*** THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Manchurian Candidate". 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.



    Crawdaddy
     
  2. JasonB

    JasonB Agent

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    I've never seen the original so take what I have to say with a grain of salt.

    I absolutely loved it! Exceptional acting by Denzel and a fine performance from the rest of the cast. Great cinematography! Highly recommended thriller.
     
  3. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    I love the original, and I certainly don't think this remake has the devastating power of the '62 version, but I thought it was well done and worth seeing.
     
  4. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Jonathan Demme’s The Manchurian Candidate is a fine retelling and update of the 1962 classic directed by John Frankenheimer. Naturally, it is the original that stands out between the two where now evil corporations take the place of brainwashing Communists as the scheming villains.

    The timing of this film’s release could not have been any better especially just right after last night’s conclusion of the Democratic National Convention.

    This current version though, is still very well-acted by Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep and Liev Shriber who all give their own interpretations of the same characters played by Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey, respectively, in the original.

    The Manchurian Candidate rates [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four).

    ~Edwin
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I liked the original more, and the remake is probably 15 minutes too long, but the performances are overall pretty good. The re-imagined ending was too predictable to a fault.

    I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    This film struck me as "too cute by half" in that it tried to take a very well regarded film and "tweak it" some of the tweaks seemed to work, others did not. The film is definitely heavy on the amount of Denzl you get, you know he's getting top dollar [​IMG] But it needed to be trimmed down. More then that, in comparison to the original, some of the urgency and acting force just didn't click the same.

    It's still not a bad film.

    C+/B-. I normally do stars, but I'm trying to think about how to do 2.75 stars [​IMG]
     
  7. Ryan FB

    Ryan FB Second Unit

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    Overall, this film left me unimpressed. The plot is established in a predictable manner, and then goes nowhere. The same plot points are reinforced and played out over and over, with little effect of advancing the movie, characters, or impact at all. There are some truly enjoyable moments, but they are few and far between. The actors do what they can with what they're given, and the director succeeds in establishing an appropriately alien, somewhat distant feel to the movie. However, I never felt that the elements combined to consistently engage the audience in what could have been an intriguing film, but winds up being an exercise in filmmaking by rote.

    5.4/10
     
  8. Kristian

    Kristian Supporting Actor

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    Cold. Dark. Unsettling. All adjectives that connect Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs to his latest film, The Manchurian Candidate. But where Lambs was thrilling and had great characters in Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter, Manchurian is emotionally unrewarding and has characters that don't leave any lasting impression. While Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep and Liev Schreiber show once again that they are great actors, they didn't make me care for the story at all. The best thing I can say is that it is better than Demme's previous film, The Truth About Charlie.

    I give the film a C+, although I'm starting to feel that that's being too generous. And for the record, I have not seen the original film.
     
  9. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Well done for the most part. Intense and suspenseful. Washington is great as usual, making you believe even when you don't want to.

    Our crowd cheered and laughed when he knocked the hell out of the smart ass federal officer when he was being interrogated.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. AlexanderS

    AlexanderS Second Unit

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    As much as I enjoyed the performance by Merryl Streep, who was every bit Angela Lansbury's equal, I just could not get into this movie at all. It just seemed that there was no pacing. Everything kind of dragged along with the plot not really going anywhere. When the tension would mound and you'd get the feeling that something was coming, something big, it just fell flat. The performances didn't live up to their predecessors either. 2 out of 5.
     
  11. Terry St

    Terry St Second Unit

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    The new version is a good movie, but nowhere near as good as Sinatra's version. For some reason the makers of the new film decided to change around a few things just to surprise those who had seen the first film. Unfortunately, instead of surprising anyone they just opened up gaping plot holes. e.g.

    In the original film, Raymond Shaw is programmed to be the perfect untraceable assassin. As a socially affluent member of a prestigious political family he is almost above suspicion, and his programming allows him to kill without remembering the act. No guilt, no remorse. Nothing to give him away. In the new version Marco is instead used as the assassin, but his programming is totally wasted. The untraceable remorseless killer is ordered to commit suicide. Worse yet, all that expensive top-secret hardware in his brain is going to wind up on some autopsy slab, further complicating the aftermath. It's also worth considering the iinconsistentgenius/stupidity of Eleanor Shaw. The same woman who is smart enough to bully her son's way onto the ticket is stupid enough to send him out like a cheap assassin. What sort of idiot would risk their puppet-president to do a job that any crony could do? Heck, why not just call up Marco?


    In other aspects the new version is merely different than the old version. I expect those who haven't seen the old version won't have a hugely negative reaction to these items, but having seen the old version they just seemed wrong.

    One example is Marco's girlfriend. In Sinatra's version, Janet Leigh inexplicably approaches Sinatra when he's obviously seriously messed up and engages in one of cinema's all-time oddest conversations. This conversation has led many to speculate that Leigh was actually Marco's operator in the 1962 version. However, at best her role is puzzling and ambiguous. In the new version Rosie is an FBI agent assigned to investigate Marco, ostensibly by seducing him. (I'm sure the FBI has an entire seduction branch!) I suppose that, despite the preposterous premise, it does tie things up a bit neater. Still, it just seems wrong.


    I think the biggest downfall of the new version is it's failure to develop any of the characters. Despite running 4 minutes longer than the 1962 version, all of the small-talk of the original is completely missing. We never get any personal details about Marco beyond the fact that he eats a lot of noodles and where he gets his cheques from. Shaw is even worse. The entire romance between Shaw and Jocelyn, the one thing that humanized Shaw in the original, is boiled down to a 30 second conversation. The powerful shock and horror that results from Shaw killing the Jordan's in the original version is largely lost because of this.


    While I was watching the film I wasn't terribly impressed with Denzel Washington's performance at first. It seemed to be just an echo of Sinatra's. I was shocked that I actually thought Sinatra handled this role better than Denzel Washington! Then I realized that Washinton was actually nailing Sinatra's speech patterns, inflections, nervous ticks, etc. bang on. In this flick Washington plays Sinatra! I must admit, that realization impressed me. Liev Schreiber's Raymond Shaw was pretty good, although not nearly so tortured as Laurence Harvey's shaw. Then again, that might just be the script giving me that impression. Still, it was an excellent performance. Meryl Streep was also quite good, although I would tend to prefer Lansbury's performance by a slim margin. (She did get a lot more screen-time in the original than Streep did in the remake...) The atmosphere and cinematography of the new version is just what you would expect from a 2004 flick. No more, no less. Demme does a good job, but nothing like his Oscar winning work in "Silence of the Lambs".

    Overall I'd say that "The Manchurian Candidate" (2004) is a decent attempt to remake a classic that utterly fails to live up to the original. However, when considered alone it's pretty good, although riddled with plot holes. The original is a film that will stick in your head for a long time, but this new version is merely good entertainment that you'll likely forget within a week or two.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]/[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  12. Jasmine Meathe

    Jasmine Meathe Stunt Coordinator

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    Saw this movie last night and I thought it was really good. Very impressed with Denzel and Streeps performance and i loved all the suspense moments...Now i'll have to check out the original and see how it compares!
     
  13. Dave Hackman

    Dave Hackman Stunt Coordinator

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    I found Denzel Washington excellent and very likeable as Ben Marco. Live Schreiber was great as Raymond Shaw. Meryl Streep was not pleasing to look at as Eleanor Shaw and seemed to dabble in overacting. Kimberly Elise was very good as Rosie and I wish her character had more depth.

    I found the music overly loud and annoying during the beginning of the movie and also during the reception parties.

    I didn’t like the way they told the story of Ben Marco’s soldier unit; it seemed sloppy and underwritten. The relationship between Raymond and his mother Elanor was taken too far and detracted from the storyline. Rosie was interesting but never fully disclosed once we became aware of her role. The implants and brain washing are confusing and poorly rendered through this director’s eye.

    I liked the chemistry between Ben Marco and Raymond Shaw. I kept wishing for both of them to unite and resolve their situation. The telephone calls to action with full name pronunciation and bright lighting were great and were nicely executed. Rosie and Marco’s relationship was interesting and very diverting. Thomas Jordan and Marco’s short-lived crusade is fun to watch along with the past relationship between Raymond and Jordan’s daughter Jocelyn.

    In the end this movie exhibits some nice moments that are intertwined with bad sound, poor directing and writing.

    C –
     

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