Friday, December 14, 2018

Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

I bet not many people would know that John Hughes actually produced this movie.

So yes, another remake of a Christmas classic, does it hold up against the original? Honestly I've heard both in my lifetime, it improves elements of the original and it shouldn't have been made, and so on and so forth. Do I hate it? No, it has some real lovely scenes, they can show off a lot more because of the budget, and Sir Richard Attenborough is a wonderful Santa Claus. The scene with him and the deaf girl is one of the most cherished scenes in cinema, you can't friggin' frown at that scene even I a very grinchy Grinch soul loves that scene down to the milisecond. But I must admit the film, like any other has pros and cons. Richard Attenborough is magical, and Mara Wilson though a bit on the cutesy side for me plays it well and her relationship with Attenborough is truly lovely. Yet on the other side of the spectrum, Elizabeth Perkins I swear to God looks so damn bored in this movie! She just looks uninterested and I know her character is always thinking, and moving, and working but did someone spike her drinks with adderall, she barely looks awake! And Dylan McDermott still has that friendship with Kris like in the original, and he does alright but the romance just doesn't work as great in the original though it was slightly a product of it's times. But what really gets on my nerves about this movie is the fact they have to throw in a ridiculous antagonist who I swear they filmed for a different movie and accidentaly spliced him in, most 90s movies even if they were simple kids movies tried to shoehorn in some conflict so we have this whole bruhaha about a feuding business owner who wants to hire Kris to his buisness so he can....take over the city, or something. You think I'm joking about that, but watch this dude's first scene and tell me he doesn't seem more suited as a crime boss working for the Kingpin or perhaps a less intriguing Bond villain. It is so friggin' lame and it only gets worse with idiot side henchman, and the fact that the movie puts Kris in more...violent light. I have no idea what they were trying to communicate but a few mean words and Kris is about to take his cane and beat somebody like they owe him his money. Now there is one scene where I can justify it to the teeth, but the other times seem just so out of character. Attenborough brings a ton of charm and even more magic I would say to the role of Santa Claus than Edmund Gwenn did, the smile on his face is unbridled delight and happiness, he feels more like a true entity of Christmas than just an elderly gentleman who lives in a nursing home who just so happens to be Santa yet they still put him in a home but whatever. There's more tropes of 90s family films you can notice throughout but there's one scene that makes up for (almost) all of it, it's a very quiet and even powerful scene where Kris explains to Mrs. Walker what his image means and it's really incredible to listen to. It's the best scene in the movie hands down! Plus I like how they updated the court case at the end, and the ending is something clever and works better than the way they proved Kris' credibility in the original. So yeah, it's mixed what they did incredibly right and did horrendously wrong, but I still say go see it just for Attenborough and Wilson who are what made the film so memorable even to this day. Miracle On 34th Street regardless of film version is a unique and interesting story, one that takes it's own route in the oddities of Christmas films and is still viewed and enjoyed by millions of people every holiday season. Whether you believe in Santa or not can make your holiday experience boundless with optimism or drenched in melancholy, but I think regardless of your own personal beliefs someone thinks about you every Christmas.

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