The old vs. new 'Arthur'

By Michelle Joline


Looking for a break from the build-up to finals? A nice retreat from the scariness that is a college student’s reality can be found at the movies this week. The remake of the classic film “Arthur” builds a fantasy world that the audience just can’t resist. The remake stars Russell Brand as the story’s leading protagonist and Helen Mirren as the story’s true leading lady, Hobson.

The plot takes us on an enjoyable ride through the unrealistic life of Arthur, heir to a multi-million-dollar fortune. His life comes to a crossroads when his workaholic mother, who was absent for most of his life, provides an ultimatum to either marry Susan (Jennifer Garner) to get his life back on track or lose all of the money that he has become accustomed to living with. The plot unravels the humorous side to his mental turmoil while he chooses between money and love, telling the ever-compelling traditional love story.

Luckily, Brand plays a very convincing drunk in this contemporary remake and the majority of the laughs in the film stem from his alcoholic antics. We get to see what extreme wealth combined with alcoholism will get a socialite in New York, leaving nothing to be desired by the viewer (okay, maybe a lot, the Batmobile left everyone a bit envious). Even though Brand plays the alcoholic Arthur, he still manages to not only be forgivable in his innocence but also capture the heart of Naomi (Greta Gerwig). The on-screen relationship between the two seems very honest and leaves the audience rooting for them to beat the odds of love by the end of the film.

These qualities hold true from the original classic, which starred Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. The only difference that stands between the performances from Minnelli and Gerwig is the change in their character’s name from Linda to Naomi. Gerwig managed to embody the effervescent and quirky quality that Minnelli brought to the original role, making us want to see more of her in future big screen hits.

The remake is a success because it does not tell the story with the same plotline as the original but spins it to make a contemporary film for a modern audience. Since the original was so well done and has such a strong following, a remake with the same screenplay could never stand up against it. With the help of new one-liners and Mirren as one of the most unexpected comedians, a new hit is made. Expect to be surprised if you venture out into the rainy spring weather to see “Arthur,” because the quirky film is a feel-good break that lets us live in a world devoid of responsibilities with Brand as our guide.

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