JER: Here is a topic that I believe both JOHNNY CHAZZ and I have danced around, but never really took it for a full spin. I am talking about the brainless notion to take quality stories, films or ideas and re-work them for a whole new generation to enjoy. In other words, the concept…or misconception acceptability by the general audience to allow these re-visioned, recycled pieces of garbage to be taken in as entertainment!
At a recent outing to my local theater, I always find myself constantly looking forward to the displaying of new posters, banners and standees that decorate the theater’s lobby with the similar anticipation of a child waiting for
Disneyland to open! As my eyes began to fixate and take individual inventory of the presentations made available… here is a rundown as to what the movie- going audience has to look forward to.
First off, the ‘re-imagined’ version of THE SMURFS: the movie takes place in present day and the annoying blue little pests somehow end up in New York with hopes to return home. I don’t know what is worst…taking them out of their native Smurfville or that they befriend Neil Patrick Harris in our world! Oh, then there is Hank Azaria playing the evil wizard Gargamel. Double- oh: the movie’s opening gross brings the films at Number Two with $35 million dollars. Triple- Oh: The studio announced plans for a sequal set for 2013! UGH!
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES: Although I am looking forward to this film, it is ‘re-boot’ of the original series, this being the origins story as to how the apes got to be smarter than humans. So then, we are supposed to forget about the Tim Burton film altogether and glue- in the original Charlton Heston 1968 classic irght after RISE. Wow, that is a lot of mental cutting and pasting to do! At blog- time, the film opened Number One with $54 million. Still really wanting to see this one!
THE AMAZING SPIDER- MAN: Another ‘reboot/ remake’ of a story we just saw ‘re- imagined’ back in 2002! Personally, it is too soon to have us see another visional version of the story we had already began to accept as both origin and stories! What was wrong with director Sam Raimi’s films? The box office dollars and sequels didn’t seem to go against the audience’s cries for more! Other than just more CGI, I really didn’t see anything new that this trailer presented that we didn’t already see in the first film.
Other coming attractions include remakes, reimagined, reboots and retakes on the following titles: FOOTLOOSE, FRIGHT NIGHT, THE EVIL DEAD, THE THREE MUSKETEERS, TOTAL RECALL and ROBOCOP! Seriously….enough already!
In this so- called sophisticated world filled with technological advances including I- phones, I- pods, Kindles, I- pads, smart phones, text messaging and Skype… is the world of imagination gone so sour that we have to keep recycling material as recent as ten years ago? Really? When did it start and why does it continue? Have we deemed ourselves to such a heightened level of sophistication that everything must be ‘updated’ because our sensory neurons cannot take anything that isn’t involving CGI (Computer Generated Images) or 80’s haircuts? All joking aside, the cause has been serious since the start and it has become worst!
I really don’t think it is the audience crying for this change- up in the original presentations. So, my judgmental index finger points an accountable digit at studio execs, writers and anyone else who passes the “green light” to move forth with a production blessing!
The “what- if” question was also posed by director Steven Spielberg when he conceived the basis for his 1991 disaster, HOOK. “What if Peter Pan grew up?” Hey Steven and Tim, why don’t you stick to the already great stories that are tailor- made to your individual styles, respectfully and present that outline instead! Spielberg was the prime candidate to direct a Peter Pan film in his days…but he ruined it! It is a blatant opened- palm slap onto the forehead!
I have to mention director Gus Van Sant’s 1998 ‘stab’ at the remake of the immortal classic, PSYCHO. Van Sant literally shot his movie frame by frame, constantly viewing a portable DVD copy of the original 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film for references. Well then, why remake it? What was the point? Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates was taken on by Vince Vaughn and Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane was filled- in by Anne Heche… both latter actors, in my opinion, brought absolutely nothing to the classic characters portrayed by the fine actors in the classic telling. What was the point, then…to reshoot a black and white film into color? To see a little red blood as apposed to the dark blacks? To make Alfred Hitchcock roll in his grave? I am still baffled…
What about taking an original film’s story, updating it from its time and calling it something else completely different? I will shine the light on two observations I personally have made.
One other comparison would begin with 1970’s A MAN CALLED HORSE. The film takes place in 1825 when an English aristocrat, John Morgan (played by Richard Harris), who is captured by Indians as an enemy. As time progresses, Morgan comes to accept the ways of his Native captors and wishes to join their tribe as a brother. He must pass the very dangerous and deadly ritual named “Ceremony of the Sun” before he can shed his pass and move into the ranks of the tribe. This film’s plotline and comparative storyline can arguably be compared to the 1990 Academy Award winning film DANCES WITH WOLVES.
There is a very small silver lining to this dark and pendulous cloud looming overhead. Not all of these labeled films have been bad. So let me separate a “good” and “bad” list for you. Maybe you will not recognize that some of these films are remakes, so I placed the year the newer movie was released followed by the original source’s release date. These are a small number I came up with:
GOOD: SCARFACE (1983/ 1932), TRUE GRIT (2010/ 1969), FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1991/ 1950), CAPE FEAR (1991/ 1962), HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1999/ 1951), THE WOLFMAN (2010/ 1941), THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008/ 2003), STAR TREK (2009/ 1966), KING KONG (2005/ 1976/ 1933), THE MUMMY (1999/ 1932), THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003/ 1974), THE ITALIAN JOB (2003/ 1969), OCEAN’S ELEVEN (2001/ 1960), GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN (1984/ 1981), DRACULA (1979/ 1931)
BAD: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010/ 1984), HULK (2003/1978), THE KARATE KID (2010/ 1984), FRIDAY THE 13th (2009/ 1980), MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009/ 1981), THE BAD NEWS BEARS (2005/ 1976), THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009/ 1972), HALLOWEEN (2007/ 1978), HALLOWEEN II (2009/ 1981), THE OMEN (2006/ 1976), THE FOG (2005/ 1981), TARZAN: THE APE MAN (1981/ 1932)
|Newman & Gleason: THE HUSTLER|
JER: A very impressive list of films brought forth… some of which I had forgotten to include in my list! JC, I need to make a slight correction on one of your films you are referencing to. THE COLOR OF MONEY is not a remake of THE HUSTLER, it is a sequel. Paul Newman continues to play “Fast” Eddie Felson in the sequel and still takes on the embarrassment of losing and being ‘hustled’ by
Fatts (Jackie Gleason). He takes his streets- smarts and takes on the ‘loose cannon’ crack- shooting Vincent (Tom Cruise) as his protégé. Minnesota
I nearly twinged in my seat when you placed THE BIRDCAGE on your list of good remakes that worked. I recall giving my two cents on your blog topic posted on June 8th, 2011 entitled “Recognizing Director Mike Nichols” to which I slammed everything that film presented itself with that just didn’t hold a candle to the original 1978 French classic LA CAGE AUX FOLLES.
I actually stayed away from foreign films that were remade to fit the American palettes, but since you brought it up by mentioning THE RING, SCENT OF A WOMAN and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO… then I have to mention a few worth talking about.
As your feelings were expressed by THE RING, I have to bring up the 2004 version of THE GRUDGE produced by Sam Raimi. The film was directed by Japanese director Takashi Shimizu, who helmed the original Japanese film entitled JU-ON in 2000. There were certain legends and beliefs that probably wouldn’t have translated appropriately by any other director, however,
did an excellent job in introducing a Western audience to its traditional and specific taboos that assisted in the creep factor in this modern haunted storytelling. Shimizu
Both THE RING and THE GRUDGE opened an Eastern door into the Japanese world of horror and thrillers with other topical remakes including THE EYE (2008) taken from its original Japanese 2002 film GIN GWAI. 2008’s SHUTTER was remade from its original Thai 2004 version. Yet another 2008 release, this time for ONE MISSED CALL derived from its original 2003 Japanese edition and finally 2005’s DARK WATER, taken from its 2002 Japanese release entitled HONOGURAI MIZU NO SOKO KARA.
We have seen several French films make its way to American audiences from its own crop of remakes as well. Previously mentioning THE BIRDCAGE from its (way funnier) original LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, I have to bring to light the Westernized version of 1985’s 3 HOMMES ET UN COUFFIN with its 1987 THREE MEN AND A BABY! But the most embarrassing American remake from a classic French film has to be 1993’s POINT OF NO RETURN, taken from director Luc Besson’s 1990 euro- thriller, LA FEMME NIKITA! Yikes!
The point being made here is that everyone begs, steals or borrows from anyone or anything else it can get its grubby little paws on! Nothing is sacred or respected. I shudder at the now- confirmed “prequel” to THE WIZARD OF OZ entitled OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL. The film tells the story of how the Wizard found his way to Oz to rule the enchanted land; it is set for a 2013 release. One ray of hope is that it will be directed by Sam Raimi.
Another prequel coming our way is THE THING. Wait a minute, the prequel to THE THING (1982) which, in itself was a remake of the original 1951 classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD is also called THE THING set for release in October 2011? OK, I guess… follow along with me and we should get through it safely. This story takes place with another
Antarctica research team that finds the alien ship and causes a fist- to- cuffs confrontation between graduate students wanting to study the “thing” and scientists wanting to cut it up!
|I AM ONLY KIDDING!!!!|
JOHNNY CHAZZ: Jer - Touché in regards to how we are coining the 're-make' phrase in terms of "The Color of Money" with reference to "The Hustler" as a 'sequel'. Still, I think so many people still view the 1986 film as being a re-make in a sense considering the resemblance and plot. It is a film that finds itself years in the future, but remains a story that was told in similar fashion (yet far superior) 25 years earlier. With respect to this, I will always view it as an attempt to re-live and revive interest in "The Hustler".
Now, as for the re-make of “La Cage” ("The Birdcage"), please keep in mind that I did anticipate some static from our audience and definitely from you regarding this selection. You know as well as I that I almost always favor the original / foreign film, but there was something about the colors and the energy of the re-make that just worked – Je ne sais quoi……
I am glad that we had the chance to discuss the foreign-film remakes as there are so many have been attempted, yet failed miserably. Your reference to “The Grudge” is well-received as it is a film I have seen (as well as its Japanese predecessor) and I must agree with your selection there. To say that the film woke American audiences up to the ‘creep factor’ shown in 'Ju-On' is a vast understatement.
As for “La Femme Nikita” my friend, ‘Yikes,’ as you state, is the appropriate adjective selected here.
We also tremor at the thought of re-working the “Oz” story into what will hit the big screen in the near future. So many films have borrowed from this story including our blog last week (Mulholland Drive) to a film I discussed in this week’s forum (Pan’s Labyrinth). As for “Oz: The Great and Powerful”….I have absolutely no clue as to what direction that film will travel – but, the yellow brick road will likely not be the road taken.
With regards to the re-make of the 1951 Sci-fi flick eventually resulting in “The Thing” in 1982, I can see your point Jer. This is a film I have forgotten about entirely, but are they really making another one in 2011? Hang it up please.
JER: Thank you for those final words of encouragement, JC. I sure hope someone out there is listening. As I am about to put the lid on this subject… I was horribly reminded of two recent comedies that ripped the guts from its predecessors.
Where do I begin…or better yet, the question best posed here is ‘when will it end?’ 2006 pushed forth an abomination of a remake of THE PINK PANTHER with Steve Martin taking on the roll of Inspector Jacques Clouseau, originated by the one and only Peter Sellers. The original PINK PANTHER series began in 1963, to which, the world would be introduced to the slapstick timing and hilarious accent that only Sellers could present forth. It would also be the start of a wonderful and laugh- filled relationship between Sellers and director Blake Edwards who would helm the following sequels: A SHOT IN THE DARK (1964), THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER (1975), THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN (1976), THE REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER (1978) and TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER (1982) which used archived footage to complete the film since Peter Sellers had passed away on July 24, 1980. There just cannot be another Inspector Clouseau than Sellers, with respects to the very funny Steve Martin. It just doesn’t work for me.
|Peter Sellers as Clouseau|