News yesterday brought to light two remakes that are potentially in the works. Joe Dante’s Explorers, and Disney’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. A ton of knee-jerk reactions from Generation Xers are going to flood the chat rooms and message boards about how we cant remake the classics. I’m here to tell you that this is potentially good news.
Before I go on I must address the elephant in the room: The movie business has been all about the regurgitating of stories since its inception. Just do a quick search for Romeo & Juliet (Direct adaptation or otherwise)- or reworked, say like West Side Story? and that is a classic. Or how about Dracula? How many times as that old saw made it to the silver screen, or TV? more than 10 handfuls, my friend. And how about Pride & Prejudice? I mean, yes, the Colin Firth version is widely considered the best but there were tons before and tons, still after.
Hollywood is a business, and as such, they are here to make money. How do you make money? Go where the fans are. Whether they are optioning some New York Times bestseller, or Broadway musical, or yes, remaking one of their “classics”. The best we all can do is just learn to live with it. There is nothing you or I can do to stop this, and if you take a moment to stop bitching you will find that even your favourite movie was probably a remake…. Uhm, do you really need me to mention that Star Wars was a remake of The Hidden Fortress? Well, suck it fanboy.
Now, what causes a remake to fail is generally when they don’t do one of the following. 1) They have no respect for the source material, or/and 2) They have no original vision to add to the source material. I suppose one can argue that a 3rd could be added; The new creative team just sucks on an existential level. 2002’s Rollerball is an example of all three.
I’m not saying that either Explorers, nor Something Wicked This Way Comes are going to be good movies. Explorers is going to be written by the writers behind Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which was a fun movie, but do they understand the wonder and awe of being a kid? It is remarkable how many people over the age of 20 forget what it was like to look up at the sky and dream. Here’s hoping.
And although Seth Grahame-Smith says, “I’m not remaking the movie; I want the haunted atmosphere that makes the book so chilling, and I want to reinstate some of the classic scenes from the book that were missing from the ’83 film.” He did write the waste of space Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, so he has nowhere to go but up!
I can tell you this for sure, both movies suffer from SPFX that dates it, and a remake could bring their timeless stories to the modern age. It hurts my head to think that there are some people out that that will not give a movie a second glance if it doesn’t live up to the realistic VFX we have dominating our blockbusters today. Maybe this will help.
Whatever the outcome, my 11 year old self is excited to have a new generation discover these stories. I will always be able to show the originals to any of the young’ns in my life and teach them the joy of an older movie. And if the news ones outdo the old ones, well… then maybe I will buy a lottery ticket that year.