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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Original Vs. Remake

I hate remakes with a fiery passion. 

Anyone who knows me, know that I would sooner gouge my eyes out then have to sit through one.  Now, I will confess, that I do watch them and try (try being the operative word) to merit them on what they bring to the table.  I will also confess that there may be a couple I actually like (House On Haunted Hill springs to mind - still nothing beats Vincent Price no matter how much I love Geoffrey Rush).  But overall, I detest them.  Unfortunately for me, my circle of friends are obsessed with them.

Last weekend, I was invited to a friends house to watch a few movies.  It's a little something my group of friends and I do once a month.  I'll bring the popcorn, they bring the booze and then it's movie mania.  

My girlfriend, Ashley*, put in a movie, telling us that it wasn't something that we would have seen before unless we stayed home and watched daytime TV.  She told us that she had stumbled across it when she was home with the flu and enjoyed it so much that she had to show it too us.  The film started and it was sad to say that I didn't recognise anyone in it.  Then it hit me.  I was absolutely disturbed.  The film was Pretty Poison.  Originally it stared Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld and was made in 1968.  What disturbed me more was that I own the original and here I was watching a sub par TV movie that was deemed 'enjoyable' by a trusted friend.

I bit my lip, watched it without saying a word.  There were some good moments, and the acting wasn't as terrible as what I thought it would be, but the moment the credits rolled I let forth with my rant.  It was shot frame for frame (as was Psycho's remake in 1998) and the leading man who was playing Perkins' role, did it no justice whats so ever.

Ashley frowned and said she enjoyed it and thought we would too.  I told her next movie night she could watch the original then compare.  She agreed but then decided to test my loyalty to originals. 

With the exception of a few films, I am loyal to the originals, no matter how old they are.  Ashley then asked about TV shows, bagging on my love of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  I loved the TV show, yes.  I loved the cast of the show and how dark it was made, the humor.  It was perfect in my eyes.  But, I also loved the movie.  Luke Perry and Kristy Swanson were fantastic.  Donald Sutherland and Rutger Hauer have wonderful bouts (And would later co-star in Salem's Lot) and Paul Reubens stole the show as Amilyn.

I had praise for both the TV series and the movie.  (The movie, for me, was helped massively by the cameo of Sasha Jenson from Dazed and Confused and Halloween 4)  I was glad when my friends decided to get off the subject (despite me bringing it up) and go back to watching movies.   

My night didn't get much better then that because then I was subjected to Rob Zombie's Halloween remake and the treacherous Nightmare On Elm Street remake. 

By the end of the night, I was praying for a blackout. 

As I headed home, I began to think about remakes.  They pop up everywhere these days, unbeknown to most.  Whether they were a movie being turned into a television show or visa versa, they are becoming part of our culture.  Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose's Place, V.  All have been done before and are now back again, taking another crack at the limelight.  Do I watch these versions?  No, because in my eyes, it takes away from everything that had come before it.

My friend Terry* and I got into a discussion about remakes recently.  He sides with me in that no classic should be ruined by someone attempting to better it with more impressive CGI formats or trying to improve the quality of the film.

"For me, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was ruined by Johnny Depp's performance," Terry said.  "I like Johnny Depp.  Hell, I'd turn gay for Johnny, but seriously, there is no one other then Gene Wilder who can play Wonka so perfectly."  I have to agree on that. 

In my opinion (and I'm not asking you to agree, I'm just asking you accept my opinion) Hollywood are running out of ideas so they just keep producing the same stuff in hopes it will bring in more money.  The horror genre has been redone to death (no pun intented) and honestly, I don't think I could handle watching Jackie Earl Haley butcher the role of Freddy Krueger again.  I have nothing against Jackie, I think he's brilliant, but Freddy Krueger he ain't.  That role is reserved only for Robert Englund. 

So I ask, if there are no more ideas left in the Hollywood machine, why not pump out another sequel as opposed to a remake?  Rather then making Jason Voorhees a over-repressed Mamma's boy, why not send him back to what he does best; Kill without reason.  Hell, even Wes Craven realizes that remakes tend to spell the end of a series.  Rather then producing a remake of Scream, he pumped out another sequel.  A sequel won't damage what has come before it (simply because if it's truly bad, it can be dismissed from the series like Halloween 4, 5, and 6 were dropped when H20 hit theaters).  If anything, it will add to the bank balance and not piss of the original fan base.  Win, win. 

I don't wish to see The Towering Inferno 2012 nor do I want to see someone else take the role of Elle Woods of Legally Blonde.  I don't want to see in ten years time Johnny Depp replaced as Captain Jack Sparrow or see Jaws return to the big screen as a CGI shark.  

Classics are called classics for a reason.  They can not be bettered by being turned into color, or using expensive CGI techniques.  They have stood the test of time thus far, and will continue to do so. 

1 comment:

  1. Here Here! I'll drink to that! Well worded