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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on March 21, 2013
I love this movie! While I often think no remake does a better job than the original, this one comes pretty darn close. I enjoy watching it almost if not just as much as the original. And it appeals to my young children more than the original does. So that is a bonus. Definitely a must-have for your Christmas DVD collection!
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on December 30, 2012
The little girl is so precious and charming. She melts my heart. I love the way the whole story comes together at the end. Very romantic and adorable. Sweet, sweet, sweet!
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on September 29, 2000
Attenborough is a very satisfactory replacement for Gwynn in this remake, and the little girl is better than Natalie Wood (my biggest complaint about the original is Wood's performance; she's annoyingly precious). The romance is a little flat, but it was in the original, too. Perkins just isn't as good as O'Hara, (hardly anyone is), but McDermott is better than the telephone pole that played the lawyer in the original (it's no accident that John Payne wasn't a big star). And the "trial" makes a little more sense than in the original, although I sure missed William Frawley (aka Fred Mertz) as the judge's political advisor.
Overall, I think that this is a very satisfactory remake. It doesn't quite reach some of the high points of the original, but it avoids enough of the lows to make it just fine. And my kids like it better, probably because it's in color and has a more modern feel. It's become a family tradition to watch it on Christmas Eve, and I rather look forward to it every year...
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on December 27, 2000
Having seen the 1947 version of this movie- I must say that it seems to me that the 1947 version set the groundwork for the story, but THESE are the sets of actors meant to play the parts. The best actor, of course, is Richard Attenborough, the gifted director of ''Gandhi'', and a superb, truly sweet actor. His Santa Claus represents something Edward Gwenn's does not. His Santa Claus is a SYMBOL of faith, a symbol of believing in a magical world of childhood and keeping it alive inside of your heart. His St. Nick project genuine innocence, kindness, and oozes vulnerability. He seems to be the only true figure untouched by the evils and selfishness of the world. Elizabeth Perkins is heart-rending as a cold, formal, non-believing mother. She brings an icy calmness to her cool, almost unlovable Dory Walker. Maureen O'Hara (in th 1947 version) did not project the coldness or the cyncial appearance that Perkins does. When St. Nick explains to her: '' I am not only a person but a symbol. All who cannot believe in me are doomed to a life to cynicism and have no escape from the actual world'', she later stands and cries softly in an elevater. That was a very moving scene. Dory has buried every bit of hurt at the loss of her husband so she can remain strong for her young daughter (a hauntingly sad Mara Wilson). Dylan McDermont is Brian Beddford, a man who is ALMOST perfect in every way- except even he, in a sense is a non-believer. He cannot truly have faith in his friend, nor does he take his friend's claims to be Santa seriously. He is a kind-hearted, but slightly cold adult. The heart of this movie is truly in it's explaination of Santa Claus- so much different from the predictable 1947 version. This movie goes deeper than the previous film (it involves a dollar bill and the words '' In God we Trust''). This film actually ACKNOWLEDGES there is a Santa Claus, the old film simply delivers mail form children stating that THEY believe in Santa. St. Nick here is heavily symbolic of innocence and utter sensitivity- of childhood hopes, and unburied emotions. Also the chemistry between Brian and Dory is tangible. In short: Watch this film if you want a new idea of the true meaning of Christmas, and the true power of believing in Santa Claus.
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on December 10, 2000
I love that this remake didn't sell out very much, and put in too much modern stuff. It is very successful in keeping a "traditional" feel, with only a few exceptions. Mara Wilson is absolutely delightful and classic in her performance, and I really like Elizabeth Perkins' reproduction of the original role. And Dylan McDermott, whom I typically find very flat and dull, is sweet and charming as the sincere bachelor attorney with an eye for Perkins.
Richard Attenborough is amazing as Santa, at least as good as the formidable original. The scene in the original featuring Santa visiting with the Dutch war refugee girl is replaced in this remake with Santa visiting with a little deaf girl. The scene in the original is about as sweet as any scene in any movie ever, and the remake is even sweeter! The deaf girl's face, when Santa talks to her in sign language, is absolutely worth the price of this DVD.
The only real weakness for me was the John DeLancie and Jane Leeves part of the movie, as two "evil" agents for the "enemy" department store (where all the upper management wears all black). They reminded me of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern from "Home Alone" -- sort of bumbling bad guys in a bad cartoon sort of way.
So all in all, I really think that this version is as good or better than the original, which is simply too dated in a few respects for me to be able to enjoy unconditionally. I think both of them are definitely worth owning.
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on October 10, 2001
You'll fall in love with the magic of Christmas all over again with "Miracle on 34th Street," the modern day remake of the 1947 classic film about a young girl who gets the ultimate Christmas wish when she meets the real Santa Claus. With an extremely likeable cast, a faithful adaptation of the original material, and holiday spirit and cheerful execution to boot, this is one holiday film you won't want to miss.
Set in our time, the film opens with the Cole's Thanksgiving Day Parade, as Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) comes upon a severely drunken actor who has been employed to play Santa Claus in the parade's send-off. Her problems are solved when she runs across the delightful Kris (Richard Attenborough), who bears a striking resemblance to the real deal. She convinces him to replace the now-inept actor, and the parade goes off with nary a fault.
Kris's authenticity touches many of those who come in contact with him, including Dorey's young daughter, Susan (Mara Wilson), who is a non-believer. Kris, along with family friend Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDermott), sets out to make a believer out of Susan, all the while charming the children who sit in his lap at the department store, and causing a buzz of good publicity for the department store.
All of this is done with a great deal of charm and holiday spirit. The movie is one of the better modern Christmas films I've had the pleasure of seeing. The fact that it is based on a classic is of no importance, because it keeps the spirit and wisdom of that previous film and instills into a setting we can better relate to.
It keeps in touch with the original's many touching moments. One that comes to mind is Kris's conversation with a deaf little girl, a truly touching moment that rides the movie's emotional carriage home. It's scenes like this that give the movie such an uplifting sense of direction and spirit, along with the central message, as Kris so magnificently puts it, that "if you can't accept anything on faith, then you're doomed to a life dominated by doubt."
The real delights come from the cast, a perfect addition to the movie's already wonderful story execution. Richard Attenborough is a marvelous actor, and bleeds of good cheer and high spirits; he is the ideal Santa Claus, and his performance is very touching. Equally touching is the acting of little Mara Wilson, who plays Susan with a wit beyond her years, but also provides her with the same childhood skepticism that captivating young minds are so capable of. McDermott and Perkins can't hold a candle to their two costars, but their acting is nonetheless superb, and very believable.
There's nothing to find fault with in this beautifully crafted holiday film, and however you look at it, "Miracle on 34th Street" measures up to the standards of the original. Destined to become a classic, it develops a warmth and charm found in so little modern movies, and its intentions are nothing less than grand.
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MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1994) is an updated version of a classic film that has a lot of heart but not quite the charm of the original. Definitely a good Holiday film for the whole family, it has a certain message for kids to keep the Christmas Spirit and ideology alive.
Directed by Les Mayfield (Encino Man, Flubber) it tells the tale of Santa Clause being set up for failure. Does and or should the world believe in him. Thanks to the efforts of a small non-believing girl...the magic of the season prevails!
Starring Sir Richard Attenburough (Jurassic Park, Hamlet) as Father Christmas himself, he is left with wits and efforts of lawyer Dylon Mcdermott (The Practice, Twister, Steel Magnolias) to save his life and gain him his freedom before Christmas. The skeptic, Elizabeth Perkins (Cats & Dogs, The Flintsones) who plays the department store promotions manager who hires and then has to fire Santa himself becomes a tough cookie for her daughter, played by Mara Wilson (Mrs. Doubtfire, Matilda), to convince he IS real.
This also has a great final performance of the late J.T. Walsh (Pleasantville, A Few Good Men) and as the judge who must decide the fate of Santa, Robert Prosky (Mrs. Doubtfire, The Chamber) gives a phenomenal performance for his small role.
A great Holiday film for the whole family to watch. Give it a chance - it may bring some Christmas Spirit into your day! (1-2-03)
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on December 15, 2012
I really love this version of Miracle on 34th Street. This is the one my kids will remember more so than the older one.
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on October 21, 2003
First things first...why even bother to remake such a great movie. Oh, I know, it was remade in the 1970's with sebastian Cabot in a made for TV movie, but still. This is a classic that will always stand on its own.
You will never be able to surpass the original, the bar is too high. You know the story...a man who looks like Santa is hired to play Jolly Ol' St. Nick at a department store and then gets into trouble when he insists he's the real deal.
Unfortunately, this movie has none of the warmth, charm, humor, or magick of the original. The actors all seem to be sleep walking, the little girl playing the Natalie Wood role is annoying, and the courtroom sequence and ending is devoid of the magic that made you wonder if there really is a Santa.
Skip this and stick with the original
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on December 3, 2003
Let me say two things.
1. I love old movies.
2. I mistrust remakes.
However, I loved this remake. It has become a regular part of our Christmas for the past 10 years. My wife loves it and I do as well. Get it now!!
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