The Movie Waffler New Release Reviews - Red Dawn / The Incredible Burt Wonderstone | The Movie Waffler

New Release Reviews - Red Dawn / The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Red Dawn
Directed by: Dan Bradley
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki
A group of teens in Washington state form a resistance when the U.S is invaded by North Korea.

Following 2010's 'Tomorrow, When the War Began', which relocated the story to Australia, we get another remake of 1984's 'Red Dawn'. The original John Milius version was one of those eighties movies I ate up as a kid growing up in that decade. With Reagan and Gorbachev constantly bickering on the news, us children of the eighties thought of Russia as the epitome of pure evil and so the plot of Milius' film rang true for us. We genuinely lived in fear of being nuked by Russkies who would then invade us with tanks and growling bears on chains. I very much doubt that today's kids even know what continent North Korea belongs to, never mind live in fear of its nuclear capability.
This renders the remake laughable. The idea that any nation could muster the resources to invade the U.S today is ridiculous but, despite this, Bradley plays his movie completely straight. The plot follows pretty much every mark from the original but without an ounce of the innocent charm that movie had. If ever a remake should have opted for a satirical take, ala 'The Brady Bunch Movie' or '21 Jump Street', it's this one.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Childhood friends Burt (Carell) and Anton (Buscemi) have been performing their magic show successfully in Vegas for ten years until a hip street magician (Carrey) comes on the scene. 
The central theme of 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone', magic being replaced by crassness and bad taste, could easily be viewed as an allegory for Hollywood itself. Unfortunately this film is symptomatic of the problem. The magic tricks use awfully blatant CG effects which negate the point the film is trying to make. In 2013, Hollywood is happy to let us see behind the curtain, the magic is dead. The cynics have won.
One wonders how a comedy script can make it to the screen without at least one person somewhere along the production chain pointing out it's lack of laughs. Save for an end credit sequence, 'TIBW' didn't raise even a minor smirk, let alone anything as exuberant as a guffaw. Kudos for avoiding crude and offensive toilet humor but humor of any kind would have been welcomed. Carrey apart, every actor in this charmless affair seems bored out of their skull. You will be too.