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Movie Remakes: When is it right and when is it wrong?

In the modern cinema age it seems, far to often than not, that the films we watch are very familiar to ones we’ve seen before. Quite often this is because films are influenced by greatness and classic movie moments will happen again and again. Other times this is because you’ve found yourself watching a modern movie remake of a classic. (warning some images/video NSFW)

ApesRecently, I was watching “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” with my wife and it got me thinking. This is a film of which the original (Planet of the Apes) I loved. It was gripping and ground breaking with some amazing use of prosthetics. Then in 2001 it was remade for the first time staring Mark Wahlburg and Helena Bonham Carter and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t that impressed. Although the CGI and prosthetics had improved over the years they hadn’t really added that much to an already made story. They also tried to change to be original but just ended up looking a little slap dash and missing the point. The recent re-make took the original story and evolved it, giving us a new angle on the already set story. Instead of a human being dropped into a world of intelligent chimps and apes we see how a chimp gains his intelligence but loses his trust from man.

 

I’m not going to say which remakes where good and which were bad. I just want to have a look at where films have been remade but have had nothing added and on the flip side look at films that could do with being remade to take advantage of modern technology.

Arny Head

Robocop did do rather well in its remake but did also glass over a fundamental point of the original story. It set up Omnicorp to be this protective and caring corporation. It starts to move away from the original movie when Alex Murphy is almost killed (if you know Robocop, you will know that’s no spoiler…) In the original its a gruesome scene, showing the true evilness of the criminal underworld that has taken over Detroit. The Not a good daythugs take pleasure in blowing off Murphy’s limbs and watching him try to crawl away. In the remake some one plants a bomb on his car. It almost detracts from the horror thats inflicted upon him that makes him need the Robocop “suit”. The oddest thing for me is that when Murphy first “awakes” as Robocop he has full recollection of who he is, what happened to him and who his family and friends are. In the original the main plot of the story was Murphy re-discovering who he was and in the end breaking though his programming to overthrow the evil with-in OCP. It was still a good movie and the family element did move the plot along but personally it did miss the point.

War of the worlds had a lot of scope on what could have been done with it. Its a story that has been told many times in many different mediums from radio musicals to live stage shows. When I heard a modern film version was going to be released I was hopeful. With the aid of modern CGI and a fresh look on science fiction it could have been a jaw dropper. I’m not going to talk about casting because I don’t like Tom Cruise and basing a films casting on one actor would be mean. My main problem with this re-make is again how they have changed the story for no apparent reason. In the original novel the Martians come to earth in large cigar shaped silver pods that are shot out of a cannon from the surface of Mars. They unscrew these pods, emerge from them and build their tripods before laying waste to humanity. In the Tom Cruise movie they ride down to the planets surface… on lightning… to climb into tripods already buried in the earth…

War of the worlds

…what the hell Hollywood… are you even trying?

All the films I’ve been looking at films that have been remade for better or worse. I would now like to ponder upon the “what could bes” of the movie world. We all hear rumours about what films could be remade next and one rumour that I hope is true is Starship Troopers. I know what your thinking “Chris you’ve just been slating the other Paul Vanhoven remakes, why would you wish the same fate upon another classic?” well dear reader the answer is simple. Starship Troopers (the 1997 original) was missing one huge component, Exo-suits. In an interview for Starship Troopers: Invasion Casper Van Diem was asked why there were no suits in the original Starship Troopers. It seems that Sony (who were backing the film) only had a limited budget. Which isn’t surprising for an unknown sci-fi coming from a book from the 50’s. Vanhoven was given a choice, Thousands of bugs on the screen at the same time, or exo-suits. Personally I think he made the right choice.

top-11-epic-battles-starship-troopers

I think given a modern movie budget and CGI ability (not that the original CGI was shoddy, those arachnids where amazing!) we could see full on mobile infantry war and Skinnies to boot! It would also be interesting to see if they could take more of the political story that’s apparent in the book and feed that into the film. Not that I didn’t enjoy the head exploding violence in the original, it would just make for a different film.

In conclusion I think a lot of people would enjoy seeing the original version of films along side the new era re-makes. Some times its hard to compare them side to side as move makers end up creating new films from the same material. Some times the new films miss the point of the original material but if they got every thing right film critics would be out of work. Personal I love a good classic film with physical props and some times cheesy acting over a modern CGI fest. The question is…

Would you like to know more?

 

 

 

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