Friday, 7 October 2016

View From Up In The Gods

A man opposite me at work is a real cinema goer ... I was going to say 'buff' but that would imply that his views on whether a film is any good or not are of any value. They aren't. But I was curious enough to ask why he goes so much, and why he picks the movies has does to watch ... the first answer was standard enough, he liked 'the big screen and sound .... its what the films were created to be seen on'.

I can see the point of that, and if I wasn't such a lazyarse and cheapskate (have you seen the price of cinema tickets?), I would possibly go more often. But the view from up in the Gods (if we still have those in cinemas?) is not enough to tempt me often.

Elmo Lincoln - Was The First Film Tarzan In 1918

However where we really disagreed was over the films he choose. For instance his next movie viewing venture will be the latest 'Tarzan' remake.

This particular choice led to a group discussion about whether it was better to support movies that were different and unique, or follow the trend for CGI dominated derivative movies e.g. The aforesaid recently released millionth Tarzan movie?

For the record, the movies disliked the most by the group were the movies which never needed be remade. Those remakes of perfectly fine original movies. I just about accept that old b/w can sometimes better be remade as colour ... but that's the limit and even then not always. For instance what would be the benefit of remaking Citzen Kane in colour .... especially as we can colour old movies now?

Citizen Kane .... Better Remade In Colour?

So with no special provision as to whether the original was any good or not ... I looked up a list of remakes and picked a few that were in my opinion, totally pointless:

Generally all these films could be dismissed as rubbish, but I exclude 'Horror' movies from this list, because new or remake, they are basically all remakes on the same themes of Dracula, Werewolves, Zombies (mummies), Psycho Killers on loose, and un-killable monsters (Freddy Krueger and Jason for example). Poor old John Carpenter has suffered more than most, with most of his movies having been remade again, including strangely, the excellent original 'Carrie' from 1976, which has been remade twice since ... now that is overkill.

Just glancing at the Wiki list of such films .....and this was just a few from the first few letters. 

  • '12 Angry Men' (1957) - Remade 1997 by exorcist director William Freidkin. What was the point and who even watched the remake?
  • 'Alfie (1966)' - Remade 2004 (remember it?).
  • 'The Amityville Horror (1979) - Remade 2005.
  • 'Et Dieu... créa la femme (1956)' remade by same director (Roger Vadim) as 'And God Created Woman' in 1988.
  • 'Arthur (1981) - with Dudley Moore' - Remade 2011 without Dudley Moore.
  • 'Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)' - Remade to little purpose in 2005
  • 'Bangkok Dangerous (1999)' dir. The Pang Brothers - Remade 2008 by .... The Pang Brothers.
  • 'Bedazzled (1967)' - Remade 2000
  • 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)' - Remade as 'Billy Jack Goes to Washington' in 1977.
  • 'The Blob (1958)' - Remade 1988
  • 'D.O.A. (1950)' film noir classic - Remade 1988.
  • 'Death at a Funeral (2007)' - Remade 2010.
  • 'Father of the Bride (1950)' - Remade1991.
  • 'The Defiant Ones (1958)' - Remade 1986.
  • 'The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)' A list cast - Remade 2004 with a B list cast..
  • 'The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)' - Remade as 'Flubber' 1997.
  • 'The Fog (1980)' - Remade 2005.
  • 'The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)' - Remade 2005.
  • 'Freaky Friday (1976)' - Remade twice (1995 and 2003) ~ Why?
  • 'Friday the 13th (1980)' - Remade 2009.
  • 'Fright Night (1985)' - Remade 2001.
  • 'The Getaway (1972)' - Remade 1994.
  • 'Get Carter (1971)' - Remade 2000.
  • 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)' - Remade as 'Guess Who' in 2005.
  • 'Halloween (1978)' - Remade 2007.
  • 'High Noon (1952)' Western Classic - Remade 2000 and never heard of again.
  • 'The Hills Have Eyes' (1977)' - Remade 2006.
  • 'The Hitcher (1986) - Remade 2007.
  • 'The Incredible Journey (1963)' - Remade 1993.

.... which just goes to show that there is little shame, and even less reason, for many of these remakes. The idea simply appears to be, if it worked once, we can make it work again (sometimes only five years after the original was released). The listings just goes on and on .....

From the same limited look at the list. I noticed a few that I thought were justified which were:
  • '3:10 to Yuma (1957)' - remade 2007, but with the watchable Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in the lead roles.
  • 'Yojimbo (1961)' - Remade as 'A Fistful of Dollars/Per un pugno di dollari (1964).'
  • 'The Fly (1958)' - Remade 1986.

However the most striking thing about most of the listing, is how singularly unsuccessful the remakes generally were, both in critical acclaim, and also at the box office. In other words remaking old films doesn't actually work .... its not the key to success and in most cases has not supplanted the original movies.

Despite this lesson being fairly obvious, it hasn't stopped remakes being made every year .... and no doubt more to come (Such as Disney's 'Dumbo' due to be remade with CGI in the near future).

What is the point?.... oh yes, Art For Arts Sake, Money For Gods Sake


  1. I have never seen the original Bedazzled and I wouldn't know how to, but I did enjoy the remake. If nothing else the remake gives a new audience the chance to see a good film that they'd otherwise never go to see. I was interested to see the remake of Flight of the Phoenix but I prefer the original, it's just a shame that it's b&w. If they were to colourise it I'd be willing to see it again! But I agree with you that most remakes are a waste of time.

    1. No one is going to disagree with you ....

    2. Oh, I'm sure there are some...

      The trailer for the new Tarzan got me excited before I reminded myself of the gulf between trailers and 90 mins of film! I haven't seen any Tarzan for a long, long time so I look forward to seeing it when I can, it won't be at the cinema though because I have to put petrol in the car and I can't do both.

    3. If you have seen the trailer ... you have seen the best parts of the movie!!! That's another curse of the modern cinema.

    4. The original Flight of the Phoenix was on TV and it already IS in colour! - so really no need to remake it at all. I was thinking of Ice Cold in Alex when imagining a B+W scene in the desert.

    5. I didn't say that the originals had to only be in black and white ... I only questioned the need to remake them, often with B List casts e.g. Dennis Quaid in for James Stewart.


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