MTV's latest classic


MTV's "Wuthering Heights" (7 p.m. Sunday on Cable 36), an updated, musicalized adaptation of Emily Bronte's classic novel about the tragedy of love, proves that not every story can be made relevant for today's teens.
The problem is that the grand passions and social motivations of 19th-century England seem almost silly set in modern California. If the story were kept period, it might have had a chance with the same fresh-faced actors.
But the questions of uncertain parentage, patriarchal inheritance and women's second-class social position just don't have the impact today that they did a century or more ago.

This version comes across as sluggish, even a bit silly. Certainly, it's not a bit believable as contemporary drama.
Erika Christensen plays Kate, a beautiful free spirit who grows up with a foundling lad named Heath, who was taken in by her father and raised in their isolated lighthouse mansion.

Despite warnings from her wary and jealous brother (Johnny Whitworth), she falls for the troubled young musician (Mike Vogel) that Heath becomes.

But his dark, controlling passions, born of not knowing who he really is, drive her into the arms of the quiet, rich milquetoast Edward (Chris Masterson) next door.

Edward's manipulative sister (Katherine Heigl) makes a play for abandoned but hunky Heath and turns him into a red-hot rock star. Despite his success, he can't be happy because he can't forget his first -- and lost -- love, leading to tragic consequences.

Despite the hokiness of the drama, there are five new songs from Jim Steinman ("Bat Out of Hell," "Total Eclipse of the Heart"). But other than a haunting love ballad, they seem skimpy and repetitive.
I applaud that MTV is trying to give new life to classics that would otherwise be ignored by today's teens. But producers need to be more mindful of what cannot be updated.

"Wuthering Heights" is a particular disappointment after MTV did so well with turning the classic Bizet opera "Carmen" into a modern "hip-hopera" with Beyonce Knowles.
Better luck next time.



Eclipse Eclipse