In 2006, Nicolas Cage screamed three words enshrined in meme legend: ‘Not the bees!’
We mustn’t forget, Cage is an Oscar-winning actor. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent with such a unique gusto, whether it’s Face/Off, Con Air, Leaving Las Vegas or his latest heart-wrenching work in Pig. His movies may not always be wins, but he rarely misses when it comes to his performance.
The quality many know him for, perhaps a bit unfairly, is his unchained frenzy – Crazy Cage, if you will – and The Wicker Man remake is arguably his crowning work in that area.
Released 15 years ago today, The Wicker Man stars Cage as Edward Malus, a police officer who embarks on a doomed journey to an island with a neo-pagan community. Unlike Edward Woodward’s deeply ominous travels on Summerisle, there’s almost no dread here – just unintentional comedy throughout.
At a relatively merciless 102 minutes, we watch Cage flail around this island, baffled at every turn. There’s the ‘How did it get burned?’ scene, that moment where he decks a woman while dressed as a bear, and then, right before its inevitable fiery end, the bees.
After breaking his legs, they cover his head with a mask and dump bees inside, prompting him to scream, ‘What is that, what is it? Oh no, not the bees! Not the bees! My eyes, my eyes! Agh!’
Despite it being marketed otherwise, Cage was always in on the laughs. ‘Even though I am dressed in a bear suit, doing these ridiculous things… how can you not know that Neil and I knew that this was absurdist humour?’ he said in 2013.
The Wicker Man is available on-demand.
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