*** Official EXORCIST: The Beginning Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Travis W., Aug 20, 2004.

  1. Travis W.

    Travis W. Second Unit

    Jun 11, 2004
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    I saw it last night and I didn't think it was that bad. I mean it's nothing great but it's certainly above the other turkies released this year. A little too many "music sting" scares for my tastes but some scenes were genuinely creepy. 2.5 out of 4.
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    Real Name:
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Exorcist: The Beginning". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  3. Adam_WM

    Adam_WM Screenwriter

    Oct 25, 2001
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    I saw it yesterday and I am still recovering. This piece of garbage, er, I mean movie was everything the EXORCIST was NOT. It was excessive, inappropriatly gory, badly written, mostly badly acted (I saw mostly because Stellan Skaarsgard was great!), loaded with bad CGI, etc. etc. I can't see how the Paul Schrader version can't be better than this. Reny Harlin... shame on you.
  4. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

    Aug 31, 2001
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    Caught the film last night. A real disappointment. Merrin's World War II experiences are very disturbing, and could've been used to much greater effect in a better movie. Stellen Skarsgrad could've given an excellent performance if paired with the right director and screenplay. What a shame that such a dramatic concept wasn't properly taken advantage of [​IMG]
  5. Dave Hackman

    Dave Hackman Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 11, 2000
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    Your soul will be tested by this horrendously written and directed film. The story is all over the place, one moment you are on an archeological dig looking for a lost church, then a Nazi officer is screaming at you while shooting defenseless men, women and children. There is a dermatological challenged drunk wooing a holocaust-surviving doctor and a couple of possessed people and animals roaming around with one human mostly in a coma the other drawing pictures and cutting himself.

    The setting looks like Serpent and the Rainbow vs. Saving Private Ryan with a touch of Ghost and the Darkness.

    The special effects were atrocious, with a very unreal rendition of possessed coyotes and a laughable spider crawl of the possessed. The damn bloody birds were annoying too.

    The Voodoo soundtrack was uneventful and when played backwards may reveal a secret message that states don’t see this film.

    The best part of this movie is the comedic ending with an unbelievably funny demonic vocal outburst and a Crouching Priest Hidden Demon wirework flying sequence.

    I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.

  6. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

    Nov 5, 2003
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    Sorry if I've misunderstood the way these threads work, as I've gone into more depth in the "discussion" thread, but I was pleasantly surprised by Renny Harlin's version. I expected a disaster and actually got a good film, worthy as a prequel setting up the original EXORCIST. Stellan Skarsgard was outstanding as a younger version of Max Von Sydow's Father Merrin, who's lost his faith. Character driven, moments of shock and an aura of evil permeates throughout.

    Not a great film, and the climax came off a bit on the comical side, but much better than I ever expected. Looking forward to Paul Schrader's stab at the material.
  7. BarryS

    BarryS Second Unit

    Aug 1, 2002
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    I saw the movie yesterday, and while I certainly didn't expect a masterpiece (especially not from Renny "Cutthroat Island" Harlin), I thought it might be entertaining and interesting to see the story of Father Merrin. Well, I found the first two-thirds or so of the film enjoyable, highlighted by Vittorio Storaro's lovely photography. The last third of the film, however, is horrendously bad. Atrocious. Awful. It's almost as if the ending is from a completely different movie. I know it was an unusually troubled production, but who the hell thought this was the best way to end the movie?? They must have been possessed by Pazuzu themselves. Also, the film had way too many false scares and very little... errr.. make that no... actual terror.

    I was also disappointed that the ending was inconsistent with the original film. Doesn't the priest say in the original that the exorcism in Africa lasted months and nearly killed Father Merrin? Not to mention the (hopefully) unintentional humor. What a horrible, disappointing ending.

    I give it [​IMG][​IMG] solely for Storaro's cinematography, and hope that Paul Schrader's version sees the light of day.
  8. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

    Jan 16, 2002
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    Real Name:
    Bryan Tuck
    I really had no idea what to expect from this film, so I tried to look at it with an open mind. A little background: the original (the original original) Exorcist is one of my favorite films; I thought The Heretic was ridiculous; and even though Legion had a good story, I didn't think it was very well-directed (curious about Blatty's original cut, though).

    Now we come to The Beginning, and it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Though highly, highly, flawed, it at least felt like a real movie.

    Renny Harlin, I believe, could be a really good filmmaker if people would just let him be; and he stages some scenes, particularly the early ones in the unearthed church, pretty admirably. He probably had the studio riding him pretty hard here, though, and some scenes show signs of being a little rushed. Vittorio Storaro's cinematography is pretty nice, though most of the film looks like it was framed for the 2:1 ratio of his new Extracto-Vision, or whatever it's called, rather than for the 2.35:1 showing in theaters. I also thought Trevor Rabin's score was surprisingly restrained and fairly effective.

    Most of the technical aspects (aside from some unnecessary CGI) are pretty well-executed, but the story did have some problems, made all the more frustrating by the fact that it seems to be really trying to tie in with the future events of the first film, but then it turns around and contradicts them. As BarryS pointed out:

    The twist at the end really doesn't match up with Merrin's backstory in the first film, but I thought maybe they could have explained it with a kind of cover-up or something, telling the church that it was the boy that was possessed. Of course, that would be really reaching.

    At any rate, it completely contradicts what happened in Exorcist II, where James Earl Jones actually played the boy that was possessed. Of course, that film is so incoherent, who knows what was really going on?

    At any rate, Izabella Scorupco's character isn't even in Paul Schrader's version, so maybe that element won't be there. As a side note, during her possession scenes, I did like that they tried to make the demon's voice sound similar to Mercedes McCambridge, and not just a generic "demon" voice.

    I also thought it was funny that at the beginning they never seemed to be able to decide how old the church was. First, it was supposed to have been built in 5 A.D. (which actually should be A.D. 5, anyway :p) ), then they said it was 1500 years old, then Merrin said it was there 500 years before Christianity arrived, which would have been ca. 500 B.C. [​IMG] They seemed to settle on "1500 years ago" later in the film.

    On top of all this, aside from some creepiness in the early scenes, the film is never realy scary. And the aforementioned contradictions make it hard to accept as part of the Exorcist saga (don't know if that's the right word or not [​IMG] ). That last shot was a nice touch, though.

    At any rate, like I said, not a complete wash, but still nothing special. Looking forward to Schrader's version, again with an open mind.

    Grade: C
  9. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

    Feb 6, 2001
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    More than ever, I am interested in seeing Schrader's version. I enjoyed the movie for about 100 minutes. I thought it was well done for the most part, even if it wasn't terribly scary. The cinematography and sets were beautiful and I was engaged in the story.


    That finale! Sweet Jesus, were they just on crack and had about two hours to finish up? I think this is the worst climax I've ever seen, at least in execution, and I think it ruined everything that came before it.

    I hated The end possession sequence was just blatantly ripping off the original film. They tried to make Sarah look like the possessed Regan for starters. Even worse, the demon voice was laughable, especially when the obscenities started flying. The unintentional hilarity of "juicy ass" surpasses Exorcist II on the chuckle scale.

    Then they had her leaping around the walls...whatever.

    Just awful. I know Renny Harlin was up against time on this, but I really want to slap someone and find out why they would wreck what could have been a perfectly satisfying film. I even forgave those awful CGI hyenas up until that point!
  10. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Mar 15, 1999
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    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    I had nothing but utter contempt for this film from it's inception. I was 100% positive it would be nothing more than a needless prequel (were given the info we need to hear in the first film, not necessary to see it) who's only purpose is to separate us from our cash.

    Indeed, the instant I heard that Renny Harlin had directed it, I would have bet everything that I own that it would be nothing more than a standard new millenium horror film with no brain in it's head. I then saw the documentary on E! about the series and when they got around to talking about this film, I was both amused and angered. Three director's, two different cut's because the film wasn't quote "Scary enough to appeal to a worldwide audience" (that right there means big trouble when a studio head says that) and the fact that someone stated that Morgan Creek wanted to make a more "conventional" horror film.

    All these things pointed to one thing, disaster, and the fact that everyone involved completely missed the point of the untouchable original (The Exorcist III came very close, I really love that film).

    I am very interested in seeing Paul Schrader's cut though, ten to one it will be better that Harlin's cut. Still bad, just better. The fact that the studio head said it would'nt appeal to a worldwide audience made me want to see THAT version immediately.

    Anyway, saw it on opening day, feeling very much like the Morgan Creeks whore by giving my money to the guy at the box office window.

    A couple of hours later...feeling's confirmed.

    That's all I have to say.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

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