Which Version is Best? Part II

Last week I named movies that I thought could live up to one another in terms of quality. I got a couple of heated responses, which I enjoy, because what’s the point of blogging about movies if everyone always agrees? After this one, I’m definitely hoping to get more (although someone on my side is always pleasant). So let’s reiterate:

Rear Window (1954) /Disturbia (2007)

Friday the 13th (1980) / Friday the 13th (2009)

The Parent Trap (1960) / The Parent Trap (1998)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)/ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

I already went over what I liked and disliked about all the “contenders.” Now, here comes the real challenge: deciding which, if I had to choose, I would rather watch on one of those nights where you’re just dying to veg out on the couch with a film and there are only two choices in your cabinet (which, in my case, I’d never let happen, although sometimes it feels like it… in that case I normally head to Family Video or the like). So, after a lot of thought, I came up with the following:

Disturbia- Hate me all you want, but I just did not find Rear Window scary. I loved the way it was framed almost like theatre and the vulnerability of the main character, but I found it to lack the intensity of a lot of Hitchcock's films. You don't get the heart pounding anxiety when Jeff is sitting at the window that you do in, say, North by Northwest, when Cary Grant is walking along a ledge above a quarrel trying to not be detected. Anyway, I'm not saying Rear Window is bad- on the contrary, I found it quite enjoyable to watch all the fabricated relationships Jimmy Stewart dreams up in his over active imagination. I'm just saying that when I want to watch a thriller, I want something to make me scared, and Disturbia does that. Maybe it's because the main character has nothing going for him. Maybe it's because it's easier for the neighbor to cover things up in his garage than in a living room. Whatever the case, I would choose Disturbia on a Friday night with nothing to do.

Friday the 13th (1980)- In my last post, I talked mainly about how in the newer version, you get to know the characters really well before they all die. The reason I like this one is because you really don't need to know them. Who really watches a horror movie for plot? Is it really as important as seeing someone with an axe outside the window of a camp counselor's room (even if it doesn't make any sense)? I think not. 

The Parent Trap (1960)- Although the newer version seems to be infused with much more "Disney magic" and is better paced, I find the comedy to not be as genuine as in the original, and to me, that's what matters. Aside from the fact that Lindsay Lohan's accent is close to atrocious, I would rather watch a girl cut up another girl's skirt from behind than see furniture on the roof, and I'd rather see the girls serenade their parents awkwardly in song than see the parents awkwardly reminisce about thirty year old wine in a nasty basement. I'd rather watch the old version because it takes a highly impossible situation that would really never happen and makes it believable, instead of taking an impossible situation and making it funny, because in the end, it's still not possible, and we're just left with chuckles at bad sight gags... and a painful English accent. Although, a painful English accent is better than a painful coke addiction (I'm just saying). 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)- No, I did not like the creepy melting dolls that greet all the children when they enter Wonka's Factory. However, I did like the songs because they were taken right out of the book, and the plot was as well, unlike the old one in which Charlie drinks some weird shit that makes him float on the ceiling. Wait... wasn't the point of the book that he was the only one not to be tempted? Now, don't get me wrong- I love the old movie, for its Oompa Loompas, special effects (since most of my readers know how iffy I am about CGI) and of course, Gene Wilder. But if I want a good, solid, take-me-back-to-my-childhood story, of course I'm going to pick the new one because it's faithful to the message and mystical wonderland that Roald Dahl wanted to create for us. And Charlie's family is actually poor, and actually English. Just like Lindsay Lohan... oh wait, never mind. 

Debate! Argue! Spill some blood.... or maybe just cyber ink. 


The Movie Mistress


  1. As you're a fan of Disturbia, try the Kurt Russell film Breakdown. It has mystery, intrigue, and heart-pounding tension.

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