Is the new batch of remakes a sign of the death of creativity or rather the creative license to have a crack at attempting to better or differentiate from an already renowned tale? I’ll be having a look at some of the remakes on offer in the next few years and see if it’s lazy film-making or inspirational genius…
IMDB have constructed a list of all the remakes which have either been made, being made or rumoured to be shot between last year and 2020: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls052091214/ . Some of the films on here will be familiar to film fans and others will be familiar to current cinema goers with titles such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Poltergeist, two films which are going to be hitting the silver screen soon. But are they worthy of a remake? To be honest, they both make my list of films I’m excited about this year so that would be a resounding yes from me. Let’s start with Mad Max, although technically a sequel to the popular franchise, it has also been rumoured to be a reboot. There is a blurred line around the sequel and reboot nature of the film, Tom Hardy had this to say:
“We have to take it differently as George is taking it. It’s a relaunch and revisit to the world. An entire restructuring. That’s not to say that it’s not picking up or leaving off from the Mad Max you know already, but it’s a nice re-take on the entire world using the same character, depositing him in the same world but bringing him up to date by 30 years.”
So there we have it, it’s a reboot sequel. Simple. But here are the facts; the original came out in 1979, Fury Road is 36 years later than the original. The latest sequel to the original was Thunderdome which came out in ’85 so Fury Road would only be 30 years later than that. There was an attempt to do another sequel back in 2011 in a short called Mad Max: Renegade but the PG13 isn’t often cited as a sequel/remake/whatever. So why now? George Miller who directed the original trilogy is back for the fourth installment. Did he feel it needed bringing up to date? That’s one of the reason’s films are remade, for example that is the reason I believe Poltergeist is being remade. Not saying the original needs updating as such but with the technological advances they now have the tools to make the film even more terrifying. If we go back to Tom Hardy’s quote that does seem to be applicable. I personally think there might be a deeper more thought provoking motion behind the reboot. Oil crisis, threat of war, intolerance of other people’s creed or religion are just a few of the news stories we are bombarded with on a regular basis. Mad Max exists in a world after said events have taken place, coincidence? I’ll let you make up your own mind. Mad Max: Fury Road is roaring into cinemas on 14th May here in the UK and it’s backed to be a belter.
Another recent trend in remakes is the conversion of foreign films into English speaking films, and according to the IMDB list this looks like it’s going to carry on. In my opinion this rarely works, it might do from a money making point of view but as an audience member watching these films I really feel as if the English speaking version loses something from its foreign counterpart. According to this list we have The Orphanage, Death Note, A Prophet, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Time Crimes to look forward to over the next 5 years. I’m going to put this out there and say I’m not looking forward to any of these. I think certain foreign films should stay in their language, for example A Prophet has been compared to Scarface and The Godfather, in fact in one review it was likened to:
“Scarface meets The Godfather…an instant classic”
That’s two incredibly big shoes to fill for the English speaking version. It has also been touted as the renaissance of French Cinema. This film is quite simply incredible but will its remake do it justice? I’m going to answer this before any casting or anything has taken place in one word: no.
As for the others I’m not sure they will either, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance is part of the Vengeance trilogy which includes Oldboy. Although the remake of Oldboy wasn’t terrible it was a way off the original, something about it being in English made it unbelievable and less harsh. The original Korean was outrageously good and filmmakers are referencing it all the time, see Marvel’s Daredevil for example. It’s not necessarily the language of the film but it’s the style of the country it was made in, The Orphanage and Time Crimes are both Spanish and it’s the slightly quirky style that really makes them tick, the US or UK remake will more than likely lose that. As they did with Quarantine the [REC] remake.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film is another example of how, in my opinion, they should have left it. Scandinavian cinema and television was/is going through a real spot of good form but it’s the scenery, the acting, the language and the beliefs of those countries that make them that way. Let The Right One In trumps Let Me In any day of the week. I understand foreign cinema is not for everyone but one should give it a try before watching the English speaking remakes and make their minds up then.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being harsh but I think there is a time and a place for a remake, I’m looking forward to some of the classics that could do with a modern touch but some don’t necessarily need to be redone. I can’t see what they’re going to add by redoing Point Break for example. As for foreign cinema, try the originals. Could Amelie for example be made in anything but French? Would it still be as unique in English? I’m not convinced.
How do we feel about remakes? What remakes are we looking forward to? Which do we think should be made next and which should be left well alone? Join the conversation, let me know in the comments.