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What Are the Legimate Reason For A Remake?


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Initial post: Jul 31, 2012 6:29:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 31, 2012 8:26:06 AM PDT
I was recently online listening to the Basil Poledouris Robocop main theme (an excellent piece of work btw), when I noticed that someone was doing a remake of Robocop. I threw out the question, Why. The original Robocop in my opinion has aged quite well. In fact it still holds up as being relevant in it's themes of corporate greed. The answer I received was, and I paraphase, ". . . because it's old and nobody from this generation watches it."

I had to think about that. Is the fact that a film is old sufficient enough reason to warrant a remake? In my mind it's probably one of the silliest reasons I can think of, but I admit I could be missing something.

While I'd always rather see something original, there are older works that I feel weren't handled as well as they could have been either because of restrictions at the time that didn't allow for the potential of the material to be fully realized; terrible adaptation of the source material; or technical innovations that could really benefit the story. These I see as completely legitimate reasons to remake something.

Where I'm not so sure are remakes of foreign films. There are some films that have been remade as American products that I have enjoyed.

While I still think the the Chinese Infernal Affairs is a better film than The Departed, the American version is enjoyable. The American version of Ringu in some ways improves on its Japanese original.

The American remake of Let The Right One In was a complete waste of effort, since instead of going to the novel, they basically copied the Swedish film almost shot for shot. Shall We Dance didn't translate well because the story is very Japanese, and attitudes that made the story work in that culture didn't necessarily make sense here.

A lot of remakes seem to be simply for the purpose of 'just because'. Really, shot for shot remake of Psycho? What was that all about?

So I'm curious what all of you might consider a good reason to do a remake; some good remakes out there; the terrible remakes, and films that shouldn't be remade under any circumstances if in fact there is a reason never to remake a film.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 7:59:28 AM PDT
There is NO reason for a remake of any of them except human greed. If it was a great movie, it was great, if it sucked, then it deserves to be forgotten, if it became a cult classic, re-issue it and be done. I HATE remakes. most of them ruin the story line, lose the thread or just plain are worthless.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 8:10:10 AM PDT
Dinero.....what else?

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 8:48:29 AM PDT
Well we think greed, and maybe it always was greed, but sometimes you strike gold. For instance we know that The Maltese Falcon which we've come to love as a classic was the third remake of that particular story. There's the first in 1931, another in '36 and of course the '41 version. That's three remakes in a span of 10 years! A lot of people don't even know that DePalma's ScarFace was a remake. The original is really quite good, and other than changing the local and ethnicity it's amazing how closely his story follows the original.

With the first example, it was a matter of just getting it right. The first two versions of Falcon only did moderate box office, no one remembered them. With ScarFace the original, while not a flop in its day, was so old no one even remembered it, and DePalma managed to put a new spin on it.

I don't think a remake is necessarily bad, but with a lot of stuff I'm seeing now I just have to scratch my head.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 8:58:12 AM PDT
Repeat: There is NO reason for a remake.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 8:58:42 AM PDT
No good moral reason anyway.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 3:46:52 PM PDT
Money is the reason.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 3:58:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 31, 2012 3:59:47 PM PDT
Money and laziness...there's too much thought required to come up with an original screenplay, plus the idea that if it was a hit before it ought to be a hit again (easy money).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 5:16:47 PM PDT
Severin says:
The reason for the "Psycho" remake was that they wanted to re-do it in color because a modern audience supposedly would not watch a black and white film. The director (who shall remain nameless but it was Gus Van Sant) took the word remake quite literally.

The reason for remakes is as already stated greed. It's a known property so there may be a ready-built audience who will see out of curiosity and with new CGI effects they can draw in the younger audience who may not have seen the original. Also it's safer than trying an unknown story and the studio may already own the rights to the original story, more money for them.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 8:26:25 PM PDT
Roman85 says:
I am divided on remakes.....I thought the "Hitcher" remake was better because is it was made on a bigger budget, the state trooper cars looked more accurate compared to the 86' film, 2005's "King Kong" was much better than the 76' film.. however remaking "Spiderman" & Batman" or "Robocop" is pointless, because they are just another cash grab.....

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 6:39:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 6:41:59 AM PDT
W.T. says:
Some remakes I don't consider really remakes. "True Grit" was called a remake, but it was really just a different adaption of the same novel. In cases like that, I see no limitations. "Batman Begins" was not a remake of "Batman". It was a different adaption of the source material (and in that case, different source material, since the body of comic books is continually growing - the specific stories that Nolan drew from had not been written when Tim Burton made his movie). "Ben Hur" is not a remake. It's a different adaption of the novel.

Unless a filmmaker is intentionally drawing from a previous version, it's not a remake just because it has the same source material.

If someone is actually remaking a movie, then the standards ought to be much higher. I'm all for a new Robocop movie, but it ought to be a "next generation" continuation, not a remake. What came before was very successful, and there's no need to wipe it away. It's the same as "Star Trek". Why reboot it (or, as they later decided after old-time fans protested too loudly, restart in a parallel universe)? Why not just do like they did last time to great success? Go seventy years further into the future and start fresh with all-new characters.

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 7:13:58 AM PDT
Someone should remake "Casablanca". They should be able to find someone handsomer than that Bogart fellow to play Rick, and Ingrid Bergman should be replaced by someone more modern (Zooey Deschanel would be perfect). And the setting -- who knows WWII from a chopped liver sandwich these days.

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 8:28:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 8:33:43 AM PDT
The line between adaptation and remake while not a thin one, isn't that clear cut either. If an earlier attempt at an adaptation is pretty spot on, then subseqent versions are in fact just remakes, especially if subsequent version veer wildly from the book. The latest Three Musketeers film was a complete remake. Earlier versions of the book are much closer to the source material than that film.

Let The Right One In (the American version) is a remake in two senses because it seemed to add nothing new from the book, but rather followed the pattern of the Swedish film version. For Total Recall, the jury is still out, though the fact that they call it Total Recall, and not something else leads me to believe that its a remake, and not a closer adaptation of the novelette.

It's really just semantics in the end. If the story were wildly different from an earlier version it would in fact be a different story. Better adaptation aside your just remaking a movie until you get it right, or tweaking it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 9:19:33 AM PDT
Severin says:
Sure, maybe they could get Will Farrell or Adam Sandler to play Rick. The papers everyone is after could be the start of a new social media platform. Set it in L.A. so you can have lots of cameos.

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 10:29:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 12:10:46 PM PDT
W.T. says:
There's also the side phenomenon of remaking TV shows as movies, which almost always turn out poorly creatively, even if some of them are financial successes. The worst of the worst of the remakes, to me, was "Land of the Lost", which was originally a live-action Saturday-morning sci-fi program that was was obviously kid-friendly and full of cheesy and cheap seventies effects, but the scripts were without camp, and the show had some bona fide sci-fi creds in the writing department, with scripts written by Ben Bova, Larry Niven, Theodore Sturgeon, Norman Spinrad, and DC Fontana. With those components, the effect was a more kid-friendly version of an old Hammer film. More than a bit silly, but with everything played straight up and serious within itself.

The film "remake" was just an empty Will Ferrell vessel that drained everything quaint and special out of the original concept. It was as if it was made by someone who hated the original and wanted to somehow mock it. That kind of remake should NEVER happen.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 11:48:09 AM PDT
>>>It was as if it was made by someone who hated the original and wanted to somehow mock it.<<<

That is the impression I get form most of the television show turned movies I've seen. Like you I really dug Land of the Lost when I was a kid, and I don't know how someone decided it would make a great Will Ferrell comedy. The first one that really rubbed me the wrong way was the movie version of Dragnet. How someone got the idea to turn Dragnet into a "buddy cop" comedy still boggles my mind. Obviously someone was not a fan of the original show, or else they hated Jack Webb.

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 12:39:42 PM PDT
D. Larson says:
In most cases, the "orignal" was not a great work of cinematic art to start with. I don't think many people will put "Robocop" in the same category as "The Third Man". So remaking B movies seems pretty harmless to me. B in, B- out. Anybody wants to remake "Starship Troopers" has my blessing.

More to the point, I am a proud and happy free enterprising capitalist. If somebody thinks he can make a lot of money by remaking "Casablanca", more power to him. Maybe it'll be much worse, but that's the chances the directos and producers take. We're not talking about defiling Shakespeare here. And lord knows we've seen Shakie defiled plenty often anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 3:13:50 PM PDT
Severin says:
I didn't see Tim Burton's version of Dark Shadows but it looked more like a send-up than an homage as he claimed. I liked the over-the-top "Charlie's Angels" movies but I was never a big fan of the series. The Avengers movie with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman bombed, couldn't replicate the chemistry and class of Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg.

Then there's the whole sub-genre of cartoons made into movies. Rocky and Bullwinkle sucked, as did Dudley Doright but I liked George of the Jungle. Casper was darker than the cartoon.

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 6:05:35 PM PDT
Severin says:
Did anyone see the 1963 version of "The Haunting" and the 1999 remake? The original was atmospheric, with just acting and sound effects they made a genuinely creepy horror movie. The remake was all CGI, no subtlety, just a house turning into a monster. What were they thinking? I understand that the remake of "The Wicker Man" was also horrible, universally panned. Same for Paris Hilton's "House of Wax."

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 12:09:48 AM PDT
J. Paul says:
@ Michael Pettinato it's fine that you like The Hitcher remake & at least you gave reasons why.
But to me the remake blew. I enjoy the original Hitcher for a lot of reasons I love the atmostphere the look is good. It deals with 1 guy being stalked by John Ryder & you don't know why he is after this man. That's a lot better than a boyfriend & girlfriend out on a Spring Break. The original had likeable characters you could connect with you know that you cared about C Thomas Howell & Jenifer Jason Leigh. Rutger Hauer was a very bizzare man. The you don't know why he's doing this made it interesting. I liked it cause it didn't go with the cliche final girl it went with a man in the role. The remake took everything that made the original brillant & took it away so they could have pretty teen CW actors that make cement look like better actors. Made Sean Bean a great actor look like the worst actor ever. Had uneeded gore another element that was great is that you could only think about the horrors that happend in The Station Wagon. It basically copies almost shot for shot of the original. The scene where John Ryder shoots down the helicopter they added Nine Inch Nails music which was totally out of place to me the original had this really good score by Mark Isham. The final scene where instead of the girl tied to The Semi it the boy the original again you can only think what a horrible way to die when it's Jenifer Jason Lee instead they show the boy being riped apart in CGI cartoon effect. The Sheriff played by Neal McDonough a real s h it t y actor is not believeable at all in fact he's laughable. All in all it's a bland remake done by this music video director who didn't know wtf he was doing & of course Platinum Dunes responsible for The Nightmare On Elm Street reamke. I saw it I was like why was this remade other than for the money which it bombed at the box office. But hey if you like The Hitcher remake that's fine cause we all have our likes & dislikes.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 4:28:46 AM PDT
There are actual legitimate reasons for doing a remake. The one that first came to mind was this. While in the course of discussing and analyzing a film one starts to get ideas they believe are improvements and eventually they get enough to do a remake. Instead of giving an example of a good movie to justify my answer I will answer with a bad one - ARTHUR. Let me explain this with a made-up scenario: Quentin Tarantino and some friends watch a B-movie from 1947 titled PULP FICTION. While discussing the film he starts getting ideas hhe thinks would have improved it. After repeated viewings and discussions he gets enough ideas for a remake. I used PULP FICTION as an example because it seems like it could have been one of those B-movies from back then. And you can imagine Quentin talking about all kinds of things he liked and other movies it reminded him of and then start talking about how he would have done it. Now if this is how PULP was really made (I know it wasn't) then my reason for remakes is justified. And by a good movie. But I chose ARTHUR as an example. The reason is because I don't think whoever decided to remake it did it like my example. If they had watched it many times and discussed it over and over again then they would not have come to the decision to remake it. There are some films, not many but some, that are pretty much perfect and can't be improved on. In my opinion ARTHUR is one of those films. How do you get a better actor to play Arthur than Dudley Moore. You would think that Russell Brand would have said hell no are you crazy. He seems pretty smart. I'm sure he didn't think he could have played the role better. At least I hope not. It must have been greed that motivated the decision. Anyway there's my answer.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 5:38:10 AM PDT
There are actual legitimate reasons for doing a remake. The one that first came to mind was this. While in the course of discussing and analyzing a film one starts to get ideas they believe are improvements and eventually they get enough to do a remake. Instead of giving an example of a good movie to justify my answer I will answer with a bad one - ARTHUR. Let me explain this with a made-up scenario: Quentin Tarantino and some friends watch a B-movie from 1947 titled PULP FICTION. While discussing the film he starts getting ideas hhe thinks would have improved it. After repeated viewings and discussions he gets enough ideas for a remake. I used PULP FICTION as an example because it seems like it could have been one of those B-movies from back then. And you can imagine Quentin talking about all kinds of things he liked and other movies it reminded him of and then start talking about how he would have done it. Now if this is how PULP was really made (I know it wasn't) then my reason for remakes is justified. And by a good movie. But I chose ARTHUR as an example. The reason is because I don't think whoever decided to remake it did it like my example. If they had watched it many times and discussed it over and over again then they would not have come to the decision to remake it. There are some films, not many but some, that are pretty much perfect and can't be improved on. In my opinion ARTHUR is one of those films. How do you get a better actor to play Arthur than Dudley Moore. You would think that Russell Brand would have said hell no are you crazy. He seems pretty smart. I'm sure he didn't think he could have played the role better. At least I hope not. It must have been greed that motivated the decision. Anyway there's my answer.

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 5:39:33 AM PDT
D. Larson says:
What's also apparent is that most remakes are rapidly forgotten, while the original soldeirs on. Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Boris and Natasha are still cult favorites as cartoons. Who even remembers the live action remakes? Ditto Fred Flinstone, Yogi Bear, Dudley Doright... If the reimagings aren't outright flops, they're quickly discarded.

Lost in Space, Dragnet, Starsky and Hutch, the list of old TV brought to film and then forgotten is a long one. Most are out-and-out turkeys; the rest make no impact on the memories of the oringinals.

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 5:39:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 2, 2012 5:59:30 AM PDT
Could be a generational thing. I mean, when I grew up, it was Transformers, Thundercats, GI Joe, He-Man, Superman, Batman, etc. Now that I have a three-year-old, I am seeing the resurgence of some of these and I'm thinking to myself..."Guess someone in marketing and production now assumes most of my generation has kids and it can resell to THEM now." But outside the money, there is a technological difference. Animation in particular has changed plenty in 30 years. Same reason many complain about StarWars prequels. The industry has "new stuff" at their disposal, thinking ....."Aw MAN! wouldn't this be cool if we did it THIS WAY?" or "Well NOW we can shoot it like THIS, instead."

As I've said in a different thread: If we keep buying what Hollywood is producing, they will continue to make and remake movies, for better or worse. We've done nothing to let them know we feel any different. No one's given them a reason to stop ( I know, I know....it's the money arguement again).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 6:03:31 AM PDT
Severin says:
Jerry, this might qualify as a real example. The 1957 drama "Zero Hour!" starring Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell and Sterling Hayden was remade (sort of) into "Airplane!" Few remember the original but everyone knows the spoof. Although the tone was changed the plot is there as well as a lot of the dialog.
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  28
Total posts:  109
Initial post:  Jul 31, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 21, 2012

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