Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Movie Reboots and Remakes - Why?

Today the news was announced that Warner Brothers Studio plans to remake (or rather re-imagine) the movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry, a film that even the kindest of us Buffy fans have to say wasn't great. A lot of studio and producer interference saw Joss Whedon's script being hacked to bits and the 1992 film was the messy result. Five years on Joss had another stab at it, as it were, this time for television and created a cult classic that ran for seven seasons.

Now those studio heads want to have another go themselves, this time without Joss. At all. One of the film's producer's Charles Roven has stated that "There is an active fan base eagerly awaiting this character's return to the big screen." Yes Mr Roven, there is indeed a fan base that want a return of Joss Whedon's Buffy, but not yours or anyone else's. I don't normally say a film is going to suck before it's even be made but I struggle to see how this is going to work. I'm a believer in giving a film a chance and see what the makers will come up with. Buffy without Joss Whedon though... I just don't see it. It won't have the humour, the dialogue, the tongue in cheek references, or the emotional depth that the series had. And, if rumours are true, it won't have any of the characters we came to know and love, not even the rest of the scooby gang. The word most uttered in the office today among us Buffy fans was: why?

Buffy is not pleased with the new script. Not at all

We know why of course - money. Lots of lovely money. They're relying on the fact that the new generation of Twi-hards (or is it Twilighters, I can never remember) will flock to see another vampire film aimed at the teenage market, and that Buffy fans will also go, at least once, if only to deride the film afterwards. But is it right? Is it right to remake something that, arguably, there is no point in remaking. There has been a definite increase in the number of films I remember from childhoood being remade for a new audience, films that have nothing wrong with them and could just be polished up and re-released. Below are some other planned remakes in the works. Whether they actually happen or not is another question (Hollywood is notoriously fickle) but what they all have in common, at least in my opinion, is that there is no need to remake, re-imagine, or reboot them:

Flight of the Navigator - 1986 - A brilliant film I remember fondly and still lives up to my rose tinted memories of it. A remake is in the works and is due for release in 2011, with "Wild Hogs" (oh dear!) writer Brad Copeland penning the script, along with John Hyde reprising his job as the executive producer, having done the same for the original. But it is and always was a Disney film so no doubt will appeal to the kids. Bet it won't have the Beach Boys music in it though...

Total Recall - 1990 - A new version is set to hit sometime in late 2011, and is of course "based" on the original starring the iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger. I love this film even now and watch it whenever I get the chance, being one of the great science fiction films of the last twenty years. Cheesy and exciting in equal measure it did the best it could with the special effects they had, and is ever watchable and quotable. Recent news suggests that Colin Farrell (!) may take the lead role, with Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender also mentioned as potential leads. How any of these actors could ever live up to the wisecracking antics of Arnie I don't know. Lets hope that totally re-edited last act is a sign they know to avoid copying the original too much.

Quaid didn't take the news of a remake well.
Never Ending Story - 1984 - Warner Brothers again, this time remaking the classic fairy tale that was Never Ending Story. I don't know about anyone else but I like the luck dragon just the way he is and don't want a CGI version. Even if he did look like an extra from the muppets. Nothing too official yet, so this is one that may not happen. Depends how other remakes do in the meantime probably...

Spider-Man - 2012 - This is possibly the strangest from this list. All the above are at least twenty years old or more and in some ways it makes sense that studios would look to the golden oldies from the eighties to make some fast bucks. But the Tobey Maguire first film was only released in 2002, and this was in fact meant to be the fourth in the series. After much arguments among the main star, the director and the studio, and the subsequent walk out of the first two, a strange decision was made to totally restart the franchise. Eight years after the first film. Eight. Years. With the relatively unknown Andrew Garfield in the lead Sony are taking a big risk with this one, and considering it occurs back when Peter Parker is in high school (didn't we do that already?) they're going to have to pull something quite amazing out of the bag for this to work.

This is far from comprehensive list, but captures the few films on my radar as not needing remakes. What about you? Any other announced projects that make you wonder if Hollywood has lost it's mind or simply run out of ideas?


  1. Colin Farrell will only work if he is Irish. get yer ass to mars t'be sure!

  2. If you ask me, remakes can sometimes ruin a perfectly good movie. It's better to just come up with new stories and new concepts.

  3. What amazes me is those practically instant remakes of foreign-language films ... maybe the likes of Ringu, Dark Water, The Grudge needed "Americanising" to be more palatable to the Western markets, but I think they lost a lot for it. However, I'm not sure such an explanation can apply to "Let The Right One In"/"Let Me In" and the 'Dragon Tattoo' trilogy - that smacks more of studios fearing their audiences simply can't read. Why on Earth they do these "instant remakes" is beyond me, and can't be much fun for the talent involved. As to why Hollywood really does these bizarre things, well, I'm all ranted out for today ;-)