Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reworking Some Movie Classics Isn’t Working

It seems like everywhere you turn these days, another movie from the not-so-distant past is being remade. Within the next year or two, movies that have historically been part of our cultural landscape will be reformulated for today's audiences, illustrating an increasing, and thus far unimpressive, trend. Last year saw “Clash of the Titans” and “Karate Kid.” Most recently, “Arthur” (starring Russell Brand) hit the big screens with less than stellar reviews and a remake of 1994's “The Crow,” in which Bradley Cooper is in talks to star, is the subject of a Weinstein lawsuit over distribution.



Also on the horizon is Kevin Bacon's signature “Footloose,” set to be released in October and starring Kenny Wormald along with former “Dancing with the Stars” pro, Julianne Hough. The 80’s dance hit movie has had its own series of casting and production issues, with former “High School Musical” heartthrob Zac Efron and “Gossip Girls'” Chase Crawford both backing out of portraying Ren McCormack’s classic role and the script needing a few reworkings. Horror flick, "Child's Play" is also being remade into a darker, more disturbing film about Chucky, a doll who goes on the murderous rampage after the soul of a killer invades him, and has also been saddled with delays. The 1985 vampire horror-comedy “Fright Night” has been updated with a Fall release date, starring Colin Farrell and directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl). Audiences are already in an uproar because of some of the plot changes, including setting it in Las Vegas as opposed to “insert generic Americana town name here.” And that’s not all. Other rumored remakes in development are “The Thing,” “Red Dawn,” “A Star is Born,” “Overboard,” with possibly Jennifer Lopez, “Porky’s,” “The Bodyguard,” “Short Circuit,” and “Conan the Barbarian.” The list goes on.



Some of us are left scratching our heads and wondering – why fix what’s not broken? And if it was broken, that’s why we loved it in the first place. Do we need to contemporize these films or should we instead simply reintroduce the originals to the 21st century? These movies are considered classics for a reason – whether it be a kick-ass soundtrack, fight scenes with a long-haired former body builder with ridiculous dialogue, or the closest thing to porn allowed on the big screen with an R rating. Either way, with the stress and drama surrounding these remakes, the effort should be geared towards creating this century’s own classics and not just putting time, money and effort into recycling old ideas. A classic, by design, does not need reworking.