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There is little point in watching this remake, go see the original.
Review (with Spoilers)
A part of me has such mixed feelings about all these remakes of various classic movies that now have Black starring characters. Not because I am against seeing diversity, but because I’d rather see money put into original media than rehashes of old media. Especially when, in films like Rosemary’s Baby, all that seems to change is the skin tone. There is no cultural adaptation or even a recognition that something has changed in comparison to the original, it is just a darker face which once was played by a white person. For more on the film, look below.
Characters & Story
If you’ve seen the original, not much has changed structure wise. A young woman and her husband find themselves moving into a building with strange owners; the wife is unemployed, but not without things to do; and as her husband finds himself rising both economically and socially, she finds him changing in ways which makes him not seem like the man she fell in love with. And while, at first, she has a decent relationship with her neighbors, her landlords in this film, as time wears on they become odder and odder, and while she slightly questions things, she never pursues running away from the situation fully. This is despite multiple warnings, horrible nightmares, and coincidental murders which would be red flags for normal people. But with things going well, until nearly the end, there is the question of how ignorant is Rosemary and why was this film remade?
A part of me feels like Zoe Saldana should be applauded for becoming the new Halle Berry. Someone who looks “exotic,” has the ability to come off vulnerable or strong, and can bring that to any role. Something which helps ease the boredom which comes with watching Rosemary’s Baby, especially if you’ve seen the original.
However, like with the many remakes that decide to put a physical racial spin on things, you are sort of left wondering what was the point? For while the Whitney Houston and Brandy Cinderella, Dorothy Dandridge’s Carmen Jones, and maybe this year’s Annie could be considered exceptions, generally it just seems like the money put into these remakes could have gone to better places. Take for example: rather than do a remake of a well-known movie, and use the name of the movie and a few recognizable actors as the basis of why people should watch, why not make something original or inspired? What was really keeping Rosemary’s Baby from taking place in Louisiana and adapting things to which perhaps Hollywood’s perception of Voodoo could have been used in lieu of Satanism? I mean, while there are some remakes which many have fallen in love with, and would argue are on par, or better, than the original, when movies are simply new faces in old roles; a modern retelling; or even race swaps which either don’t seem culturally influenced, or are done for some shallow type of diversity, it makes me wonder who is the person so willing to throw money away on media like this?
Overall: Skip It
As said in the overview, just watch the original. For while Saldana certainly isn’t horrible as Rosemary, at the same time, you can see she is more so channeling Mia Farrow than making this her role and trying to make you feel any of this is original. I guess, like the Psycho remake of the 90s, this film wanted to cash in on a known brand with new actors. Something which it doesn’t succeed in doing in any sense since the film tries to change things to create some sense of originality, but in the end it feels like no one really wanted to put their own spin on things and only changed things just enough so no one could say this was a modernized shot for shot remake to add onto its deserved criticism.