Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Remakes

Yeah, yeah so you're going to say, oh but The Thing is a remake and that's great. And The Fly. And...


No.


I've had a lot of discussion recently about remakes (because there are so many of them) and any remake you can name that was actually good, you have to go back about 20 years or more to find. They were made because someone thought they could make a great movie out of the concept. They weren't made during a time of total creative bankrupcy and cynical lowest-common-denominator film financing.

Oh, but what about Dawn of the...

No.

That wasn't a remake. It shared the name of a movie and one location - a shopping mall. That's it. No characters were brought over. Not the story. It didn't even have zombies in it. Wasn't a remake.


The use of the title there was little more than a symptom of the problem. Slap a name on it that people will recognise and hope that will sell it. Do you think The Thing really had any value in its name? Wasn't even the full title of the original movie. Was a whole different time when Carpenter made that movie.

Modern remakes are not made with love. They are dead. Soulless. Especially those that are remakes of current movies that just happen to be made in a language other than English.

They're shit.

And that's why I don't watch them.

29 comments:

Andy J. Latham said...

I don't get how there can be so many remakes these days. Why do audiences stand for it? How can a film that has all the creativity of a breeze-block command huge audiences? I know there are some idiots around but is the cinema-going public as a whole really that stupid? Surely not.

I guess maybe it's something to do with the economy....? People have been going to the cinema more during the recession, apparently to escape (although how that works, I don't know, given how expensive a cinema trip is). So if they are desperate to go, they'll see any old crap that gets put on rather than going because of a desire to see a particular film.

I dunno, I'm clutching at straws there, but I hope something changes soon, because my 'worst film I've ever seen' is changing on a weekly basis!

susan said...

I was talking to a friend of mine this weekend, and told him they had just finished a remake of Logan's Run. I was pretty gutted about it. He was looking forward to it. I said I wouldn't watch it, I don't like remakes- other than the one I told you I liked Bitter

I hate hate hate remakes of songs. Original artist only. Unless it's your kid.I even hate when original artists re do their songs. Why did Clapton redo Layla? Stupid! Dunno how I feel about Britcoms that get re- made to American Comedies. For some reason that works. Dunno why.

Did you hear they wanted to do remake Wizard of Oz and color the beginning? Take me in the back yard and shoot me like Old Yeller, I'm done.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Um... you did watch BSG, amigo :-P

Dorseytunes said...

Soon we'll see what they've been doing to music for a while now. Take a bunch of great movies scenes and mix them in with some crap and you've got rap ala film.

Hollywood is too scared to do much of anything new. Like I tell my kids when a new CG remake (ex. Underdog, Marmaduke, etc.) comes out. "They keep destroying what little precious memories I have of my childhood."

susan said...

U guys know they just started filming a live action version of the Smurfs 2 weeks ago in Manhattan?

Vomitorium stage left....

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Bell said...

Remakes are an apathetic approach to film making.
You have a limited time on this earth, so why spend that time simply rehashing something that has already been done, without even giving it any thought of your own?

From putting “a new spin” on an old franchise to doing and unnecessary sequel, or just a straight remake of something, probably from the 80's, it seems that everything old is being revamped or re-made. If grave robbery were a crime… which I thought it was… Hollywood would have countless sentences to serve.
You don't get any of your time back. The point being that while churning out those rehashes of whatever you lose the opportunity to make something that has your voice to it, that hasn’t existed before. Re-makes (even good ones) don’t make me angry, they make me sad.
My problem with them certainly isn't the perceived quality of the "new" version / product. The originals were probably done over a decade or more ago, if they can't make them "better" or at least on par with the originals then they really are hopeless money wasters. And executives can't stand the thought of wasting money. Many hands are involved in the process of making a feature, and just because it’s easier or more sellable to remake or expand upon something done previously, I think that for the sake of all those involved, including yourself if you are a director, you should always attempt to create something from the ground up.

I think many people misinterpret, or selectively intemperate that fabulous quote by Jim Jarmusch on Authenticity. Google Images “Jim Jarmusch quote” if you don’t remember it. To me, a large part of it simply says that we all draw from the same pot creatively. That pot being this planet and our lives, comprehension of and experiences while on it. As fellow human beings many of those experiences and basic comprehensions are shared ones. Personally, I find that an amazing and comforting thought. Drawing upon ideas from those fundamental experiences isn’t stealing simply because others have probably written or expressed something likewise at another point in time, perhaps in a similar way. It simply reiterates our interconnectivity as a society and as the same biological creatures. Yet even with all those shared elements, experiences and ideas, there is still an immense wealth to be explored and expressed as long as you attempt to explore it, and always attempt to build your creations from the ground up.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Of course, a Hollywood producer might justify remakes by comparing them with Theater stage plays —was Lawrence Olivier the ONLY actor in the history of mankind with the right to perform Hamlet?

Hey, someone has to play devil's advocate once in a while >:)

Matt Bell said...

@ Red Pill:

There are always two sides of the coin.
I think the point is to see the coin as a whole, not just one of the two sides.

You can’t say everything in a single post somewhere on the internet, there will always be stuff that you’ll leave out. As long as those reading that post understand that and don’t simply assume that just because the post expressed sentiments for one particular thing, that it means you’re clearly 110% against the other. Conversations, discussions & even arguments should always start from a position of middle ground, with each participant able to take a step in a particular direction to express their current opinion, but with the knowledge that any other opinion is just as valid a step in another direction.

Matt Bell said...

Again @ Red Pill:

On that note, I forgot to add previously. Good point.

Matt Bell said...

Apologies for trolling B.A's entertaining, honest and insightful blog, but my words became somewhat muddled in a section of my main post. I'd like to amend that one section:

Many hands are involved in the process of making a feature. Unfortunately remakes seem to be made purely because it’s easier or more sellable to simply remake or expand upon something done previously, but I think that for the sake of all those involved in the process, including yourself if you are a director, you should always put in the effort and attempt to create something from the ground up.

Bitter Animator said...

That Hamlet is a stage play makes it entirely different - it was written to be performed live. And, while different people play Hamlet, it's rare they rewrite it and cast pretty twenty-somethings (as teenagers) straight out of The Hills (though I'm sure not unheard of).

Modern remakes love to 'reimagine', which means lose the essence and point of the movie while recycling some key scenes and doing them worse than they were done the first time around.

As Matt says, they are an apathetic approach to filmmaking and it shows. They don't have to be - as some of the classic remake examples show. But that's what they have become.

Red Pill Junkie said...

I think we should make a distinction between movies that allow themselves to be re-played again and again, as long as you have a great cast of actors/actresses —e.g. Twelve Angry Men, Inherit the Wind, Les Miserables, etc— and flicks that are re-made because the producers want to add a whole new set of CGI candy-eye and it's cheaper than to pay for an original script.

I believe a mildly educated film fan can see that difference.

So maybe what I'm saying is the only movies worth re-made are those that are based on literature classics or famous stage plays, but that's just my 2 pop corns ;)

Bitter Animator said...

Unfortunately, with your distinction, it's the latter that currently fills our cinemas as has been for five years or more.

If someone is to remake a movie, it should be a bad movie. Take a really godawful movie that had a good idea behind it and turn it into something better. Give it a second chance.

But even if someone is going to do that, they should wait until (hopefully) this creative bankruptcy is over so it doesn't get lost in the CG sea of cack.

susan said...

I wonder what Bitter thinks of sequels and prequels.

Bitter Animator said...

I have no beef with sequels. They aren't always needed and certainly aren't always good but I have no problem with them as a concept. There are loads of good sequels.

But prequels? If there's a prequel out there that didn't turn out to be utterly pointless, I can't think of it. You know the end of the story - by it's very nature, it's filler. Thing is, the film it's a prequel to would have started at the very point the story became interesting.

Red Pill Junkie said...

"But prequels? If there's a prequel out there that didn't turn out to be utterly pointless, I can't think of it."

Have faith on Guillermo ;)

Bitter Animator said...

Well The Hobbit isn't really a prequel in the usual sense. It's that Lord Of The Rings is its sequel. Though, there is actually a prequel, isn't there? Can't quite remember.

But I do think, as a movie, The Hobbit will suffer from coming after LotR rather than before it. Especially given the simplicity of the book - it's not just a children's book, for the most part it's just a bunch of stuff that happens. Why he'd stretch it out to two movies is baffling to me.

Red Pill Junkie said...

"Why he'd stretch it out to two movies is baffling to me."

I think he wants to tell the story of some of the LoTR characters prior to Fellowship, aside from the Bilbo story joining the dwarves and defeating Smaug and all that —Aragorn when he met Arwyn, maybe?

Nobody is safe from failure, of course. Still, Del Toros is so committed to his vision that I'm really excited of what he will do with Tolkien's universe.

I'm sure he would be the kind of guy who could make a brilliant remake of Plan 9 From Outer Space :)

susan said...

RPJ,

My cat could make a brilliant remake of Plan 9!!! Seriously. She could.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Dibs giving the Criswell intro!

sephim said...

I say if they're going to remake a movie, they should cast it entirely with chimpanzees. How awesome would The Thing be if it was recast with chimpanzees?!!

Bitter Animator said...

Some films would be great with chimps, like Jaws or Die Hard 3, but others I wouldn't be so keen on. Like Basic Instinct.

I did think of one worthy prequel but it barely counts because its status as a prequel is no more than a technicality - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Red Pill Junkie said...

"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

Because of the year? Hmmm. Last Crusade's first part works more like a prequel, I think.

Titanic with chimps would be pretty cool, too —"I'm the king of the world! *beats his chest* :-P

susan said...

Does Star Wars count as a prequel? If it does, does that mess up your theory? Cause it was never really made as a prequel?

Red Pill Junkie said...

I think Bitter was thinking EXACTLY of Ep. 1-3 when he gave his opinion against prequels. And I wouldn't be in a position to disagree much :-/

I just thought of another movie that could be considered a prequel, and it's pretty damn good IMO: Casino Royale.

PS: The last Star Trek movie was also worth watching, even though I'm aware that His Shatneriness wasn't required for a cameo ;)

susan said...

RPJ- the Casino Royale with Peter Sellers? Or the remake with Daniel Craig? I did not see the latter though he is dishier. Sorry guys, I forget I am like the only girl who comments here. in the all boys clubhouse. Forgive me.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Well, my sister kind of dragged me to see the movie with Craig, and I admit I enjoyed it —maybe not as much as her, specially with the part when he appears with those tight swimming trunks :-P

The bad guy was pretty good, too.

Bitter Animator said...

More of a reboot than a prequel though. I don't see this man becoming Roger Moore in the '80s.

And the most recent Star Trek movie could be seen as another sequel rather than prequel, given the events that lead to the story.

Star Wars prequels, yes. Prime example. But not the only ones. There was that Hannibal prequel. And... what else? There must be more. Ring 0? Any others?