Vanilla Sky--open your eyes!!!

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Remo D
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Vanilla Sky--open your eyes!!!

Post by Remo D » Mon Dec 17, 2001 5:24 pm

Well... Cameron Crowe has certainly made a good film in VANILLA SKY--the trouble is, the good film he made was done a couple of years back as ABRE LOS OJOS/OPEN YOUR EYES! Yes, I know this is an acknowledged remake of the Alejandro Amenabar film as opposed to a ripoff, and I know that it takes Tom Cruise to pack them in the way that a foreign indy never could--but nothing prepared me for just how thoroughly SLAVISH a remake we've just been handed!

Everything that worked in the original--every plot twist, every line of dialogue, hell--virtually every SHOT of the original has been duly recreated here. (I'm not going to go into the plot--it's pointless if you've seen OPEN YOUR EYES and quite spoilsome if you haven't.) In all fairness, Crowe has brought in some new elements--but it's just as fair to point out that they add practically nothing when all's said and done. We're given extra corporate intrigue in the form of a board nicknamed "The Seven Dwarfs." We're given a new character in the form of Cruise's lawyer/friend. We're repeatedly told about a miracle involving "Bennie the Dog." Okay, none of THAT stuff was in the original. And none of it NEEDED to be there any more than it needs to be here--subract every bit of it and you've got just as good a story and just as good a movie.

Crowe only succeeds in making this his OWN movie in isolated scenes. A reference to a Bob Dylan album cover--a clip from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD--things like that are used quite effectively and pay off well. And there's one completely brilliant scene--without spoiling it, let's say that it involves the actual commission of the deed of which the Cruise character stands accused. The action's the same as it was in the original--but Crowe's uncanny sense of appropriate soundtrack material takes over completely: the use of the Monkees' "Porpoise Song" (the theme from "Head") bowled me over at a point where I never would have expected it. The song, interwoven with other unusual choices, pulled me without warning into a different zone--while this was going on, I was thoroughly caught up in this NEW movie, and I wanted nothing more than for this effect to last. I'm sorry to report that it didn't.

Of course it's well shot. Of course it's well acted. Of course Cruise, Cruz and Kurt Russell are good. Of course it's going to hold your interest if it's new to you. But do yourself a favor if you haven't seen OPEN YOUR EYES and watch it--hell, just watch any random fifteen minutes of it and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. Cameron Crowe's writer/director credit should have been IMMEDIATELY followed by Amenabar's acknowledgement, because almost everything that works in VANILLA SKY was done by him. Not necessarily done "better," but done FIRST.

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Post by Darth Tanner » Mon Dec 17, 2001 6:11 pm

Great review Remo. I never saw OPEN YOUR EYES, but I probably won't be at much of a loss if I see VANILLA SKY first, then see the former at another time (not a lot of places around here actually have it to rent Image ). I definitely need to see this movie as it seems like the only thing out there (other than NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE) that would be worth my time and money. I'll probably have to catch it Thursday night when I'm off. NO WAIT!!!! I just remembered LORD OF THE RINGS comes out in two days, so I'll have to see that first Image But the best thing about the holidays is I have some time off, so I'll probably do some catching up then. As pathetic as it may sound, the last movie I went to see was MONSTERS INC. (which I loved BTW).
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Post by Latte Thunder » Tue Dec 18, 2001 4:05 am

I didn't know this was some kind of remake until a couple of days before I saw it. I think Diabolik DVD has a copy for sale. Sometime I'll have to check it out.

I really dug the Crowe the movie, though.
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Post by bruce h » Sat Dec 22, 2001 9:08 am

the more i think about Vanilla Sky the less i like it. I personally felt a few points were "pounded" home for US audiences instead of duplicating the relatively ambiguous nature of the original - a shame too, because Open Your Eyes is one of the more effective films i've seen in the last few years (i also like Thesis quite a bit). All in all, not a bad remake (compared to some others of it's ilk... The Vanishing anyone?), but a frustrating and pointless misstep that shouldn't have happened at all.

The DVD of Open Your Eyes is readily available in the US on Artisan, and I've seen it carried at Best Buy, Borders, etc. There's also a great Spanish import special edition (region 2, PAL) that has a commentary track (in spanish), some behind the scenes stuff, trailers, interviews, an isolated soundtrack, etc, and can be purchased cheaply from DVDgo.com (about $20 as compared to US "importers" like Diabolik and Luminous' $30 price tag). I just made an order of Open Your Eyes, The Nameless, Day of the Beast, Dying of Laughter, and The Common Wealth (all special editions) for a total of $110 ppd. Pretty nice Image
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