What is a remake/reimagining/reboot/redoingsomeoneelse’sidea?  Simply put, it’s a fresh take on a piece of work already within the public domain. Now, some of these may be household names, others may be the obscure titles that only the finest movie aficionados this side of the camera have heard of. Either way, original hit or not, the same rings true for all refreshers.

 

Over the years, there have been some brilliant redo’s (that’s what I’m calling them now) for example, the below, to name simply a few:

 

  • The Thing (1982)

  • Heat (1995)

  • Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

  • 12 Angry Men (1997)

  • The Departed (2006 – also the first remake to win Best Picture)

  • Star Wars – The Force Awakens (2015)

 

OK, OK obviously not the last one, but even that’s been called a redo of Star Wars (1977) and indeed the Original Trilogy, but that’s a discussion for another day. When done correctly, a redo doesn’t even seem like you’re watching the same film you may have watched years prior, and what’s the problem with bringing back great stories to newer audiences?

 

The problem is – no one is asking for them.

 

Maybe that’s short-sighted to believe, but I haven’t conversed with anybody who believes we need more redos saturating the box office and (potentially) blocking the way for, you know, original content. In 2015, the three top redo’s – Poltergeist, Point Break and Secret in Their Eyes – didn’t have people dancing naked in the cinemas with joy, and in the cases of Point Break and Secret in Their Eyes, just about clawed back their production budgets in ticket sales (Poltergeist did bring in $60m over budget with $95m). None of the three touched the Top 50 grossing movies of 2015.

 

Similarly was the case for Annie (2014), Evil Dead (2013), Carrie (2013), Footloose (2010), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) – big name redo’s that didn’t hit it with audiences, the reason? None of them needed to be done! When you think of Footloose, I think of Kevin Bacon cutting loose not whoever tried to be him (Kenny Wormald, incidentally)

 

Carrie is Sissy Spacek, not Chloe Grace Moretz (sorry Chloe) – who incidentally starred in another redo, Let Me In (2011) a decent attempt at the superior Let the Right One In (2008)

 

On the same level, Freddie Krueger is a horror (and movie) icon that is locked in as Robert Englund’s portrayal – does that mean no one should ever attempt to have a go themselves? Of course not, but when something is so beloved and recognised for what it already is, why attempt to interject?

 

Robocop was rebooted back in 2014, doubling its budget and raking in a respectable $240m, however, for me, the best parts of the movie were when they tried new ideas, rather than harking back to the original of 1987. The question here, though - was this redo necessary?

 

I’m waiting for the day when I hear someone say how they were clamouring for a redo of The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

 

It’s worth pointing out now that the above-mentioned films are in no way sacred to me, and I have no personal motivation to be negative.

 

 

The need to redo foreign films for international audiences is a sticky topic. The success of films such as The Ring (2002), The Grudge (2004), The Birdcage (1996), The Talented Mr Ripley (1999), The Magnificent Seven (1960, 2016) and even The Sound of Music (1965) (again, to name a mere few) (plus, there’s a lot of ‘The’ happening there..) lends weight to the argument that bringing these movies to a wider audience can be a triumph. But for every one of previously mentioned, you get The Big Wedding (2013), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Pulse (2006), Martyrs (2016), The Tourist (2010) and Diabolique (1996). Personally, I enjoy watching international movies in their original format – I can read subtitles, follow the events and also be engrossed at once, you see – as this is how they were intended to be watched. International film studios have different ideas, restrictions (or lack of) and can offer a radical end product in comparison – the punishing initial viewing of Martyrs (2008) was not recreated by the (unnecessary) filtered American remake. International movies – for me, leave them as they are, however there are many cases where a redo can be beneficial also.

 

Now to be entirely fair, there has been some scorching redo’s in recent years – the Planet of the Apes franchise springs to mind, great films and money making monoliths also. Maniac (2012) was a faithful redo and Godzilla (2014) was nearly a great story (but made a ton of cash) plus mentions to The Crazies (2009) and Disney’s Christmas Carol (2008)

 

With all of that, the list of redo’s ready to be produced or slated for production is staggering:

 

  • Splash

  • Mary Poppins

  • The Craft

  • Wargames

  • Commando

  • Overboard

  • An American Werewolf in London

  • Wild Bunch

  • Jumanji

  • Logan’s Run

  • All Quiet on the Western Front

  • Drop Dead Fred

  • Soapdish

  • Honey, I Shrunk The Kids

  • Police Academy

  • Flight of the Navigator

  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

  • Three Men and a Baby

  • It

  • Cliffhanger

  • The Birds

  • Memento

  • Flatliners

 

I make no apology for the length of that list. Seriously, just look at it. A remake of Memento? But why? Honey, I Shrunk the Kids? Huh? I can see it now, the iconic transformation scene from An American Werewolf in London transformed itself into a soulless CGI-fest. Bill and Ted with Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter returning, I can smell the cringe from here. Wargames didn’t exactly do badly upon release with three Academy Award nominations. If I was to comment on them all, my fingers would drop off, so those examples will suffice. With big money Ben-Hur currently performing awfully at the box office, will that begin to send a message? Look at the constant bile spewed at the Ghostbusters redo - is it because it's a redo? Is it a bad film? Is it because it's an all female cast? One of the more controversial redo's of recent years, and everyone seems to have their own opinion on that issue.

 

It seems a fairly logical choice, as it was a mammoth TV movie with a TV movie budget and TV movie restrictions, and I believe will benefit from being on the big screen, as long as story is handled correctly with the right amount of suspense and the obligatory gore. The new incarnation of Pennywise is certainly someone I wouldn’t want hanging around a drain near me…

 

So, are redo’s bad? No. Are redo’s necessary? At times. Is the sheer amount of redo’s coming soon anything to worry about? Absolutely.

 

Why not create a new buddy cop comedy with new ideas, rather than digging up Police Academy? Who knows, it may even be looked back on with fondness in years to come, now there’s a thought…but whisper it quietly, I don’t want anyone getting any ideas….(there aren’t many out there anyway)

 

 

 

All figures are based on Worldwide Box Office returns as of September 12th 2016

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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