that introduced concepts, characters, and terrors that fit in well with the story that they were to tell. Thirdly, they each had an enormous impact on the genre and would change exactly how movies would be made forever.

I have a soft spot in my heart for each of those movies, and can remember precisely the very first time that I saw them and was charmed by what they brought into my life. I watched The Amityville Horror at my parent’s house late one night after renting it with my sister as a teenager. I saw Friday the 13thwith a good friend as part of our ‘crappy movie nights,’ only to discover the quality and character of the movie which elevated it past many horrors. I watched A Nightmare on Elm Street with a friend at his house when his mother rented the movie for us because we were too young. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was watched with my ‘crappy movie’ friend, a film that we quickly recognized as a classic.

 How many movies are there like that, where we can quickly recall exactly where we were and who we were with the very first time we watched them? A small percentage, I would imagine. When something sticks with us so much, it is not just a part of our history with movies, but it is a solidified part of our lives, something that our minds and hearts have never forgotten because of the significance of the moment.

Another film that I can recall seeing for the first time was The Birds. It was on VHS, and it was when I was living in North Bay, Ontario as a teenager. It was in the afternoon in the winter, and the sun was coming into the living room and reflecting off of the snow, giving the family room a warm light. I had tracked down The Birds after falling in love with Psycho, a movie that is still an all-time favourite. As I watched The Birds, I was mesmerized by the pace that it took in telling its tale. While some people may complain that there was too much build up, my thought was that it was perfect… the story was not about birds attacking, but about these people caught up in a terrifying scenario, and so I loved that so much attention was given to the characters.

The Birds is a movie that now can claim to have something in common with the previous films that I mentioned, and that is that Michael Bay will be producing a remake of it, something which causes me some lament. All of the aspects that made the movies I mentioned great were completely ditched in Bay’s remakes, and they simply became loud, blood splattered, generic sequels, not even worthy of being called ‘remakes.’

Some could argue otherwise, but they really did have more of a feel of just picking up with the character and style that the tired franchises had left off with in their sequels, and never actually looked to do anything other than progress that style and not progress the story.

Among all of those, A Nightmare on Elm Street caused me the most grief. The villain, a quickly recognizable maniac named Freddy who oozed personality and style under his psychotic behaviour, was replaced by a bland and emotionless version that missed out on what was alluring about the antagonist in the first place. Add to that the inclusion of noise… lots and lots of loud, un-needed noise, which did nothing other than grind down on my will to live. It was a lifeless, impotent movie, one that destroyed the memory of the original.

And today, after hearing that The Birds is going to be produced by Michael Bay, I feel that I should send out a warning to people who are fans of the original. Don’t see it. That is the best advice that I can give you. Each of the franchises that have been reanimated by Bay have all lost each of the key components that made them stand out in the first place, and this is sure to happen again. We will most likely lose out on the human side of the story, and more likely be treated to rock and roll CGI birds that will come at us in 3D and make lots of loud noises. This movie, like the others, will most likely only end up being an obnoxious shell of what you so deeply loved. Do yourself the best favour you can; stay home from the theatre and rent the original instead. You know you will be bound to love it.

Also, if you love Tora, Tora, Tora and have not seen Pearl Harbour, the same advice applies for all of the same reasons.

No comments:

Post a Comment