The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
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  • Before checking the times I thought the removie was at least twenty minutes longer than the original
  • The original movie was filmed in black and white while the removie was filmed in color, another plus for the original since I think black and white movies tend to be more effective when it comes to eliciting dark feelings from the audience
  • For political thriller movies, I enjoy watching the original The Day of the Jackal (1973) with its plot to assassinate Charles DeGaulle
  • These three actors have played in some of the best movies in the last forty years

    • by tfedge
      TRUSTWORTHY

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      The 2004 removie of “The Manchurian Candidate” stands out among remakes of movies in that in many ways it is better than the original movie. There are differences between the two, some good, some bad. The removie seems to run longer than the original, and it does, but only by three minutes, coming in at 126 minutes. Before checking the times I thought the removie was at least twenty minutes longer than the original. Because the removie seems so much longer, I view that as a minus for “The Manchurian Candidate” removie. The original movie was filmed in black and white while the removie was filmed in color, another plus for the original since I think black and white movies tend to be more effective when it comes to eliciting dark feelings from the audience.

      “The Manchurian Candidate” the removie takes place during and after the first Gulf War although the world is a much different, and much darker, place in the movie than the world is today. There is much more war and political corruption than presumably exists today; who would have thought that was possible? Instead of being brainwashed, the lost patrol that Captain Marco (Denzel Washington) led had implants placed in their bodies that had the effect of allowing them to be controlled. Meryl Streep plays the role of Eleanor Shaw, the role played by Angela Landsbury in the original. She is a US Senator and mother to Raymond Shaw (played by Liev Schreiber in the removie and Laurence Harvey in the original). Instead of being the stage mother, puppet-master behind the events in the movie she is extremely ambitious in her own right. When she runs up against the glass ceiling that prevents women from


      advancing to the top she allows her son Raymond to be “improved.” The movie is the story of Major Marco and his efforts to unravel the mystery and try and makes things right.

      Denzel Washington is an excellent actor with two Oscars to his credit. He won for Best Supporting Actor in 1990 for “Glory” and in 2002 he won a Best Actor for “Training Day.” He was also nominated as Best Actor in 1993 for “Malcolm X” and in 2000 for “The Hurricane.”

      Meryl Streep may be the premiere screen actress in the United States. She won a Best Supporting Actress in 1980 for “Kramer vs. Kramer” and in 1983 as Best Actress in “Sophie’s Choice.” She also has another twelve nominations. Favorite roles are in “Out of Africa” where she played Karen Blixen opposite Robert Redford; “The Bridges of Madison County” where she played Francesca Johnson, the lonely, plain housewife who has an affair with National Geographic photographer Clint Eastwood; and “The Devil Wears Prada” where she plays the snotty editor of a fashion magazine. Streep has a lot of range as an actor and has managed not to be typecast except that she seems destined to appear in good roles in good movies.

      Jon Voight plays Senator Jordan, the anti-Shaw in the movie. In the original the John McGiver played the role and it was almost a throw away role. Jordan is fleshed out more in the remake and Voight does a credible job. Voight won a Best Actor Oscar for “Coming Home” (1979) where he played a disabled Vietnam Vet opposite Jane Fonda. I thought this was an excellent move and liked his performance very much. He was nominated for Best Actor for “Midnight Cowboy” ...


      • (1970), “Runaway Train” (1986), and for a Best Supporting Actor in 2002 for “Ali.” Voight has a strong political and ethical conscience and tends to appear only in movies that he approves of. He’s had roles in “Catch-22,” “Deliverance,” the wonderful movie about teaching black kids in the South “Conrack,” “The Odessa File” an excellent espionage thriller, and recently “National Treasure” and its sequel “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” that is currently in theatres.

        Jonathan Demme directed “The Manchurian Candidate” and tends to look at the world through a slight skewed lens. He won an Oscar for Best Director for “Silence of the Lambs” (1991). I first remember him for “Swing Shift” the 1984 movie about Rosie the Riveter that starred Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Demme directed “Philadelphia” the 1993 movie that won a Best Actor Oscar for Tom Hanks and also starred Denzel Washington. Curiously he wasn’t even nominated for Best Director nor was the movie nominated for Best Picture although a case can be made for both. Admittedly the 1994 Oscars was a year of excellent movies although removing “The Fugitive” from the list of Best Picture nominees an inserting “Philadelphia” makes sense to me.

        Of course you should watch the original “The Manchurian Candidate” if you are looking for similar movies. For a similar plot device, that of the implanted brain device, is found in the head of Gregory Peck in the 1969 “The Chairmen.” The movie isn’t as good as “The Manchurian Candidate”, but worth a look if you are in to head games. For political thriller movies, I enjoy watching the original “The Day of the Jackal” (1973) with its plot to assassinate Charles DeGaulle. For movies starring the principles of “The Manchurian

        Candidate” any of those mentioned are good. These three actors have played in some of the best movies in the last forty years. Try “Catch-22″ to provide some comic relief from “The Manchurian Candidate” without being insipid.

        I’m trying to decide if this removie might be better than the original. In many ways it is better. Denzel Washington is a much better actor and does a much better job as Marco than the wooden Frank Sinatra. There’s not a lot of difference between the performance by Liev Schreiber and Laurence Harvey. The original is in black and white and was shorter, both tend to be plusses. Angela Lansbury was much scarier than Meryl Streep precisely because she was the stage mother puppet master behind the actions of her husband and son. With the removie Streep seemed to have had her son “improved” to achieve what she wanted but was unable because she was a woman. The manipulation of her son because she had reached the glass ceiling for woman may ring true to reality, but weakened the movie. I think Meryl Streep’s character would never have accepted a glass ceiling and would have broken it by smashing someone’s head into it. Probably the biggest weakness of the removie is the failure to include an equivalent of the scene in the original “The Manchurian Candidate” where the lost patrol was shown in intercut scenes between the garden club meeting and the demonstration before the Communist scientists.

        I’m tempted to rate this movie above the original that I rated as a 94%, but I can’t quite. I will rate it as an A though or 93%. I think this is the best removie I’ve seen. You should watch them both.




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