The Ninjabot

[Review] Rosemary’s Baby Part 1

Posted on May 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm by Jess Hicks

Last night the NBC remake mini-series of Rosemary’s Baby aired with a very underwhelming whimper. It seemed as though viewers tuned in only to talk about how awful it would be. While I did not hold particularly high hopes for it I at least wanted to give it a fair chance. Besides, it’s only two parts so if it sucked I would only be wasting 4 hours.

Rosemary’s Baby starts out with a young, very distraught, pregnant woman who has locked herself away from her husband. As he desperately tries to break down the door the young woman jumps to her death. Fast forward several months later and we meet Rosemary Woodhouse (Zoe Saldana) and Guy Woodhouse (Patrick J. Adams) picking up the pieces after Rosemary suffers a miscarriage. They decide to move to Paris, France where Guy will pursue a writing and teaching career and Rosemary will take some time to recuperate from her tragedy. And here we are.

Rosemary's Baby Woodhouse

There were a few minor changes to the original story, the biggest one being the change of the location from New York to Paris. Initially the change seems arbitrary but upon further inspection the change actually seems to be a benefit. Rosemary and Guy have wacky neighbors in Roman and Margaux Castevet (formerly Roman and Minnie). But in this version as opposed to being a lonely elderly couple they are well to do eccentric intellectuals. They have their hands in every pocket of every important person in the city including the Police Commissioner. Roman himself is high up on the chain of education where Guy works.

It’s easy for American travelers (and viewers) to brush off strange eccentricities of other countries. Rosemary and Guy are in the middle of Paris with only one friend so it’s not a surprise they would cling to the generous and influential Castevet’s despite all their strange behaviors. Setting the story in a foreign country gives the characters and viewers alike a feeling general confusion. Roman (Jason Issacs) and Margaux (Carole Bouquet) benefit a lot from this change. As opposed to being a reclusive elderly couple they have influence and power, they are much more engaging as characters. Plus, who could possibly play this version of Roman better the Lucius Malfoy himself?

rosemarys-baby-Jason-Isaacs

There is a side story involving the young couple from the beginning of the episode who apparently were Margaux and Roman’s first attempt and creating the Antichrist. Rosemary discovers a picture of the young couple in their apartment and discovers the girl leaped to her death from their bedroom. This could have been an interesting subplot but it is VERY quickly solved and will more than likely never be mentioned again. Which sort of leaves me wondering what exactly the point of it was? Perhaps for people who aren’t familiar with the books or the original movie? Or was it just filler?

Overall the story remains the same, Rosemary becomes suspicious of her friendly neighbors while Guy gets increasingly wrapped up with them. The witchcraft and satanic rituals are all still present and we are working toward the ultimate demon spawn. And this is really where the series is failing to deliver. Sure, the actors are doing a decent job and the development of Margaux and Roman is welcome but it is all too familiar. We are basically being given the same story we know just in an elongated fashion. I will be interested in seeing how the second half incorporates the second novel, The Son of Rosemary but if they go with that original ending then we are all in for a big eye roll.

My final word on the first half of Rosemary’s Baby is that it does a decent job rehashing the same story but is ultimately unneeded. Thankfully, NBC really knows how to bloody up its horror with pretty decent practical and CGI effects.

Rosemary’s Baby Part 1: C

Rosemary’s Baby Part 1 aired on Sunday May 11th, 2014 on NBC 

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