This week, I look at a couple of reviews of Carrie.
Overall, the critics agree on most points (it’s pretty bad); it is in the telling that I find interesting.
The amount of spoilers in the reviews is staggering. They tell all: the opening scenes of each movie, plot changes between the two versions, original lines of dialog that remain in the new version, the physical appearance of each Carrie and each mother, the exact impact of technological advances on the plot in the remake …I’ll stop at that.
Well, folks, you are in luck! I was able to read the full reviews. As someone is immune to Chicken Pox because they already had it, I am immune to Carrie spoilers because I saw the original when it hit theaters in 1976. (BTW, I am also immune to Chicken Pox.)
You shall get no spoilers from me, but I will tell you the plot: based on Stephen King’s novel of the same title, Carrie is about a teenager who has an overbearing fundamentalist-Christian mother. She is teased at school; she discovers that she has telekinetic powers; a prom ensues.
Here are my reviews of three movie reviews of Carrie, each by a critic with a pronounced writing style–
1. The Pretentious Critic: David Edelstein, Vulture.com (10/18/2013)
(Edelstein is ubiquitous in three types of media. He has written for New York Magazine, for the web on Slate.com and Vulture.com, and for the radio: he reads his reviews on Fresh Air, one of NPR’s radio shows.)
To get Edelstein’s opinion of the movie, look no further than the title of the review–
On Its Own, Carrie Is Just Uninspired; Next to the Original, It’s Atrocious
To get the full import of Edelstein’s prose, look to how he describes the original Carrie:
Brian De Palma’s 1976 Carrie is well-nigh perfect — a lyric, Expressionistic horror classic with the greatest female performance (by Sissy Spacek) in genre history….
To appreciate Edelstein’s self-respect, note how, within one paragraph, he passes judgement upon kids in general, the “the Glee generation” (whatever that is), and Director Kimberly Pierce (I put in the bolds):
I imagine kids will line up for Carrie, though — it panders to their sense of entitlement, and it ends with a tidy anti-bullying message….Maybe the Glee generation will even prefer this version… Kimberly Peirce should hang her head in shame.
2. The Intellectual Critic: Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor, October 18th, 2013
Rainer’s eloquent disdain for the remake:
Peirce doesn’t have DePalma’s dirty-minded adolescent temperament or his voluptuous sense of dread.
The power of Rainer’s intellect:
–DePalma’s piece was a frightful piece of japery about a teenager….
Japery: (n) practical joke
—The final image is a tired frisson….
Frisson: (n) sudden, passing sensation of excitement, a shudder of emotion, thrill.
3. The Alliterative Critic
Christy Lemire, Christylemire.com (former reviewer for the AP and RogerEbert.com)
Pulling quotes from Christy Lemire’s review, I pose two Q’s. You’ll see literary techniques she uses in bold. One technique is alliteration. (That’s the only one I can identify at this time of night):
Q: Why is the first Carrie better than the current one?
A: There was something shockingly raw about DePalma’s direction; the performances and the very presence of Sissy Spacek as the skittish title character and Piper Laurie as her smothering mother seemed almost animalistic in their purity.
Q: What would you think of Carrie if it were not a remake?
A: If this were the only “Carrie” that ever existed, we probably would all view it as a sturdy and startling example of the genre.