Reviewed by Michael Miller
Rating: 4 Beans
he AMC Courthouse Theater near Washington, D.C. is designed to entertain you from the moment you walk in. As inane slides advertising everything from Coca-Cola to local dry cleaners show on the screen, pop songs from film soundtracks are played, with a generic announcer urging the crowd to run directly from the cinema to the record store.
As the audience waited for “The Avengers” to begin, the announcer introduced a song from the “Small Soldiers” soundtrack, a version of Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ with “additional vocals by Wycleff Jean.”
“Huh,” I thought. “A decent enough old song brought up to date with 90’s talent.” What followed wasn’t so much bad as it was uninspired. With all the technology and studio tricks available, shouldn’t the new version be, if not better, at least different enough to warrant the effort? The elements that gave the original its charm were buried under self-aggrandizing new touches, a mish-mash of pointless, out-of-focus, phoned-in work.
It’s not fair to say the original is diminished by the lack of craft of the new version, but it is accurate to say that one feels embarrassed for all involved. The original work surely deserved better, and the new version will not be remembered among the artist’s better efforts. The reaction is one of confusion, disappointment and a conviction that more time should be spent on new ideas, with the achievements of the past left alone until, or if, they can be made better.
The record ended, the movie started. But the reaction was the same.
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