I am not immediately against a movie just because it is a remake. I think that in some cases, even when it isn’t necessarily better or as good as the original, it can add something. It is interesting to see how someone else interprets scenes, how they are altered or accentuated. All this is just to tell you that I wasn’t biased when I watch the TV version of All Quiet on the Western Front. After having watched it, I am not even disappointed as I didn’t expect anything. No, I’m not disappointed, I’m horrified. This is a shockingly bad movie that manages to take the depth out of all the profound scenes that you can see in the original. The filming is oddly tacky and the acting is so bad that I was wondering if the actual aim wasn’t a parody. I have hardly ever seen so many people die in such a melodramatic way outside of an opera stage. I was surprised the actors weren’t holding banners stating “I’m dead” at the end of each scene. How ostentatious should you be? Unless you want to make your public feel like total idiots subtlety would be what you should strive for. This message seems to have been lost on the director. What I can really not forgive is how a scene like that fabulous “boots scene” was altered to total insignificance.
I must at least say one good thing, Ernest Borgnine as Kat and Ian Holm as Himmelstoss were convincing. And all the others? It was quite daring to cast Richard Thomas as Paul Bäumer but to have him do so many voice overs reminiscent of his time as John-Boy…Bah.
If you care to see a movie of All Quiet on the Western Front stick with Lewis Milestone’s 1930 original. It truly is a masterpiece. If you are not into silent movie feel or very old movies you will have to wait for the next remake which is due in 2012 starring Daniel Radcliffe (no, it isn’t a convincing choice). Hopefully it will be much better than what I had to endure last night.
For those of you who still want to know what it is all about here’s a very brief summary:
Based on Erich Maria Remarque’s outstanding eponymous novel, All Quiet on the Western Front shows how an enthusiastic young German school boy volunteers to participate in WWI. Once he ‘s in the trenches and experiences the horror of trench warfare and sees his friends die all around him, he soon faces utter disillusionment.
Rating? Do I have to? 2/5 But only because I am kind.
Here is a short scene. It is rather one of the better ones.