Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Remaking, Rebooting, Reimagining and more (Ud 16/05/12)

*The remake section has been heavily updated, as the 'original' was pretty bare to what it could have been so after rifling through my DVD collection and flicking the brain into gear, this is now much better.

I can safely say that the original was somewhat deciduous, now I'm back with an evergreen effort.

I haven't * things as there was a helluva lot but shouldn't take too much to notice the aggressive expansion.

Mainly in the 70s to 90s, there were original films (maybe not in content or genre but definitely in title), that were simply billy no mates but if demand was warranted, that film would spawn a number of sequels.

As time passed, other directors would go on to make a film that looked strangely familiar and would 'remake' an accepted classic.

Nowadays, we have moved on from remaking as directors use more innovative ways to reinvent a particular franchise and then add sequels.  Before discussing those, let's focus on the only thing we had.


A remake is basically the process of taking the original, keeping all the recognisable and well known scenes and predictably have different actors portray the roles.

Depending on the film, the benefit of also using better effects is also a given.  However, these 'better' effects can be a double-edged sword as the classuc look can be ruined as CGI is usually adopted.

The harsh would accuse Hollywood of been fresh out of ideas.

It is very rare for the modern version to emulate the original.

Titles are usually retained but sometimes not.

Take the 50's film High Noon.  This was later remade in 1981 as Outland starring Sean Connery.

The remake of scary Spanish horror REC became Quarantine and Let the Right One was renamed Let Me In.

Quarantine 2: Terminal was not a remake of Rec 2 and although the same principle, was an original film.

Surprisingly, it's rather good.

We go back to the past with Kurosawa's classic The Seven Samuari (1954) and later in 1960, we know it The Magnificent Seven.

Assassination thriller The Jackal was released in 1973 and became The Day of the Jackal in 1997.

Hitchcock classic Vertigo (1958) got a makeover in 1976 with Brian De Palma's Obsession.

The Uninvited (2009) is a remake of 2003 Korean horror A Tale of Two Sisters.

Also, Japanese terror Ju-On - The Grudge would become The Grudge.

Spanish sci-fi Open Your Eyes (1997) would be remade as Vanilla Sky (2001), which was a forgettable Tom Cruise effort.

The 1974 classic Burt Reynolds sporting drama The Longest Yard had two remakes.

Before we continue with more, The Longest Yard was originally called The Mean Machine (I know this as I watched it on TV years ago).

First came Vinnie Jones and his Mean Machine in 2001 (using football instead of American Football) but apart from that unsubtle change, most of the script was recycled and quoted word for word, just in slightly different situations.

It was basically an excuse to reunite most of those who starred in Lock, Stock and Snatch.

Unlike the latter and former, this wasn't directed by Guy Ritchie.

Whatever, it was pretty awful stuff.

In 2005, Adam Sandler took the lead role along with the annoying Chris Rock and was an official remake, but this was just The Longest Mile from being as good as the original.

Reynolds did co-star and take on the different role as Nate Scarborough (portrayed by Michael Conrad in the original).

Back to more remakes with a different name.

Hong Kong classic Infernal Affairs (2002), yes that's not a typo, became Scorcese's The Departed in 2006.

Korean horror Into the Mirror (2003) would become Mirrors in 2008, which also had an unrelated sequel in 2010.

The House on Sorority Row was shortened to just Sorority Row in 2009.  Why?

The Thing from Another World (1951) became The Thing in 1982.  Fairly stupidly, the prequel was also called The Thing.

Spielberg's Always (1989), was called A Guy Named Joe in 1943.

Kairo is a 2001 Japanese horror and would become Pulse in 2006.

Michael Mann would later remake his own made for TV movie L.A. Takedown as Heat in 1995 which was the first time De Niro and Pacino shared the same scene together.

Still, in 2008 they would be reunited again, but this time for an entire film in Righteous Kill.
Unfortunately, it was a shite cop thriller and proved that shoving two Hollywood heavyweights together in the ring doesn't always guarantee a good film.

Another Hitchcock effort in 1954 was Rear Window and later became Disturbia in 2007.

Of direct title remakes, here's a yummy selection.  There is of course more than I'll mention and the remake will probably be more famous than the original and inevitably, some may not even know that there was an original.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 and 2008)
Alfie (1966 and 2004)
Scarface (1932 and 1983)
Night of the Demons (1988 and 2009)
The Eye (2002 and 2008)

The 2006 remake of cult 1973 classic The Wicker Man is up there with the worst.  It's really fucking awful.

Others include:

Shutter (2004 and 2008)
The Omen (1976 and 2006)
My Bloody Valentine (1981 and 2009)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977 and 2006)
Black Christmas (1974 and 2006)
I Spit on Your Grave (1978 and 2010)
The Last House on the Left (1972 and 2009)
The Ring (1998 and 2002)
Bedazzled (1967 and 2000)
3:10 to Yuma (1957 and 2007)
Straw Dogs (1971 and 2011)
The Italian Job (1969 and 2003)
It's Alive (1974 and 2008)
The Crazies (1973 and 2010)
Clash of the Titans (1981 and 2010)
Insomnia (1997 and 2002)
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976 and 2005)
The Fog (1980 and 2005)
The Firm (1989 and 2009)
War of the Worlds (1953 and 2005)
Cape Fear (1962 and 1991)
Sisters (1973 and 2006)
The Amityville Horror (1979 and 2005)
True Grit (1969 and 2010)

Jaws wannabe Piranha appeared in 1978, then later in 1995 and 2010.

The 2010 version is called Piranha 3D.  Sequel Piranha 3DD saw more nasty fishes chomping on busty beauties and other unfortunates.

To wrap up.

The Fly (1958) and then in 1986.  This is one of the few exceptions where these effects triumphed over the original as Cronenberg's remake was deliciously gruesome.

Get Carter was a Michael Caine classic but replacing him with Sylvester Stallone, was like a Natalie Imbruglia song - Big Mistake.

The Hitcher (1986) is a great cat and mouse thriller, with Rutger Hauer portraying one of the best villains of the 80's and beyond.  He was replaced by Sean Bean in 2007.

Oh dear...

They even made a sequel to the remake which again was totally unrelated to the original.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three was subject to a 1998 TV remake of the 1974 classic.

To be different, the third remake was only known as The Taking of Pelham 123 and was released in 2009.  It starred John Travolta as the baddie.

Reservoir Dogs famously used colours to describe the dogs in Tarantino's brilliant directorial debut including Mr Orange, Brown, Blonde etc but Pelham would use these first as codenames such as Mr Brown and Blue.

Brown and Blue were the only colours 'copied' in Dogs so I guess Quentin ran out of colours?

Here's a strange one, Michael Haneke made Funny Games in 1997 which features a pair of youths terrorising a couple.

A decade later, he remade it for the American audience.

It's an unusual slant as you'd expect the remake to be remade in America by an American but not so.

Still, Mr Pink (Tim Roth) stars so that can only be good.

Romero zombie classics and his hordes of undead would be remade a few times.

His iconic first, made on a shoestring budget in 1968 would be updated in 1990.

Night of the Living Dead 3D was quickly forgotten in 2006...

Day of the Dead was remade 23 years later and would see Rhames star again but unlike Dawn, he would receive some fatal love bites.

The original maestro would continue his decaying damnation that so far, remain 'untouched' with Land, Diary and Survival of the Dead.

There's apparently more to follow...

So that's a whole load of remakes but who would shoot and score as the best from the definitive original?

I suppose Last House and Straw Dogs are decent candidates.

Ironically, both were infamous 70's hot spuds but even though classification has been relaxed, films are still cut.

Before we steamroll on, have you noticed how many foreign horrors have been remade?

I wonder why...

I reckon The Ring and Rec are the most famous remakes and hence, some may have braved the subtitled world to appreciate these (even if they’ve seen the American versions).

So far, there are loads of horrors and thrillers that exist in world cinema that haven't been remade (yet).  Of these, Oldboy, The Chaser, I Saw the Devil, Inside, The Horde, Switchblade Romance and Frontiers to name a few.

There's a French horror called Martyrs and I'm being totally honest, it's possibly the most upsetting film I've ever seen.  That emotion and/or feeling didn't change after a second viewing.

It really is a harrowing experience.


This is a great idea.  Take a well known franchise and throw everything you know out of the window and start it all again as basically your own film.

In short, take all the continuity out and hey presto - it's a brand spanker.

As it's intended to be completely different from the original, it allows directors a greater freedom of originality.

The only thing that will remain true will obviously be central characters.

There are of course others but the best example is Christopher Nolan's Batman.

I'm hopeful it will be a truly astonishing conclusion with The Dark Knight Rises in July which nicely fits in and around my birthday.

The Mrs may not know it yet, but she might be taking to me to the pictures.

If it's not truly awesome, it'll be a big disappointment.

The Dark Knight was sometimes boring but the screen truly sizzled when the demented Joker nervously twitched his panda eyes.

Could Bane better him?  I hope so.

Others include Daniel Craig's first outing as invincible secret agent 007 in Casino Royale and J.J Abram's Star Trek.

We also have Predators, Conan and the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man.

An interesting animal was Fright Night in 2011 as Colin Farrell replaced original bloodsucker Chris Sarandon.

Sarandon would also make a cameo in the reboot as a driver who also gets bit by the new Jerry.

Credit junkies will also note his char is credited as Jay Dee.  Get it?

Oh never mind.

Anyway, apart from recreating certain scenes, it is decidedly much darker than the original and with it being a reboot - why not?

Up and coming challengers see Total Recall and Robocop.

I have grave reservations about both and fear they’ll destroy the originals, even if they’re not remakes.


This is the most awkward one to describe of all as this it involves a new take on the original flick, and often have references to the original in terms of plot development, classic scenes and images but nevertheless, have been significantly altered.

Examples include:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 and 2003) which also had its own prequel in 2006 (The Beginning) and Ocean's Eleven (1960 and 2001).

Danny Ocean's gang of thieves would expand from Twelve and finally Thirteen (2004 and 2007 respectively).

Again, the original is known as numerals...

Mr Krueger would also be reimagined in 2010, who first entered our nightmares in 1984.

Dawn of the Dead was also chosen in 2004 to go up against the 1978 Romero satirical classic which surely remains as the ultimate example in shuffling.

It was of course very different (apart from the shopping mall setting) as the undead ran and didn't just wander aimlessly in classic drunken style.

Hotty Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames would take on the zombie masses during the 'going for the jugular' action.

Despite shedding its satirical skin, it would be a very decent reimagining and even squeezed in the madness of the survivors having fun in their own unique ways - in homage to the druggy original.

I'll finally mention Friday the 13th which crammed events of the first four films into its own setting.

Derek Mears and co did a great job.

Of those, I'd go for DOTD and Jason as been the most worthy rehashes.


While not an official term, combinations of the above is when it gets really confusing and debatable if a film really fits into this category.

I'd suggest a good example being Rob Zombie's Halloween as all continuity was axed with a whole new angle and delved deeper into Michael Myers' psyche (reboot) and referenced classic bits and bobs from the original, hence applying the 'reimagining' tone.

It's good to see that although much unoriginality exists among directors, at least there are new angles that can be taken and therefore adding a new slice of pie.

Some remakes should be left well alone but I'm all for reboots and reimaginings as it's fun to notice clever refs to the original.

Games to Films

Mediocrity points to Hitman, Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat and Max Payne.

Almost inevitably, Resident Evil would infect the silver screen and rightly or wrongly, was successful as so far, four films have been churned out, all featuring some monsters from the games in one form or another.

Dare I say it, the best effort was Silent Hill.

It wasn't brilliant but it was good enough to capture the foggy atmosphere of 'not knowing what was real and reality' Jacob's Ladder inspired setting.

The rest were shat into the devil's public convenience and horrendous efforts include Doom, Alone in the Dark, Street Fighter and Super Mario Bros.

As a sub-topic, if these were supposed to be comedies...

The King of Fighters and DOA (Dead or Alive)

...then I give up as somebody was having a really bad and sick joke.

These weren't even funny, even Ed Wood would struggle to raise a smile.

The ultimate travesty was not even worthy of the Trainspotting toilet.

House of the Dead was brilliant, stupendous and awesome.

The sequel, Dead Aim was fantastic, fabulous and incredible.

Hang on a cottin' picking minute, that can't be right as I've used used six complimentary words so let's rewind to reality.

The sequel, Dead Aim, was atrocious, offensive, hideous, dreadful, harrowing and dire.

What drugs were taken during the production of these calamities?

Honestly, these desecrate the principle of films in general.

I'd even verse HOTD with Jaws: The Revenge in the ultimate battle of badness.

Who'd win?  Now you're asking....

If HOTD movies were balls of dung, the namesake beetle wouldn't even entertain the notion of rolling this deplorable disdain.

Of all the examples I've given, that's been generous to the tortoise's head.

For the future, selected franchises are also in development:

Uncharted, Bioshock, Halo and Castlevania will apparently be made.

To be fair, Uncharted has the production values to be great as he's basically a young Indiana Jones and if handled correctly - could set the standard.

Who should be Drake?  Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Matt Damon?

If it ever becomes reality - make sure it's somebody either young or evergreen.

Books to Films

To mop up, film adaptations from books usually work – if it’s a Stephen King novel.  Misery, The Shining, Thinners, Carrie, Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption et al.

In the right hands, Cliver Barker does pretty well and of course there’s C.S Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien and Peter Benchley.

Other gems include adaptations of Stieg Larsson and John Ajvide Lindqvist novels (of The Girl With The…. trilogy and Let the Right One fame respectively).

Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Irvine Welsh all have had their famous writings on the big screen.

There are of course others but the above are among the most famous authors to have their penned fantasy transported to film.

Finally, I'll state a chilling and promised threat.

"See you... soon."

1 comment:

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