What is the true value of that very special movie you hold dear? That film perhaps in your younger years you pictured yourself as the hero or wept with struggle of the protagonist. That film you can quote ad nauseam. That movie no matter how many times it comes across your T.V. you at the very least have to stop and breathe in the experience.
What if that movie was remade? Would you turn over cars and light dumpster fires to protest its release? Would you start a social media campaign condemning the blasphemous remake? Would you climb the highest mountain top and curse the gods?
On the Super Hero front in the next couple of years there will be a new Batman. After billions were made on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight masterpiece there will be another man stepping into the bat suite. Why? Money with a side of money and also a pinch of spicy money sauce. With Marvel and Disney making bank on numerous properties i.e. Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, and more character films and series on the way there is no stopping Sony, Fox, and Warner Brothers from making money off of their heroes. Properties cannot and should not sit on the shelf to gather dust if there is tangible interest from the public of seeing that character or characters on screen. Nolan is done with the Batman universe and it makes no sense to continue a series of films that some would say was creatively broken (and saved by Nolan with “Dark Knight Rises”) with death of Heath Ledger.
On the action movie front we have seen the struggle of remaking “classics”. “Total Recall” which came out in 2012 and of course was in many peoples minds a remake of the 1990 film in reality was based on the source material of Philip K Dick’s “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”. Was it a good film? Yes, but it was not a knockout of park or a financial success. Most recently, “RoboCop” was remade and hasn’t fared well in the U.S. (although 136 million overseas to date is nothing to sneeze at) is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name it had just so much more soul than the original. In my view it brought more raw emotion than the rather to me the one dimensional original. Dredd the 2013 film which was based on the same character as the 1995 “Judge Dredd” is if you have the opportunity a great film from top to bottom. Artistically, pace, and just nonstop action that really captures your attention quiet well. The Stallone version was campy and really a movie that either intentionally or not intentionally made fun of itself. Action films don’t have to have soul but it is so nice to see depth in a genre that often lacks it.
Comedies are an interesting venue for remakes, I have read that there is a “Naked Gun” remake in the works. Is it needed? Not really but hey if it’s done right I guess it could be good. At one point there was talk of a new Lampoon’s Vacation film but I haven’t read a thing about it moving past a rumor. “Ocean’s 11” made in 2001 was remake of 1960’s film was fantastic. It seems to me that certain scenarios are remade more than films in the comedy genre. The “Trading Places” gimmick that has been done over and over again with “Freak Friday” and most recently with “The Change Up”. Buddy Cop comedies are a dime a dozen. Romantic comedies are more than a dime a dozen they are puked out more than a freshman at his first keg party. I love original comedy films. Comedies to me are so organic and when done right so much fun to watch.
The Drama genre is so expansive and seems to have a bevy of retellings at least from my perch on the movie tree. There are so many retellings of “Romeo and Juliette” it would be impossible to list them all. “Pride and Prejudice” seems to be a popular story to bring to the big or small screen every three years. 2010’s “True Grit” was a remake of the 1969 John Wayne classic. Remakes of foreign films can be awesome. “The Departed” was a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film “Internal Affairs” and was groundbreaking. Stieg Larsson’s “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” trilogy of novels was made into a Swedish set of films and was transported to the US with the Daniel Craig/Rooney Mara thriller in 2011. The U.S. version was the only version I have seen and it was edgy, dark, and good.
Remakes I know are a touchy subject. We love what we love. Taking ownership of a film you love is just natural. As AMC writer John Campea would say “Your DVD doesn’t disappear when the film is remade”. I agree. I am also one of the few who love George Lucas’s updates of the Star Wars franchise. It was his baby. A man updating his house is seen as improving the home’s value … why can’t a director, producer, and movie god update his property? It is his to do it. Thus why can’t a studio remake or re-launch, retell, movies or characters such as “Batman”, “RoboCop”, or hell down the line “Lord of the Rings”? If the want of the public is there and the property is huge why not? It takes nothing away from that film or character you love and in many instances is easily forgotten if it is awful. I love the original “Ninja Turtles” films (except for the 3rd) but if the re-launch is good I won’t forget the original. I will love both for what they are; pieces of film making history. Representations of two very different era’s. I love great movies!!! I love them for what they are. I can not and will not get to angry for a studio trying to make money I reserve the right to be angry at a bad film for simply being bad. That way of thinking has given me some great tent pole films i.e. AVENGERS! I embrace remakes and cannot wait for your feedback.