Dr. Seuss-based theatrical films have not always had the best track record in theaters. They may make money, but many fans consider nearly all of the feature length movies based on the author’s work to be an injustice to his legendary books in some way. But two movies shine above the rest as the most infamous, 2003’s “The Cat in the Hat” and 2000’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Now these movies do have their fans. Some consider “The Cat in the Hat” a genuinely fun bad movie to watch while “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” has become an undeniably beloved holiday classic. But these legacies don’t exactly make them great films or great adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ works. In fact, both movies were so divisive and, in many cases, despised that Dr. Seuss’ widow actually forbade future live-action adaptations of the author’s characters making these the only two such works based on his library of children’s books. With the story of the Grinch getting an animated treatment this weekend I went back, rewatched both live-action movies back to back and decided to pit them against each other to see which is worse….err….I mean which is better. This is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Versus “The Cat in the Hat”.
So Disney comes out with a new film this weekend, an updated live-action retelling of “The Nutcracker” which surprisingly is not a live action remake of a previous Disney feature. In fact this is the first time Disney has ever truly attempted to tackle the iconic ballet. But I digress. With the new film coming to theaters this weekend I wanted to find a way to work that into my latest Versus battle and I was inspired to explore a matchup I’ve debated with myself for a long time. One of last year’s biggest hits was Disney’s live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” and there are many who have debated whether the original is better or if the more in-depth live action treatment is superior. In honor of Disney’s latest live action adaptation of a classic work I decided to look at the most successful live action remake in their lineup and see which version of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic fairytale truly stands the tallest. This is “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) Versus “Beauty and the Beast” (2017).
While the found-footage approach to filmmaking has faded into obscurity in recent years this sub-genre of horror remains one of the genres best and is one of my personal favorites to this day. While found-footage filmmaking has not been exclusively used for horror it’s that genre that helped popularize it giving fans some of the most immersive cinema experiences ever. Two films specifically are largely responsible for the success of this sub-genre. Those movies are, of course, 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project” and 2007’s “Paranormal Activity”. Some people love these films because of their use of simple filmmaking techniques to add to the realism while others see them as pretentious snooze fests. I personally happen to enjoy them both and seeing as these two films came around in different decades of cinema and helped establish my favorite horror sub-genre of horror as a marketable style I felt it was time to see which found-footage masterpiece is superior. This is “The Blair Witch Project” Versus “Paranormal Activity.
One of my favorite features on any movie-focused blog or video channel is the compare-and-contrast gimmick where two properties that are similar but different are compared to each other to examine which is superior. As a new feature for Cinema Spotlight I decided to debut my own version of this fun concept with “Versus”, an editorial-style write-up that looks at two products, whether they are just similar, an original and remake or any other relationship, and decide which of the properties are superior based on five specific factors. Considering that the new “Halloween” movie comes out this weekend I thought this would be the perfect time to break out this new feature and see how it goes. I toyed with a couple of different options for this first edition of “Versus” but considering that this will be the third movie simply titled “Halloween” in this series I decided to focus on the previous films, the original “Halloween” and its 2007 remake. So let the battle begin. It’s time to find out which film is superior, John Carpenter’s original 1978 “Halloween” or Rob Zombie’s 2007 re-imagining of “Halloween”.