Is anyone else bored yet? As we prepare for possibly the least anticipated remake ever….Colin Farrell in Len Wiseman’s Total Recall…it’s probably a good time to slow down and have a think about why this is happening. You can’t even blame the idiot public…once a studio gets a franchise opportunity in their head they will push it, remould it and keep ramming it into the public domain until it sticks. When Hollywood ran out of Japanese horror movies to remake, it tilted it’s wobbly eye-of-sauron searchlight on a new seam of cinematic gold…the comic book. Built-in branding, prefab audience, limitless merchandising possibilites…and the chance to just start over every couple of years. Where could it go wrong?
The glut of superhero movies is a particularly blatant example…look at the continual attempts to rehabilitate The Hulk, the upcoming Man of Steel Superman reboot, the Spiderman franchise being reborn before we even knew it was dead…How long after The Dark Knight Rises disappears from the cinema will a Batman reboot appears? If it’s more than 5 years I’d be very surprised indeed. In fairness it will probably require a full-on total reboot as the next logical step would be a full-on Justice League franchise to rival The Avengers but how would the likes of Green Lantern and Aquaman fit into Christophers Nolan’s gritty real world vision? Again it’s all about the life cycle of franchises. Like Subway. Or New Coke.
And what’s that over there? Horror movies from the seventies? Sci-fi from the 80′s? Kerching…? Lets have a look at some of the more recent and impending remakes/reboots/do-overs and pass scathing comments where its due. And where better to start than the aforementioned Total Recall…
There is a case for remaking Total Recall…or at least remaking it as a more faithful adaptation of the original Philip K Dick short story “We can remember it for you Wholesale” and apparently the new film is closer to the source material. But why saddle it with the Total Recall moniker? The only brand affinity they can count on is people is their mid to late 30′s who saw the film in the studios and were blown away by the excessive violence and extravagance. For us, a family-friendly remake of TR devoid of triple-breasted whores and graphic dismemberment is like Jaws without the shark, but with a vaguely irritated manatee gently bumping into people instead.
Who knows, TOTAL
BOLLIX RECALL could be a decent little thriller, but director Wiseman is a progenitor of mostly bad movies. The film is already struggling with negative perception…Couldn’t they have used the same source material and given it a mad sounding new sci-fi name like “iMPRYNT” or something? Hell there’s a whole universe of Dick material out there, and they decide to go with something that’s already been made, and made by Paul f++king Verhoeven? There’s a whole combination of lazy, brave and borderline mental deficiency going on here. But maybe they’ve got us figured out, and the familiarity factor alone will lure people in to theatres. I know I’ll be watching it, but only to scoff at its bloodless mayhem and plot a mental fourway between Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, 90′s Sharon Stone and me.
THE HORROR, THE HORROR
The assembly line of horror reboots seems to have slowed down as the more obvious franchises have been milked and in some cases found wanting. Let’s have a quick list thing to tick em off without me trying to find a common narrative thread.
Dawn of the Dead – The first big remake to have me going “they cant do that? Can they?” As it turns out, the new DOTD was pretty decent and some might say actually a better film that the George Romero version. Let’s face it, it’s great fun and a brilliant conept but the acting is awful, the script hilarious and the zombies blue faced goons (much maligned Day of the Dead had vastly superior effects, even worse acting and great zombies…Bub! Tongue Guy! The Majorette!) The new one had Phil from modern Family! ER…CALLING THIS ONE A DRAW
Nightmare on Elm Street – movies of their time (and there were seven of them, including the atrocious sort-of meta Wes Craven’s New Nightmare) and looking very dated now…but the 2010 remake was utterly appalling and strangled a new unwanted franchise at birth. ABORT! ORIGINAL..WINS! (by a f++kin mile)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – its been 9 years since this remake! I dont know about you but that gave me a little chill because it doesnt seem that long ago. Wasnt too bad to be fair, and it did introduce the world to Jessica Biel’s bottom. Ultraviolent (bad) sequel followed, and inevitable 3d version following next summer. MEH. ORIGINAL..WINS!
THE HILLS HAVE EYES – vastly superior remake by alexander aja…to be fair the original films were awful and only memorable for having scary faced Michael Berryman staring off the shelf in the video shop. Followed by an atrocious sequel. Lets ignore that. HURRAH. REMAKE..WINS!
I Spit on your Grave / Straw Dogs / Last House on the Left – all decent-ish remakes of 70′s rapey exploitation rubbish. REMAKE..WINS!
Friday the 13th. Bloody hell, abysmal remake but then again the original is, let’s face is, not very good. The reboot did have a wondrous nude scene. REMAKE…BETTER BREASTS
HALLOWEEN. Makes me angry just thinking about this one. John Carpenter’s Halloween – creepy, imaginative, groundbreaking. Rob Zombie’s Halloween – none of those things. ORIGINAL…OVERWHELMING VICTORY
EVIL DEAD remake. Written by Diablo Cody. Brrrr. This will not end well. Out next April apparently. REMAKE…CAN NOT WIN!
HELLRAISER. This unfortunately still twitching franchise has been trundling along for 20 years now, and last years soul-tearingly bad Revelations was the ninth in the sequence. An official big budget reboot would have been ideal to purge the straight to dvd fodder still clogging the system but alas it seems Patrick Lussier’s vision will not be realised due to developmental clusterf+ckery. Although considering his track record it might be just as well, as he’s a terrible director suited only to schlock. Pascal Laugier was attached at one point, but dropped out. His vision could have been something really special…Lets see how Hollywood handles his brilliant Martyrs when the remake comes out in 2013. REMAKE..PROBABLY NOT HAPPENING! ORIGINAL WINS BY DEFAULT EVEN THOUGH THE FRANCHISE HAS SLOWLY TURNED INTO FESTERING CENOBITE SHIT
Overall, horror movies do lend to reboots simply because they are products of their time, age badly and can be updated pretty easily…just throw in a scratchily edited after effects title sequence and some new hair. Job’s a good un.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
No, they arent remaking that (yet) Its just a way for me to reference the fact that major players are harvesting older sci-fi movies depicting the future and….forget it. The recent Star Trek makeover was quite clever…it really did start the entire franchise over through the handy medium of time travel. The main issue for me at least is the reimaging of Paul Verhoeven’s holy trinity of ultraviolent sci-fi actioners. We’ve already covered Total Recall’s immiment splashdown, how about Robocop? Starship Troopers? Of the three, Robocop may be in the best hands…director José Padilha is a genuinely interesting choice…but apart from the slightly ropy stop-motion the 1986 original hasnt dated at all. Is there going to be anything anywhere near as OTT as this in it? Like f++k there will (warning: Full on uncut gore from the ED209 sequence)
Starship Troopers is also already lined up for a pg-13 remake as well. Again the original movie just hasn’t dated. The low-budget sequels have, but that’s primarily because they are cheap cack. But don’t just listen to me, listen to the new version’s producer Toby Jaffe…
“The more expensive a film is, the harder it is now to have it be that violent,” he belches. “It’s about re-interpreting it with a very new sensibility for a new generation that doesn’t really know the first film. It gives the studio, and us as producers, the opportunity to reintroduce it in a new way.” Translation…we know what’s best for you lot, now bend over and if you’re nice we’ll lube up this violation with some nice glittery cgi and 25% more bugs GIVE US YOUR MONEY
Finally, a more upbeat note – the recent reception to the Judge Dredd reworking .This is a film that demanded a second chance. The original had great effects, robots, costumes, sets…and quite literally nothing else at all. The new version has got black humour and gore by the bucketload and sounds like what we’ve been waiting for…since the early 80′s in some case in the GZ crew. We’re old, especially Davie Kong. The state of him. If Dredd succeeds, and the strong advance word means it has a good chance- then it will act as a simple pathfinder for film executives everywhere…if you pick up a fictional property with the aim of using its existing fanbase to make money then don’t jettison the actual qualities that made it succeed in the first place to slot in a generic plot, comedy sidekicks and gratuitious love interests.
Dredd was born out of 2000ad, a british comic created in the 70′s and there are literally dozens of amazing mythologies to be plundered here, far more diverse and plain weird than their Marvel and DC equivalents. Bad Company, Nemesis, ABC Warriors, Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog, Slaine…there are so many that Rebellion (game studio who purchased 2000ad in 2000) must be excitedly rubbing themselves through their executive pants. Because…just maybe…cinema is now ready for a new wave of heroes and villains. Something that hasn’t been done before.
And if they f++k it up, they can always have another go. Because that’s the way it works now.