MOVIE REVIEW: “The Wicker Man” stars Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider, Rage), Kate Beahan (The Matrix Revolutions, Fightplan), Ellen Burstyn (Interstellar, Requiem for a Dream), Diane Delano (The Ladykillers, The River Wild), Molly Parker (The Road, Deadwood), Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under, The Aviator), and Leelee Sobieski (Eyes Wide Shut, Joy Ride). The screenplay is written by Neil LaBute (Possession, Your Friends & Neighbors) who also directed the film. After receiving a letter from his ex-wife, Willow (Beahan), about her daughter mysteriously going missing, California cop Edward Malus (Cage) visits her at the private island of SummersIsle to help look for the girl. Once there, Malus discovers that there is more to this missing person’s case than there actually is.
NOT THE BEES! Oh yes my friends, you’ve read it right: “The Wicker Man,” starring everyone’s favorite actor, Nic Cage! I know, not many people respect Nicolas Cage, but I actually do. The guy manages to entertain me in any movie he is in, no matter how horrible it is (he is generally in a lot of bad releases, especially now). So in getting “The Wicker Man” as a double gag gift for Christmas (it was disguised as one of my most hated films, “Into the Woods”) from my pal Captain Critic, I was pumped to finally see this movie that everyone has been praising for in the worst of ways. It’s a bad film; in fact, it’s utter trash, but I loved watching every minute of it. The story itself makes absolutely no sense, the acting is horrible, and there are several scenes that are so terrible that they are hilarious. Because of how this movie is so bad, everyone knows the range of scoring that I will give it, so the only thing I can offer in my review is my observations, which in turn reveals several spoilers. So, if you ever want to watch this for the first time and be shocked at how bad it is, don’t read the rest of this review. You have been warned. Anyway, this feature opens up to a diner in which we see a policeman eating. He has a partner with him, who is in fact Nicolas Cage. Cage is reading a tape that is supposedly a motivational video. He buys it and it is never brought up again. This sets up an overall theme of this release: things are brought up, usually once, but never explained. So Nic Cage is then seen cruising around in his hefty cop motorcycle and sees a vehicle driving down the road. A doll flies out of it and Cage pulls a sweet move to pick up the doll while driving. He pulls over the car, gives this demon-looking child her toy back, and the car ends up getting hit by a truck, going the wrong direction on the road, for NO GOOD REASON. Not only did the people survive inside, but they quickly died after when the car spontaneously combusted. This is our opening money-shot. The title runs on the screen and then the rest of our picture commences. There are several more things that I can talk about in this release, but that’s too much typing, and I’m sure no one wants to read all of it, so I’ll just give the basic points. The whole island that Nicolas Cage visits in order to find his ex-wife’s child is completely secluded. How he was able to take a boat out there, I don’t know. It read where it was on a website, but yet the island is full of witches who can’t use cell phones. Who set up the website page, I don’t know, but we just roll with it. Once Cage arrived on the island, that’s where all common sense is tossed out the window, whatever was left anyway. Mostly all the witches on this island are old hags who can apparently beat the crap out of anyone who crosses their way (some decrepit lady tore out one guys eyes and cut off his hands) and don’t want travelers entering their island. Cage is a policeman, so his first thing he tries to do is interrogate people, but NONE OF THEM PROVIDE ANY SENSE. His ex-wife? Well, every time she speaks she cuts herself off halfway through a sentence, so good luck trying to talk to her! I had no clue of what was going on in this movie. Not that it was unpredictable, trust me it was, but that it was an incoherent mess. Several scenes didn’t need to be there, but yet they were anyway, like how Nic Cage went to a barn at night trying to find the girl, whose name is Rowan. I guess the writer wanted an action scene so when Cage went into the barn, he went upstairs and almost fell through the floor. Just throw in some suspenseful music with Cage struggling to climb back up and bam! You’ve got yourself an expendable, not-needed, action scene that wasn’t attached to the plot whatsoever. It did make me laugh though, so good job! When I discussed about things being brought up once, but then being dropped with no explanation, I forgot to mention that there is one exception. The scene with the car getting hit by the truck was brought up several times in dreams and hallucinations by Nic Cage. It replays the same scene over and over again and usually Cage pops some pills to make it go away. Is there reasoning to why this scene gets replayed over and over again? NO! The more we venture into this story, the more weary we are as a viewer of this garbage. The same goes for Nicolas Cage, who at times feels just like we are about these situations. It takes until the halfway point for him to snap and break loose on the island, and boy was it a show! He punched a mannish looking woman in the face, kicked another woman against the wall, and ran around breaking into houses to find Rowan while pointing a gun at children. It was fantastic. It was like he was expressing my rage at this horrid release and for the fact that I hated the witches on this island. There are very few men on this small blip on the map and they all are illiterate, bumbling bafoons whose only purpose to the witches is to breed. Besides that point, a harvest festival is beginning, and Nic Cage feels like Rowan will be a part of it since they sacrifice someone for the curse put upon their glorious honey a year back. Wait, they are upset over honey?! How can that get cursed anyway? The bees don’t function? I mean, Nic Cage ran through a field one time and almost died by the many bees that swarmed him. He is coincidentally allergic. I think the bees are working just fine. So anyway, Cage is sneaking into this harvest festival disguised as a bear since all of its participants are wearing animal costumes (WHY!?). He sees Rowan being put up for sacrifice so he runs up to her, punches a witch standing beside her in the face (visualize this because he’s in a bear costume while doing it), and takes Rowan into the woods. Where will he go? I don’t know because the pilot of the only sea plane got his eyes cut out of his skull and his mouth sewn shut by a 100-year-old woman. But he runs anyway, only to be lead into a trap by Rowan herself. The old people caught up to Nic Cage and had him surrounded. It was all an evil plot by his ex-wife for he is the sacrifice that will bring back their honey. Boy, that’s one of the most idiotic sentences that I have ever written. Poor Nic Cage tried to fight them off, but his gun didn’t have any bullets, for his ex took them all (I never saw her take his gun once throughout the movie). So he drop kicks a bunch of them amazingly and then the legendary scene is brought upon. Yes folks, the “not the bees!” scene. Now get this: that was an alternate ending. I watched the theatrical version where that scene was actually cut out. It shouldn’t even be called an alternate ending because it changed nothing, it only added an extra scene. Did we need it? Yes! If you haven’t seen the scene, look it up, it’s pure gold. Eventually Nic Cage is taken to a huge, wooden-statue-cage-thingy where he is burned alive inside and our feature ends. But wait, there’s more! A young James Franco is introduced at the end where we learn that the witches will pick him to be the next sacrifice, seeing as how he meets some of them at a bar. I guess Cage’s sacrifice didn’t work? I mean, come on ladies, the bees are working fine now that you burned Nic in his Cage (see what I did there?). Some loose ends aren’t tied; actually a lot of them aren’t. Like how Cage was almost killed by the witches repeatedly throughout the release even though they needed him in the end to commence the sacrifice. But I don’t care. I had fun watching this abomination of cinema that supposedly corporate executives thought was good, and I’m sure anyone would think so too. There is nothing but entertainment to offer from this hogwash of a story, and even though it’s bad, I recommend anyone to check it out. FINAL SCORE: 34%= Burnt Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Burnt Hall of Shame.
Here is the trailer: