Saturday, March 14, 2009

Top Five Movies Due For a Remake

This post is actually coming to you from sunny Texas (OK, rainy Texas, but it beats single-digit Minnesota temperatures.) And I'm stuck for an idea, I'm wasting time that could be spent watching my niece be goofy, and it's only my superhuman dedication to my reading audience that keeps me from just skipping this week. (The smart-alecks among you may point out that I'm "superhumanly" posting this two days late. That's not the point, people, stay focused.)

So I'm just going for the easy post this week: Given that Hollywood seems to be remaking just about everything, why don't we use that power for good and direct them to some movies that need a little remake love? Here's five movies that need to be remade today, and why.

5. The Last Starfighter. This one had it all--a brilliant high concept, action a-plenty, heroes fighting it out for the future of the human race, and some classic one-liners ("What do we do now?" "Die.") But unfortunately, they decided to go with CGI graphics when those were still in their gestation, let alone their infancy, they had a slightly-below-par budget for the flick, and as a result, I don't think it was realized quite as well as it should be. Admittedly, a remake would lose Robert Preston's wonderful performance, but it's not like it erases the original from the shelves.

4. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. No, seriously. Ben Edlund agrees with me, and he made "The Tick"! It's a fun, goofy idea for a kid's movie, with Martians trying to kidnap Santa Claus to make the Martian children happy, but it suffers from several poor performances and the lowest production values of any movie in history. (Seriously, Ed Wood spent more money on his films.) Imagine for about five seconds what Pixar could do with this, and you'll agree it belongs here.

3. The Lost World. Not the "Jurassic Park" sequel, although given how bad that turned out, they could probably stand to take another whack at it. No, I mean the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "hidden valley of dinosaurs" classic, done with reimagined special effects, a huge budget, and not necessarily a slavish devotion to the original like "King Kong" had.

2. All Quiet on the Western Front. This is pretty much here as a representative of all those great classic "should be made into a movie once for every generation, as a lens through which we can examine ourselves" books. The story is about World War I, but so timeless that it always seems to be about the current war, and it'd be nice to see a lavishly produced version by someone like Spielberg. (Think "Saving Private Ryan" in WWI...)

1. The Universal Horror films. I've been going on about this at length for some time now (and I'm not done--next week is "The Invisible Man"), but seriously, these could be evergreen franchises for Universal if they only took the time and effort to develop them. These could be like the James Bond movies, vehicles for unlimited numbers of popular sequels, so long as Universal doesn't make the mistake it did last time of diluting the brand with low-quality, shoddy sequels that they figured would sell simply on the strength of the title. A slick, unpretentious, exciting remake of "Dracula" is always going to work, whether today, tomorrow, or a hundred years from now.

1 comment:

Jared said...

The one thing I really like about All Quiet on the Western Front was that we got to see things from the German point of view.

Unlike the Nazis of World War II, the Imperial German government during World War I was no better or worse than most of its enemies, and was only partly to blame for the war, with France, Austria-Hungary and Serbia all eager and ready to rumble.

Most of the fiction produced in the Anglo-American world, whether in literature, movies, or on TV, shows us the American or British perspectives of the World Wars. It's really interesting to see how the Germans, the Turks, or the Hungarians all reacted to the war.