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These Reboots Are Made for Walking 05.05.2009

Posted by Commodore Mendez in Star Trek Stuff.
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From the Burger King collection. Yes, I braved their disgusting definition of food for these. I never claimed to be immune to marketing.

From the Burger King collection. Yes, I braved their disgusting definition of food for these. I never claimed to be immune to marketing.

Dear Nascent Ennui,

Reboots, you say. As you know, these are not at all a recent phenomenon in Hollywood. But, what, young man, is the win-loss percentage on those?

Let’s run down a partial list of execrable remakes/reboots: I Am Legend (yuk), Breathless (blech); Father of the Bride (stop!); Diabolique (why?); Rollerball (sad, failed attempt at something that could have been amazing); The Bad News Bears (why?!), The Manchurian Candidate (yeah, no), The Stepford Wives (no!), The Longest Yard (NO!), Psycho (love Vince Vaughn, but no), Planet of the Apes (this one gets me really angry), Get Carter (doesn’t touch the pain of the original), Mr. Deeds (worth remaking, but someone please stop Adam Sandler), Shall We Dance, Unfaithful, The Jackal (and Richard Gere), Around the World in 80 Days (80 trips to the loo is more like that), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (ack!), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996, with Brando, bad), War of the Worlds (what a waste!), Godzilla, Wicker Man, Vanilla Sky, The Fog, My Favorite Martian, Dudley Do-Right, Scooby-Doo, Mission: Impossible, The Poseidon Adventure, The Jazz Singer, House of Wax, Bewitched, Jungle 2 Jungle, The Time Machine, Lord of the Flies, Night Must Fall, The Omen, Halloween, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Down to Earth, Flipper, Fun with Dick and Jane, The Getaway, I Spy, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Hitcher, The Bionic Woman, The Women.

(As a side note, War of the Worlds was remade well. Except the movie was called Independence Day.)

Other planned reboots, counting on our short cultural memory: Daredevil, Predators, and Superman. Movies less than a generation  old!

I will give you that some remakes are as good as or even masterfully much better than the originals, like your vaunted Battlestar Galactica soap and Casino Royale (although we had to sit through Goldeneye et. al. to get to it). Ocean’s Eleven (didn’t have all the coolness of the original but how without Dean Martin);  His Girl Friday, an exceptional redux of The Front Page; The Maltese Falcon (made twice before the classic), A Fistful of Dollars (an adaptation of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo); The Brady Bunch (nicely respectful and still a great parody), The Italian Job; Solaris (yes, a little boring, but it’s a cerebral story no matter how you make it). And look at The Fly and The Thing—incredibly superior to their originals. Even the recent The Last House on the Left, while unnecessary, brings something new to the table.

You KNOW there are so many good ideas out there. Maybe a lot of them are horribly derivative. (What is the running number of “all stories that can be told”? Four? Five?) But isn’t it wonderful—and better for us as a culture—to see something new, instead of something familiar—and love—bastardized.

I understand, this all may be good for the younger generation. But the originals are not gone. They exist forever digitally. Or is it that we  want to see what new directors and writers can do with these classics?  But so many new directors and writers suck! I don’t mean that facetiously—modern popular cinema is marked by poor quality and heavy corporate interference. (Maybe it’s always been that way, but the seams seem to show more now.)

I am at a loss. But suffice to say, I hear you, brother.

With consummate aplomb,

Eve Plumb’s Plumber

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