Poltergeist online movie review - Nothing we haven't seen before, but it's decent.
I understand that the original is considered a classic, but I'm also of the mind that even the original is not without it's faults.
I'm saying this because I think that what may have been lacking in the original is handled better with the remake. Conversely what this version lacks, the original provided.
For starters, the original had absolutely no preamble. The first scenes of Carol Ann going to the flickering TV literally occurred within minutes of the film's opening. It always seemed rushed to me that there was no introduction of sorts. This film does better at providing a build up, if somewhat a small one. It doesn't just thrust you into the paranormal situation straight out of the gate.
The thing is with remakes, people are already prepared to naysay, partly because the majority of naysayers are old enough to remember the original and will nearly always choose the "good ole days". We all do it, with movies, with music, what have you. Just as with newer generation music, those who can remember music from even 10-15 years ago will find that new music usually just plain sucks. It's the same for horror remakes unfortunately. With a film like Poltergeist, which is a staple of the paranormal subgenre, there is almost no winning. I've asked myself what could the writers/director have done differently that would appease those going into it having put the original on a pedestal. And frankly I can't think of too much that could have been changed that would somehow make these type of people happy.
To start: The parents in this remake are more likable in my humble opinion. The father in particular has a great deal more personality than Craig T. Nelson had. I prefer them as a couple to Nelson and JoBeth Williams. The children here leaving something to be desired however. While they get the job done, the children of the original were far superior actors.
I will grant the original had more atmosphere and understated tension than did this one. There was a general feeling of unease that held through the film even while nothing of consequence was occurring. The remake lacked this, and I believe this may be the major hang up of the film. There were many BOO! moments that were sometimes effective. However there was no ever coiling tension. It was more of a case of peaks and pits. The energy was released as soon as the BOO! moment occurred. Wash, rinse, repeat.
On the other hand the remake benefits from advancements in special fx and technology. The writers obviously had more liberties with which to exploit the appearance of the supernatural presence. (Think cell phones, ipads, etc.) The tree, the spirits, etc naturally were far better looking in this remake than they were for the original, but clearly that's to be expected. My major beef with the original was that the final act turned too far away from horror into unscary sci-fi; particularly toward the end. That really puts me off from being a die hard "original" defender.
I guess what I'm saying is this: I will be one of the few who can see the merits of both films. From what I've read thus far, most either really enjoyed it or can't get over the fact that it's not the original (which it could never be anyway so that's a fight this film will never win). This remake has some qualities I think serve the story better than the original even, while at the same time I don't think it surpassed the original in the most important aspects. Still, it was a FUN film. I came to be entertained, and I was entertained for 91 minutes. Maybe my expectations were too low? Perhaps, however my ultimate decision rests on whether or not a film entertained me.
If you're going into it with a very high opinion of the original, I doubt that you will get much enjoyment from it. If you're the type to nitpick at small things, I doubt that you will get much enjoyment from it. If you just like to sit back and have a little excitement for a couple hours, you could do FAR worse than this film. It's decent enough that I don't regret shelling out the $$ to see it in theaters. Just don't expect anything groundbreaking. But then again you probably didn't because after all........it's the dreaded remake! My rating: 6/10