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Thursday, April 11, 2013



Alright lets face it, remakes aren't going away anytime soon. 

They just make too much money to warrant them not being an easy cash in for studios. Original ideas always run that risk of not making those glorious dolla' dolla' bills for the studio execs, and the easiest way in the film industry to make a quick buck is to rehash an old idea, slather some new glossy effects all over it and beat that dead horse until it stops producing green.

But there are some amazing remakes out there that buck this trend. Believe it or not some film makers actually go in with a vision in the hopes of making something fresh and new or even to improve on something that maybe had all of the right ideas just didn't have the budget or the talent behind it. A good remake can take a new angle on an old story and make it seem new or just take the core of the old film and make something completely different. Of course these are very few and far between, and for every good remake there are like 20 bad ones shitting all over the originals name (*cough* Platinum Dunes *cough*).

So evidently I'm torn when it comes to the idea of remakes. When done right they can be excellent works of entertainment, and when done wrong they make me want to drown my disappointment with a big bottle of liquor. And then there are the few that aren't just bad, oh no, they are unholy abominations to the human race that just make you mad and often times ruin the original.

So I've decided to take three films that exemplify this, the good, the bad, and the ungodly awful (HEY IT'S THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE!!! HALY SHIT!!!).

The Good: The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter's The Thing is by far (IMO) the greatest remake ever put to film. And why is that? Because it takes an idea from the original (The Thing From Another World [1951]) and changes it and shapes it into something that hardly resembles its original counterpart, while still staying true and even paying homage to the original.

The original in its own right is a classic. It's a very standard science-fiction monster movie from the '50s, complete with cheesy dialogue, over the top acting, and awesome monster. I would recommend checking it out, it's worth a watch even just for curiosities sake.

But HOT DAMN did it have a crazy remake! The Thing does a number of THINGS (heh heh) different than the original. For one, no monster. It's now replaced with a form of alien that completely copies the likenesses of the people in the base, and then flips there bodies inside out when it shows its true form. Also the story is changed from the original, and follows closer to the book Who Goes There by John W. Campbell Jr. And finally the tone of the film is much darker than its predecessor, also more in line with the book.

So what qualifies this as a good remake? Well there are a number of things, for one it doesn't rely on the name alone to sell it like most remakes today do, and it's its own film in its own right. The ties that it has to the original are the book it was based off of and a couple of nods here or there to the original. 

So it isn't really a remake you say? It doesn't have the same story character names or setting you say? (The original was set in arctic, the remake in the antarctic) Well you have a point, it isn't really a remake in the traditional sense. It's more its own film, and just connects barely with the 1951 film, but that's why its so great! Remakes shouldn't have to follow the story beat for beat or keep the same characters, sure I'm aware of remakes that do this and are good (King Kong for example), but I would rather see an original idea that spawned from an already existing film. Why would I want to watch something that already came out, remakes shouldn't be limited to having to follow everything the original did, they should be able to change things up, make things different and present something new. And I'm not saying that it has to do what The Thing did and make something COMPLETELY different. Just make something that I haven't seen before, that's all.

Ok so now we have to move onto the bad... ugh.

The Bad: The Wolfman (2010)

Ok. So I'm sure everyone knows what The Wolfman (1941) is, or at least has a general idea of what it is. It's a werewolf movie, in fact it's one of the first werewolf movies that became popular and has gained a much deserved legacy along with the original Dracula and Frankenstein. It's a great film in the way all the classic films are great, classic story, great old timey special effects, and an amazing sense of atmosphere. Things that this and the remake do not share. At all. 

So why is this a bad remake? There are things they get right, like some of the special effects look nice and the acting is good but that's where it ends. The film is just boring, and that comes from it not doing anything new. The original Wolfman is great because its a classic, a privilege that the remake didn't have when it came out. A film isn't instantly a classic, so it has to bring something new, offer me something different (like the film above did). Instead its just your basic werewolf film, we have seen films like the original Wolfman ever since it came out. And we have seen films homage it and change the formula, and bring some new interesting aspect to the lore (An American Werewolf in London anyone?). So this remake had to do this, it had to compete with the other werewolf films that had come out in the 50 years after the original, and in this case it didn't.

And there in lies the problem, why remake this in the first place? There have been thousands of werewolf films (The Howling, Dog Soldiers etc.), there was no reason for another werewolf film. This isn't The Wolfman, this is just another werewolf movie and a bland one at that. That's the difficulty with remaking an old film like this, Coppola's Dracula is a perfect example of remaking an old classic. It told the story of Dracula and added so much onto it. And that's what this should have done! 

The only reason that this is called The Wolfman is to bank off of the name and make a quick buck. It's a boring werewolf film that had potential and could have done so much with the source material, but it just played it safe and as a result became a bad remake. 

And for the final chapter I'm going to need more that a few short paragraphs to explain why this is wrong. So for Part 2 I will explore The Ungodly Awful. Prepare yourselves... It's a bad one...
Ohhhhhh it's coming...

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