APRIL 17, 2007
OK, no, let’s be fair: the remake of The Fog isn’t QUITE as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It’s bad, yeah, but I’ve seen far worse, even from John Carpenter himself (Ghosts of Mars). It’s the worst Tom Welling movie, but that’s about the only ‘worst’ honor it earns. And in all honesty, it starts off fairly decent for a PG-13 film. But around the 40 minute mark or so, they just give up entirely and the film just gets stupider and stupider until the final, Village-level idiotic ending.
You might wonder why I didn’t just label it crap, and rightfully so. But the ‘crap’ subgenre is reserved for those films that have no redeeming value whatsoever. And that is not the case here, because Selma Blair has never looked more attractive in a film, and thus it IS indeed worth watching, for at least her scenes. She’s in the Adrienne Barbeau role, and just by being hot and, unlike everyone else in the film, acting like she actually gives a shit., she manages to overcome cinema’s worst introduction in history (she is supposed to be playing this sort of anti-establishment DJ who doesn’t play what corporate radio does, yet the first song she plays is that goddamn “Sugar” song from Fall Out Boy. *sigh*) to almost single-handedly redeem the film.
Everything and everyone else is basically pointless at best and mind-numbingly stupid at worst. Why is the town having a big statue dedication ceremony at 9 o’clock at night? Why do we have some of the already bloated screen-time (this film is 15 min longer than the original, despite having less plot, less characterization, less kills, and less suspense) devoted to the mayor discussing which character in the statue should be holding the spyglass? Why do all of the windows on Welling’s car blow out? Why do they suddenly reappear later? Why, after discovering 3 bodies on the deck of a boat, would someone go below deck (the only place the killer could possibly be)? And why do we need to automatically make our ‘hero’ a scumbag by revealing in his 2nd scene that he cheats on his girlfriend (especially since she never finds out, and he and the mistress have exactly one scene together, where their affair is barely even hinted at)?
I say ‘hero’ in quotes because, much like Tom Hanks in Da Vinci Code, Welling doesn’t fucking DO anything in the entire movie. He’s top billed (why, I have no idea, since Selma Blair has the most screen-time yet she is given the ‘and’ credit*), and he’s fucking Superman for Christ’s sake, yet his biggest (practically only) action in the entire film is getting his car started.
At least he is consistent with his half-assed character. The ghosts seemingly do whatever they feel like doing. Sometimes they are see-thru ghosts, sometimes they are solid figures, and other times they just use telekinesis or something rather than appear at all. They can throw people through windows and knock over bureaus, but they can’t get through a few pieces of scotch (why not duct!?!?!) tape under a door. The fog can be seen melting iron statues, but other people walk through it with no problem. And at one point, they even turn a corpse into a zombie, just for the hell of it. They’re also kind of shy, as they show up during the opening, kill a dog and some kids, then take a breather and leave for a day or two. Hilariously, on the DVD extras, the writer says the studio kept making them cut back how much the Fog did as a ‘character’. Since he reveals that the studio also originally didn’t go for the idiotic ending, I’m guessing that, for once, the studio should have trusted. We might have gotten a better movie.
Speaking of the extras, it’s sort of ironic that the one area that Rupert Wainwright managed to live up to Carpenter’s legacy is on the commentary track. Like Carpenter’s solo tracks, most of the time he’s either describing onscreen action (best bit: “..the Fog man appears. Aargh!”), repeating dialogue for no reason, talking about lighting, or just watching the movie in silence. He occasionally points out some plot holes and what is added to this ‘unrated’ version, but it’s not worth sitting through the entire film again to hear it. Speaking of the ‘unrated’ stigma – nothing he ever points out is anything the MPAA would have given a shit about, except at the very end when a man we are supposed to dislike (but the film never gives us any real reason to) is shown burning to death. Apparently, the MPAA made him cut the sequence down, and it should have stayed that way, as now it’s just too damn long. Then again, what is the correct length of time that should be given to watching an old man (who never did anything wrong) burn alive? There’s also a deleted scene in which a fireball seemingly immolates the ENTIRE cast (yay!) but then it flames out and they don’t have a mark on them. Why, I have no idea.
But I don’t want to give you the impression that the extras are entirely worthless; indeed, the clips from the original sprinkled throughout the featurettes have more suspense and entertainment value than anything in the remake, even without the aid of context. And it’s always nice to hear Carpenter admit he’s just doing this shit for the money.
So basically, just watch Blair’s scenes and some of the extras, and ignore the rest.
What say you?
*Even odder, Rade Sherbedgia is 3rd billed and doesn’t even appear until the film’s final 15 minutes. What sort of moron put this list in order anyway? If I was a credit creator I would never allow such tomfoolery!