When I first saw Sam Rockwell in the trailer for the Poltergeist remake, my first thought was of Ryan Reynolds filling the role of George Lutz. And I thought of the awkwardness of accepting Reynolds in that character. Then, almost by osmosis of the atmosphere, I engaged in the story of Reynolds as Lutz. It worked. No, the movie as a whole wasn’t a fantastic homage to the original, but then again I found the 1979 film to be uneventful and tame (even by that decade’s standards).
At least Reynold’s interpretation had some edge at times. Once you were able to conquer your memory flashing images of Van Wilder and the fake fat double-chin of Just Friends, you could embrace Reynolds in the role. The Amityville Horror remake was no masterpiece of cinema, even in the horror genre, but I defend that it is not equal to the disdain it oft receives. Reynolds, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, pulled it off. So why can’t Rockwell?
I would by no means call Reynolds and Rockwell the same actor. Nor would it do either justice (perhaps less so Rockwell) to say they are on the same plane or category of acting. Reynolds has shown flare for the dramatic in his roles like The Nines, Smokin’ Aces, and Chaos Theory. All aforementioned films were not lacking in Reynold’s signature delivery that is better recognized between scenes of Waiting… He just can’t help but be the comedic relief.
Rockwell, in a similar vein, has found humor to creep into nearly every one of his characters. Who could forget his turn in Galaxy Quest? Oh, you did forget he was in that? I don’t blame you. But, if you have a moment, go back and watch it. He’s probably in more scenes that are worth a giggle than you recall. Slowly, Rockwell has turned into a rather diverse actor that is quietly breaking away from his humorous persona.
And no greater evidence can be found than in the film Moon. This was a coming out party of sorts for Rockwell, in the sense that you had to take him seriously. It was possible, to an even greater degree than that of Reynolds. So, yes, I think Rockwell will be fine filling the shoes of Craig T. Nelson. The potential is there. It just comes down to whether or not the director can pull it off, and the script doesn’t set everything off on the wrong path to begin with.
Remakes leave a bad taste in the mouth, and for good reason. This is certainly one classic that probably should have been left alone. But that doesn’t mean the film doesn’t have an advantage in actor Sam Rockwell and that the trailer hasn’t piqued my interest enough to catch the film when it comes out. I’ll give it a shot, if for no other reason than to bash it here, right?