Ah. Well. What can I say? I didn’t think that I was going to like this movie. In fact, I actually avoided seeing it when it came out. Not that it didn’t look good. It did. I won’t lie. But I was avoiding it out of protest, out of a general principal. It’s a remake, you see (some of you youngins won’t know that, but it’s the truth), and I’m kind of sick of remakes happening when they don’t need to.
To top that off, I’m a massively huge fan of John Wayne. Giant. Since I was a kid. I literally grew up watching John Wayne movies. I have seen every single one of them. I have a pretty fair collection of them, as well. I honestly harbor a deep and undying love of The Duke, and (playfully) threaten those who disparage his name or claim to not know any of his work. (Playfully, I swear it)
So I was pretty upset when I saw this had come out. Ignoring the fact that I like all the actors in it that I know. Ignoring the fact that it seemed as if it was filmed right and followed the original pretty well (it’s a book, too, you know, which I have yet to read because I just found out, but damn straight I bought it, and it’s sitting in my To-Read-Pile).
But, I questioned another Fan and he informed me that he enjoyed it and found some things in it that he liked better than the original, though the original was hands down the better movie. So, I finally gave in and watched it.
Again: What can I say?
You can’t tell John Wayne, but I think I enjoyed myself.
I guess another thing I was worried about was that in this day and age of constant political correctness and everybody tiptoeing around about every little tiny thing, in this world where I can’t say “I love my cat” without somebody shouting YOU MEAN FELINE AMERICAN!, I thought that they would try to soften the hard blows of the film. I thought they would try to disguise some of the dirty moments. I was concerned that some of the more intense scenes would be lost to filmmakers worrying about what moviegoers would say about them.
I was most pleasantly surprised that none of it was lost. It was all there. In fact, I think a couple of things may have turned out more brutal.
I laughed. I did. I won’t lie. There were really funny moments. And I laughed. Not just a little chuckle, either. But a good, honest laugh. Happy about that, too. The original might have been seen as a Western, but it was also a comedy, and it was also dark. This one turns out to be somewhat more dark, but it still fit quite snugly into the place where it should be.
And I have to agree with my friend, I did enjoy Matt Damon as the Texan more than the original guy. Not that I didn’t like him. But Matt Damon brought a certain thing to the film that only he can bring. Should it ever occur that time travel becomes possible, I will insist that he go back and star in the original alongside The Duke. Yes.
I think that the girl in the original had a little more pluck to her, but this girl didn’t do badly at all. She had the tone and the cadence of the original film and girl, and her tenacity was spot on.
I liked it. I did. And I think I’m going to buy it so it can sit on the shelf right next to the original one. And just to prove how sick I am, I’m going to tell you this: After I’ve finished the book and I own the new version, I’m gonna watch both back to back. Take that. 4 hours of Rooster Cogburn.