While I had heard that there was an adaptation of “Carrie” for television, I had never before watched this movie. I decided to continue with my exploration of the story and its different adaptations by firing up Netflix and watching “Carrie” 2002.
The first thing that struck me about this adaptation of “Carrie” is that it was trying to be slick with a reliance on CGI. The movie kicks off with some computer animation almost from the start and attempts to give the movie a wow factor that was not present in the original movie. This is, in my opinion, a shortcoming of this movie in that it is trying to dress the story up in special effects rather than focus on the core of the story. Of course, a more modern audience has almost come to expect this type of look to a movie but I thought that this was a distraction from the overall effect of the movie.
While the original adaptation of “Carrie” shined for the performances of the actors and actresses in their roles that made the movie more relevant on a personal level, I found the acting to be somewhat flat in this movie. I did not care as much for the characters in this version as I did in the original or the novel. The movie lacks the overall impact of the original or the novel in that it did not succeed in getting me to connect and sympathize with the characters as the others did. I thought that Carrie White was a caricature of a person rather than one that I could really relate to. The strength of the story is that Carrie is a sympathetic character in spite of the horror that she unleashes. The novel, and the original version of the film, made the audience relate to Carrie and understand what was going on in her head at least to some extent. This made the story more horrific as it was easy to see that anyone could have possibly made the same mistakes and decisions that Carrie did in the spur of the moment. In the original movie and novel, Carrie was more of a flawed human in an inhumane situation rather than a monster. This was largely lost in this adaptation.
Lastly, the 2002 version of “Carrie” was more of a remake of the movie than the book and it suffered for this. There were scenes and lines that were taken almost directly from the original movie but that did not work as well in this movie as they did in the original. It seemed at times like these were forced into the story to make it a homage to the original movie rather than a re-visioning of the story. Rather than rely on the new creative team to recreate the story, it almost seemed like they were trying to force the original movie into the modern world and only achieved marginal success in doing so. Again, this made this version of the story more of a carbon copy of the original rather than a retelling of the story for a more modern audience and at times made the narrative kind of scattered and clunky.
The good of the 2002 version of “Carrie” is that it did flesh out the backstory of Carrie and her relationship with her mother more than the previous version. While the 2002 version of “Carrie”glossed over the actual events to create the tension through the interaction of the characters, the 2002 version delved into the actual events a little more and that was nice to see. The 2002 version also showed more of the aftermath of prom night as the tragic night wound toward a close and led to the ultimate showdown between Carrie and her mother. Of course, some of this was possible due to this version being the longest version of the story that has been made to date and thus it had more time to fill in some of the gaps of the story that existed between the novel and the film adaptations. Unfortunately, that also caused the movie to lose some of its urgency and, ultimately, some of its heart. In my opinion, the 2002 adaptation of “Carrie” serves more as a side note or a curiosity rather than an effective film adaptation. While it is worth watching, it serves as little more than a graphic retelling of the story without much of the heart of the original movie or the novel.