April 13th, 2016, at 7 p.m.
Sometimes we don’t need movie remakes.
Let’s get one thing out of the way quickly. When I say ‘”remade” that includes “reboot” as well. While I’m sure some people can argue that that is two very different things, I think the similarities are intertwined too much to be separated. For example, in the horror movie genre, the new Nightmare on Elm Street was a remake. Not a reboot. Whereas Dredd 3D, had nothing to do with the Sylvester Stallone film in the 90s. Therefore that is a reboot. In that particular case the reboot or remake was absolutely needed. Stallone’s take on Judge Dredd was so far off the mark it was a tragedy. However, most remakes or reboots never quite live up to the original.
The remake of Robocop (2014) is a classic example of someone shitting all over the original. The gory sci-fi future flick from the 1980s directed by Paul Verhoeven needed not to be redone. They missed the humor and satire of the original by a long shot. I won’t buy that for a dollar.
It’s also not just limited to movies. Video games are also remade from time to time. It’s a little bit more obscure example, but there were the Sierra adventure games from the 80s. The most well-known could be considered King’s Quest. The original sprites and graphic looked terrible, and there was serious game play flaws, like “dead ends” in the game. It was remade a few years later with improved graphics, but the overall game was not improved upon. There was something missing. Some magic from the original wasn’t there. It didn’t feel like a King’s Quest game.
In music they call me remaking a song a ‘cover’. I’m not even going to go there, because 99% of the time covers never live up to the original. If you think Sheryl Crow’s version of Sweet Child of Mine is better than Guns and Roses you are on the wrong website. Close your browser now and go buy Lilith Fair tickets.
But I digress. We were talking about movies here, weren’t we? So, why are movies even rebooted in the first place? The first answer is, simply, commercialism. If you remade the BMX movie Rad today, you would have parents who would want to take their kids to see it.
This is is the theory at least, and it isn’t fool proof. A case in point is the new Point Break remake. It did not come close to capturing that lightning in a bottle that the original Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Busey movie had. Although we loved the stunts in the new movie.
Another reason movies get remade or rebooted is a profound love of the original and of the nostalgia that surrounds it. In the hands of a talented director this can be a good thing. The best example I can think of in recent times is Zack Snyder‘s remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Fast zombies vs. slow zombies controversy aside, Zack Snyder’s remake may even outshine the original zombie sequel. (I’m going to catch some shit for that one.)
The key to this being a success is the talent of the director. For example, Steven Spielberg has expressed interest in redoing the Last Starfighter. Every fanboy’s wet dream to see what modern technology could do with the video game meets alien starfighter. He, obviously, has the talent and experience to pull this off. I would buy that for a dollar!
So you ask, if some movies should not be remade, which ones are they? Starting with Mr. Spielberg, let’s go with Jaws. All the stunts and the shark, AKA Bruce, were done with practical effects. Roy Schneider Richard Dreyfuss and the other guy, put in Academy award-winning performances. It is a master of suspense and no amount of CGI could ever replace the line, “I think we’re going to need a bigger boat.” Anyone who attempted to recreate this monumentally special picture would fail.
Sports movies do not need to be remade. Rudy, Chariots of Fire, Hoosiers, The Natural… Just leave it alone. We don’t want it, and no one asked for it. Besides, they all have the same underdog story arc anyway. Simply change the characters, sport, setting, and you have a new sports movie.
The next grouping of films that don’t need to be remade, are unfortunately likely to be. There’s just too much money to be made at the box office. I referring to major action blockbuster franchises. Die Hard, Terminator, Rambo (First Blood), Dirty Harry Magnum Force, or Lethal Weapon (see below). If you thought the remake of Conan the Barbarian during an era political correctness was awful, imagine how bad some of the other Schwarzenegger films will come across. Come with me… if you want to see a crappy remake.
This list could go on forever, so we’ll give you one more type of movie that does not need to be remade and then we’ll move on. Buddy comedy movies, like Riggs and Murtough from Lethal Weapon. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, any Chris Farley and David Spade schlock, and even go back in time to see your grandparents favorite comedic duos. Movie producers will never capture that perfect mixture again. Sometimes, even the two original comedians in the first film can’t recapture it. Ahem… Dumb and Dumber, we’re looking at you.
Maybe you think we hate reboots, but that’s not the case. Like the early examples in the now way too long rant, there are some good remakes out there. The JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot has been fantastic. Here are a few films we think would make awesome remake material.
Weird Science. Two junior high nerds use the power of their home computer to magically Frankenstein up an uber hot cyber babe. Classic 80s hilarity ensues. Major happy ending at the end. Even though there was short lived television series, starring Vanessa Angel, a remake of this could do really well.
Bridge over the River Kwai. A classic war film with the whistled theme song that will never leave your head once you hear it. Given the “Fury” treatment ala Brad Pitt, with some updated special effects, this could potentially be a huge hit. New generations of movie fans probably aren’t familiar with the classic, and could be exposed to how badass the “Greatest Generation” was sometimes.
Which movie remakes would you add? We want to hear from you in the comments below. Tell us which of your favorite movies would do well with a remake, or your thoughts on the worst movie remakes of all time. Don’t say Red Dawn, we already know… Thanks for reading and come back daily for new content.