Is This New Straw Dogs Poster For Real?

Look, there's no point in getting upset about classic film remakes. They're going to happen whether we want them or not, and the odds are stacked enough against anyone who attempts it. We'd all rather they were good or at least carried off with the right spirit. The filmmakers don't need the added challenge of working in the echo of an Internet chorus shrieking defensively about how sacrosanct the original movie is. I even feel this way about Rod Lurie's remake of Straw Dogs, the still-troubling 1971 revenge saga by Sam Peckinpah. Good luck, Rod, don't let us down, etc. But then there's this poster, which is like, really?

For our purposes, I will go ahead and match it up against the original film's poster, since that's the comparison Sony is inviting anyway (click for bigger):


A few things:

· Photoshop is one of mankind's great technological advances in the four decades since Peckinpah made Straw Dogs. But like any powerful tool, it can be deadly when it winds up in the wrong hands. Here, the superimposition of Alexander Skarsgard's face in the shattered lens of James Marsden's eyeglass frame is the marketing equivalent of a smoldering van full of explosives in a public thoroughfare. It looks bad, and it portends worse. And in sepia tone! Even my mom knows better than to reproduce digital images in sepia tone! The reason the broken glass works in the older poster is because you can make out the faint dimensions of Dustin Hoffman's eye. It implies peril, danger, imminent threat. He -- not the bad guy -- is looking at you. Intimacy and violence are the selling points, which is what makes Straw Dogs disturbing still, even after all these years.

· The tagline, I mean, come... on. No shit, everyone has a breaking point. I wouldn't be surprised if Screen Gems HQ is littered with balloons and confetti and all the other festivities resulting from being the 1,000,000th organization to use that cliché as a marketing hook. All it does is suggest to the potential viewer how one more terrible movie poster can push you over the edge. Exhibit A: [Author points to self. With gun.] Trust the viewer. Lose the goddamn tagline.

· James Marsden is not Dustin Hoffman. We know this. Still, he is your leading man. We will be spending a bit of time with him, so how about a proper introduction and show us a little more of his face? And dry it off! He looks like he just reached the breaking point of a fever.

· The mouth is all wrong. First of all, it's, uh, open -- an idle gape of equanimity. This is not the jaw-clenching visage of a man whose wife was just raped by the sepia-toned menace lurking in his spectacles. (Or maybe it is? Maybe sepia is the new rape-rape. I can't keep any of it straight. Thanks for nothing, Roman Polanski.) Close the mouth!

· You there! Yes! You in the "O"! Get out of my vowel!

· If Tyler Perry can get these marketing concepts right in a Straw Dogs homage, why can't the studio get them right for a Straw Dogs remake?

[via Awards Daily]


  • NP says:

    Also, the fact that they obviously felt it necessary to use a perfectly symmetrical (or very close to) half of his face for the image? It just...ruins something.

  • S.T. VanAirsdale says:

    I guess we should be happy it alerts people to the original? Like I said, I sincerely wish Lurie success, but worst-case scenario, we've always got Peckinpah to fall back on. And that's a pretty good worst-case.

  • weetiger3 says:

    It's a movie poster for dummies, basically giving the viewer a roadmap to what the filmmakers are trying to make us think and feel. Indicative of the way most American movies are dumbed down in general (eg: our constant need to remake foreign films w/in a year or two of their release.)

  • neal2zod says:

    I just can't get over the fact that Skarsgard is being "reflected" by the BROKEN part of the lens. So he's just emanating from Marsden's eyeball?

  • blessthevistatheater says:

    What about the fact they took recognizable people and replaced them with flatlining J.Crew models who recite dialogue like meteorologists.
    Don't worry, save the fourteen bucks for a movie that actually tries...and download this, cackling...Or just watch the original, still interesting viewing

  • Betty says:

    Yeah, I don`t know whats up with that poster. It`s hard to imagine James Marsden in a role that was previously played by Dustin Hoffman, but was Dustin that famous in 1971? Just wondering. As for Alexander Skarsgard, he`s a wonderful actor. I think he will bring more to the part than Del Henney who was basically a lout and a brute in the original. It does seem like they`re trying to market the remake through the original, though. I for one will see the movie because I love Alexander Skarsgard and his acting.

  • Wellie says:

    Hoffman starred in "The Graduate" in '67 and "Midnight Cowboy" in '69. I wasn't around back then, but given that "Graduate" was a huge boomer touchstone and "Cowboy" was the only X-rated film to ever win Best Picture, I would surmise Hoffman was signifigantly more famous in '71 then Marsden is in '11.

  • Bem says:

    And Hoffman was nominated for an Oscar for both films.

  • Derke says:

    Movie posters are a virtually dead artform. Even masters of the art like Drew Struzan (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, etc.) have been forced into retirement by Hollywood's insistence on using horrible photo collages made in foreign sweatshops. Just like at Walmart, quality American product replaced with foreign crap.
    This poster is simply idiotic. It's not designed to impress anyone, merely to illicit the response: "Oooh! The beefcake vampire is in it! I HAVE to pay $9 to mentally jerk off to his image!" It isn't even effective at THAT - I didn't recognize either of the minimally talented actors shown. I'm sure the DVD will "fix" that problem.

  • mark says:

    I prefer the British Quad poster which features Ms George and a couple of the reasons the violence got kicked off

  • Brian says:

    Where is that giant bit of glass coming from in the remake poster? None of the glass has actually fallen out of the lens!

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