Monday, 26 October 2015

Movie Adaptation Comparison: Carrie (1976) and Carrie (2013)

Carrie (1976)

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, John Travolta

Nominated for two Oscars:

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Sissy Spacek 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Piper Laurie rating: 7,4

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Okay, let's start with the 1976 version of Carrie. I read that the more recent one, more accurately adapted the book. However, when I started the 1976 version, I didn't think there were so many changes. That is until the last 30 minutes or so. Still, there are a lot of movie adaptations that less accurately adapt to screen. From the moment Sue Snell shows up at the prom, things start to move away from the book. All the major plot points are in the movie however and I didn't have many problems with the changes they made, which is unusual for me.

I didn't consult prior to watching Carrie so I didn't know the movie had been nominated for two Oscars. I can definitely see why. Sissy Spacek was an incredible Carrie! I couldn't take my eyes off her! I thought her portrayal of Carrie was very accurate. And then there is Carrie's mother, of course. Played by Piper Laurie. She was absolutely frightening!

The whole movie portrayed Stephen King's dark atmosphere very well. At this point, I haven't watch the more recent adaptation yet, but I can already wholeheartedly recommend the 1976 version!

Carrie (2013)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort, Judy Greer rating: 6,0

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Okay, I've now watched both movies in a row. I'm now going to review both by comparing them to each other as well as to the original book by Stephen King. Read my review of the book here.

The first adaptation can feel dated to a young film lover. I too, felt that the special effects at times left to be desired. However, after seeing the recent adaptation, that version doesn't have the greatest special effects either (especially at the prom), true, these effects are more modern, so I would probably choose the second film for the special effects.

In Carrie (2013) more time was spend on exploring dialogues and motives of the other characters, like Sue Snell and Billy Nolan, which I enjoyed. Furthermore, what I really did like about the 2013 version is the fact that Carrie cares about what happened to Tommy. In both the 1976 version and the book this does not happen. This is actually what I disliked about the book, so I'm happy to see it in the movie after all.

Surprisingly, there were a lot of parallels between the two movies in the scenes that weren't in the book. It seems that the 2013 version used both the book and the 1976 movie as inspirations. Drawing elements from both of them. All the changes in the first film (which I didn't like) can be found in the second film as well, which was rather disappointing. Remember I mentioned Sue Snell showing up at prom while she didn't in the book? Well, suddenly she showed up in the second film as well, and it went in exactly the same way as the 1976 version. To be honest, after that, the whole ending was mostly the same as the first movie, even down to the details. Some elements from the book did make it there, but it was mixed with some new (and stupid) material. I don't really get why they would follow the first movie more than the actual book. If you're going to adapt a book why would you keep the same changes in the movie as the first one did? What is the point, then, of the remake?

All in all, the first movie is obviously the best, even though it might feel a bit dated. I feel the story works better in the 1976 version. The recent version is a modern update of the story but feels less real to me than the first one. The first movie portrayed the atmosphere of the story so well, the second one wasn't even half as good. And to be honest, nobody will ever best Sissy Spacek's performance as Carrie. She was so believable. Chloë Grace Moretz didn't even come close to be a competitor, even a minor one. I can really believe, Spacek's character is the victim of abuse and bullying, but I have a harder time believing that of Chloë Grace Moretz's portrayal. And to me, her Carrie looks too much like the movie star.

Carrie (2013) attempts to give Stephen King's story a modern update, however, it doesn't work for me. By giving it a modern update, it loses a lot of its believability and spookiness. I'm mean, it's hard to believe that Carrie would not have been educated at school about menstruation, I can understand that her mom would not have told her because she is a religious nut, but I fail to understand how things like would never have been discussed in school. Also, adding social media and cell phones didn't really work for me. I would have liked it better if the recent film was set in the same time period as the book and the 1976 film. But since the second film draws so much on the previous film, it probably would have ended up as the same movie entirely.

So, if you're still reading this after all this rambling, here is my verdict: the book of course is the best, followed closely by Carrie (1976) and lastly, (far behind the others) is the 2013 version of Carrie. The ratings for both movies are correct. I will add though, that lately if I watch a movie adaptation of a book I've read, I don't enjoy the film as much. This was not true in this case. If you don't want to read the book, I recommend the 1976 version of Carrie! You won't regret it!

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