So everyone’s talking about how great the new It movie is and it easy to see why. While the new film definitely based on the Stephen King novel, I’m not really sure if that’s what people think this movie is based on. More likely, general movie audiences are going in thinking it’s a remake of the 1990 miniseries that had Tim Curry stepping into the shoes of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because the It miniseries was actually good… for a 1990 miniseries.
It, the miniseries, doesn’t really hold up by today’s standards but I still think a lot of kids who watched it when they were younger were terrified by the show. However, if you do show it to a kid these days, I don’t think they’ll think it’s very scary, despite Tim Curry pulling off a fabulous performance. The miniseries just looks cheesy and dated now. Thankfully, the new 2017 iteration is really good and it’s one case where a remake was actually justified as it definitely improves on everything the miniseries did and more. The story is more well developed. The acting is much better. The special effects look more real. Suffice to say, the new It blows the old It out of the water.
This actually got me thinking about Hollywood’s idea of choosing what films to remake and reboot. Usually, they target the major blockbusters of yesteryear. This is precisely why we’ve gotten movies like Total Recall, Robocop, Ghostbusters, Power Rangers and many more the last couple of years. It’s not that I’m against remakes and reboots. What I’m against is that Hollywood is trying to update things that didn’t need updating. I guess you can’t really blame the studio bigwigs for selecting the blockbusters from yesteryear. After all, they always pick films that have already made a ton of money before so, it only seems to reason that lightning can strike twice. But still, did they really have to try to update a film like Total Recall, an Arnold Schwarzenegger classic?
One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed with all of these new remakes is they just aren’t as good as the original. Honestly, I can objectively say that the original Total Recall with Schwarzenegger is still much better than the one that was released in 2012 with Colin Farrell. Sure, the original was cheesy and filled to the brim with one-liners but it had lots of action that was easy to follow, a solid sci-fi story and the special effect have held up surprisingly well. The same can be said about the 1987 Robocop than the 2014 remake as the original was didn’t shy away from over the top violence and gore, delivered on biting satire on the world and a subtle story about what makes a person human.
The thing is, the older original films were just jammed with personality and an eye for what made a movie entertaining to the viewer. It may look better because of all the computer graphics and advances we’ve made in makeup and special effects. But just because they can make things more pretty, that doesn’t make for a better film if you lose the heart and soul that made them great in the first place. Most remakes just feel so empty in comparison, as if the movie studios have the writers and directors a checklist of what they think people want to see. It’s like the new versions are more generic and lacked the spirit of what made the originals good in the first place. If you do that, why even try to remake it then?
Because these soulless remakes lacked the stuff that made the originals good in the first place, they may even come off looking worse than they actually are because they looked like cheap copies because, once again, it looks like they’re checking off things on a list. Everyone remembers that three breasted prostitute in the original Total Recall. How could you forget her… them? The reason why it caught the typical moviegoer’s attention was because it made Mars look really alien and, well, it was shocking!
The new Total Recall also had to put her (them?) in because most people generally connect the three-breasted woman to the film. But her (they’re?) appearance lost their desired effect because we knew we were going to get to see three funbags some time in the film. Audiences expected a woman on Mars to bare her trio of chest flesh meats and it felt like a letdown because this was already done before. This actually emphasizes one of the biggest problems on remaking blockbusters: we know what were going to get.
You might not get this problem when remaking bad movies because they will need to make some tweaks to the original version. Think of the terrible movies that are generally reviled or have been forgotten but through no real fault of their own. I’m sure there are some films out there that were created with the potential to be fantastic but, for one reason or another, fell by the wayside. Maybe because some studio heads clashed with the director. Or maybe the original story just went through one or two too many rewrites. It also could be that the original was just too ambitious for its time and this led them to make do with the technology they had back then. Don’t these movies deserve a second chance to actually get it right?
Not only that, there are a lot of movies that were never major blockbusters but have gained notoriety much later. There are so many cult classics that managed to capture the imagination of fans all over the world yet no one really talks about these days. I’m not just talking about old movies like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, They Live, Donnie Darko and many more. I’m talking about those other movies that no one really talks about these days like Benny and Joon, Grosse Pointe Blank, Singles, Can’t Hardly Wait, Turner and Hooch, Toy Soldiers and many, many more. Some of these films that I mentioned got a lot of positive buzz or were moderate hits but people just forgot them. So why aren’t they eligible to be remade?
There are just so many movies that movie buffs love but just aren’t popular enough to make a blip on mainstream audiences’ radar. What about those incredibly dopey science fiction flicks of old that are just saddled with poor production values? I’m talking about films like Zardoz that had Sean Connery run around in a red diaper and knee high boots or that wonderfully cheesy 1980 Flash Gordon movie that had Queen, one of the most awesome bands in the world, to do the theme song for the film. I mean, that alone should be enough to warrant a remake, right?
Bottom line, I’m not totally against remaking old movies. However, there are just some movies that do not need to be remade. Hollywood knows that it can’t touch classics and film institutions like Gone With the Wind and Citizen Kane because you can’t improve on them. Those films have stood the test of time and it’s sad that they can’t think that it would stand to reason that movies like Ghostbusters and Total Recall, films that are just as fondly regarded as the ones I mentioned but for different reasons, can’t be touched as well. Hollywood should maybe divert their attention to the movies that do need the updates. There are so many movies from the past that deserve another chance to make it big at the box office and another chance to show that they were supposed to be great films in the first place.
Do you think it would be a good idea to remake bad movies instead of the good ones? Let me know in the comments section below!