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Re-envisioning the past

29 November 2011

OK, I warned you. Back when I was gushing over the films of John Carpenter, I warned you that a screed about movie remakes was on the way. Now it’s here, and you have no one to blame but yourself. And me, I suppose, as I wrote it. But let’s not get bogged down in blame — instead, let’s get right to the trend of remaking old movies and TV shows rather than coming up with anything new.

Somewhat surprisingly, I’m not against the concept. It works well in some cases — the Clooney version of Oceans 11 was, I thought, way more fun than the original. Likewise, Taxi Driver was actually a re-imagining of the John Wayne film The Searchers, if my film studies teacher in college is to be believed (and he won an Academy Award for something or other, so that’s credibility in my book). So the remake can work, and work well.

But some of them… I’m not so sure about. In a lot of cases, the original movie nailed what it set out to do so well that I can’t imagine why anyone would feel the need to remake it. I can easy apply this to all of the John Carpenter stuff that’s been remade in recent years, as well as the rumored upcoming remake of The Crow. These films did exactly what they needed to do, and those remakes make me a little angry.

The reason there is, I think, because the folks behind the remakes aren’t redoing them because they feel they can improve on the original idea. I get the feeling that it’s more like “this made money before, so let’s do it again and make more money.” And yeah, I know — film is a business, just like everything else. But unlike most other businesses, occasionally movies produce something that’s more than the sum of their parts, that’s more than just the formula plus money. They produce something special to a generation of people, and I’m not really happy with that being exploited for further commercial gain.

Of course, all of the above is probably just old-man ranting, so I’m interested in your take — what’s your opinion on the glut of remakes we’re seeing lately?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 November 2011 1200

    It cuts both ways, I think. “Always”, in my opinion, was better than “A Man called Joe”, but the older version of “Flight of the Phoenix” trumps the new. Both “Italian Job”s and “Dawn Patrol”s had god an bad parts. I prefer the 80s “King Kong” over Pete Jackson’s OR the 30s. And as for “The Three Musketeers”….every 20 years they do a new one. Let’s hope this coming one doesn’t suck as much as it appears to….And then there are the directors who muck their own films up be “re-imagining” them 20-odd years later. Cough…Lucas. And Spielberg with “E.T.”. That’s my 2 cents, anyways.

  2. 29 November 2011 1201

    and WOW i need a new keyboard. Yes, that’s the excuse I’m sticking with…..

  3. Nate permalink
    29 November 2011 1359

    Most of them (not all) get on my nerves, although some series did need a reboot. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight didn’t just revitalize the franchise; they took Batman as a property to a level that no one could’ve dreamed of back when the 90’s movies were made. I thought the original Tim Burton Batman was solid, but even that one doesn’t hold a candle to the Nolan films, IMO.

    (Remind me to punch Joel Schumacher later.)

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