Oh Man I love this movie! I was so bummed when it didn't win the Razzie that I wrote it an open letter. Pasting it below in case anyone's interested...
Dear The Wicker Man,
I am writing to express my deep dismay that you have been robbed of Hollywood's most prestigious award, The Golden Raspberry. The vote tally this year was reportedly very close, and although I have not seen Basic Instinct 2 (nor it's prequel, Showgirls), I'd imagine that even if the immortal Ms. Stone actually broke a hip on camera while crossing and uncrossing her legs it still couldn't hold a candle to the amazing cinematic spectacle that was The Wicker Man.
As a big fan of the original 1973 cult film, I was eager to see how the story could be improved upon with a larger budget and today's slicker production values. In the original film, Sergeant Howie attempts to salvage something beautiful and pure from a cultish past, and ends up dying a horrible fiery death, and it was great to see that same feeling resurrected for the remake. Equally enjoyable, was watching the new film come into it's own, and take the story to places the original filmmakers would never have even considered.
In praising you, oh Wicker Man remake, I would be remised to not give the film's star, the ever delightful Nicholas Cage his due. How refreshing it was to see Cage's character go from bemusedly melancholy, to freaked out and perturbed, to increasingly more freaked out and perturbed, to eventually getting pissed and running around yelling things. What a winning emotional arc for him, frankly I'm surprised he's never tried that before! I especially enjoyed the film's climax, where Mr. Cage punched several women in the face while wearing a big furry bear costume. Not since Paul Newman donned pink bunny ears and urinated on Audrey Hepburn in the non-existent 1969 Nosferatu remake have I seen such a popular and respected leading man make such a bold choice. As Cage was manhandled and dragged away by a bunch of women and children in bad Halloween costumes while yelping out lines like "Ow, my legs!" and, "Killing me won't bring back your goddamn honey!" I found myself asking, "Is this the same actor I've seen in such macho roles as Con-Air, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Trapped in Paradise? Talk about acting range, I was absolutely stunned.
As good as Cage's performance was, the real star of this film was the plot. While most films these days seem to try to tell a story by setting it up in the beginning, and then revealing various plot points throughout the movie until arriving at a logical conclusion, you, oh glorious Wicker Man, would not be stymied by such convention. While many films are wrapped up with no loose ends and everything accounted for, good cinema should make you think, and ask questions, questions like:
-How could the mom and little girl be there at the end if Nicholas Cage saw them die in the beginning?
-If he didn't actually see them die, and it was a hallucination, why did he have it before the trauma of seeing them die that caused the hallucinations to begin with?
-And what was up with those hallucinations/flashbacks/dream sequences, was the girl his daughter or supposed to represent his daughter or both or neither? And why were they in black and white?
-Why instead of an island inhabited by fun, sex-ritual loving pagans like in the original was it inhabited by puritanical neo-feminist fascists?
-Why does it take Cage's police sheriff two-thirds of the movie to realize none of the men on the island can speak, and in the scene where he figures it out, why does he offer to help the men stacking logs on a pile only to ride off on his bicycle after knocking the whole pile over?
-Why did they kill the pilot if they depended on him to deliver goods, and why does nobody come looking for him?
-How can Nicholas Cage be up to his neck in icy water for such a long time and appear totally warm and dry just moments after being rescued?
-And perhaps most importantly, the doll, How'd it get burned? How'd it get burned? HOW'D IT GET BURNED?!
In conclusion, oh wonderful majesty that is The Wicker Man, allow me to remind you, awards and critical acclaim are nice, but fleeting, and when all is said and done it's the work that speaks for itself. Remember when Tom Hanks starred in Big, he became the toast of Hollywood, and where's he been since, toiling in such mediocrity as The Burbs and Bachelor Party, that's where. So don't be sad, old buddy The Wicker Man, that you didn't get the Golden Razzie, be proud of your incredible contribution to the medium of cinema, as a film of such quality as you is sure to be remembered for a long time to come.