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Why Movies Suck - Part 42
July 23, 2010 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Hollywood ate my childhood [or] Why film remakes are desecrating our most precious memories. Hint: it's the money.

The Independent's Guy Adams endeavors to explain.

Yet as the film's producer, Robert Rodriguez, explained the following day, Predators was created in a way that makes it almost guaranteed to turn a profit: every previous Predator film has made at least $57m (even the awful 2004 schlock-fest Alien vs Predator made $172m). An easily quantifiable market, of not-too-choosy fans who will watch any old rubbish attached to the Predator brand, clearly exists. So Fox gave him a budget of $43m, and told him to get cracking.

Such calculations lie behind almost every crime against good taste committed in the name of film. They are no doubt the sort of sums that persuaded the makers of Sex and the City 2 to pay almost no attention to the multifaceted characters who had made the TV series a hit, and instead turn out one-dimensional dross that not only ruined the relationship of fans to the SATC brand but also managed to be deeply condescending and offensive to half the Arab world at the same time.
posted by philip-random (276 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
In a couple of months, Michael Cera will star in a new film which, judging by its worryingly awful trailer, is partly based on the video game Donkey Kong.

If this is supposed to be a reference to the upcoming Scott Pilgrim movie, I saw the trailer yesterday- the movie has nothing to do with Donkey Kong I'm (cautiously) very optimistic about it.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:19 AM on July 23, 2010


Perhaps we should not base our childhoods around intellectual properly franchises?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:20 AM on July 23, 2010 [63 favorites]


so, whats the over/under that Tim Burton has his eyes on redoing The Wizard of Oz?
posted by edgeways at 9:21 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Having not yet read the article I will make a prediction here, and then read it to see if I'm right: Nobody is willing to take a chance. Characters the audience already knows and identifies with are a less risky proposal. Many many films have tried to capture the appeal of similarly themed movies, only to fail miserably (see "Stargate" vs. "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" as examples - the fact that Stargate launched a TV series doesn't take away from the fact that the film was not the franchise-launching device the studio thought it would be, to judge by the toy marketing that went along with it).

Known characters are safe. Unknown characters are not. A sequel to a hit is a better idea financially than a new movie - sequels have a guaranteed audience (those who loved it on the first go-round) while new stories do not. The studio can hand the sequel to a second-tier, third-tier or unknown director to save money and still be confident in a big opening day score. Beating a dead horse may not be that exciting, artistically or intellectually, but if money keeps coming out, the studios will keep whacking away at the carcass. They really don't give a shit about the fact that doing so cheapens the value of the original work.

OK now. Let me read this and see if I'm right.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:21 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


so, whats the over/under that Tim Burton has his eyes on redoing The Wizard of Oz?

I hope he doesn't, though I wouldn't be surprised. After he ruined Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tim Burton and I are no longer on speaking terms.

I might like to see Johnny Depp as the Scarecrow, but he'd probably be cast as the Wizard.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your memories are your own. Retreads of things that you have nostalgia for need not anger you in the slightest.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:26 AM on July 23, 2010 [12 favorites]


Thank you, nameless author, for not using the phrase "raped my childhood" anywhere in your article.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:26 AM on July 23, 2010 [12 favorites]


I came in here to say what Threeway Handshake said, so I'm just going to slip out quietly, like a jewel thief.
posted by Mister_A at 9:27 AM on July 23, 2010


Guess what: The original Wizard of Oz wasn't even a movie.

The problem here is not artists basing art (or manufacturers basing products) on things that already exist. The problem here is thinking history started at your birth.
posted by DU at 9:28 AM on July 23, 2010 [21 favorites]


"Everything from my childhood was perfect. Anything made after that point is an insult to the entire human race."

Conceit. Welcome to nostalgia. Your error is in thinking that the motivations today for the entertainment industry are different than they were 20 years ago. You would be wrong. There is no golden age.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:28 AM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Remember the 70s and 80s, when they remade stuff from the 50s and MADE IT BETTER?
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


You do know that when they remake something, the original doesn't, y'know, cease to exist. Right?
posted by unSane at 9:29 AM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


OK now. Let me read this and see if I'm right.

You got it more or less, except for the conclusion where Inception, a wholly original piece, comes in and makes $100 million in less than a week.
posted by philip-random at 9:31 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


People like what they like, and what they like more is more of what they like. So sequels and remakes will always be around. Thus says the man who has written three sequels and one reboot. What you try to do -- and where creators often fall down -- is not to be lazy and/or contemptuous of your audience, and have the sequels/remakes suck thereby.

The one movie studio who remembers this on a regular basis (so far): Pixar. Everyone else is a little iffy on the subject.

In any event, the nice thing is that one is never required to see a sequel or a remake, leaving one's childhood unsullied.
posted by jscalzi at 9:34 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can't wait for Inception 2: The Inceptioning.
posted by randomination at 9:34 AM on July 23, 2010 [9 favorites]


INC3PTION will be better.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on July 23, 2010 [34 favorites]


Perhaps we should not base our childhoods around intellectual properly franchises?

The problem is when the stuff of childhood memories becomes an intellectual property franchise. I somehow doubt that Peyo (aka Pierre Culliford) drew little blue guys and though "I'm looking forward to the day the Smurfs invade Manhattan or some other Big American City." He was drawing a comic in Belgium in 1958, and it grew from that.
Most studio films will now set you back at least $100m; since no one wants to gamble with those sorts of sums, the industry has decided to make fewer and supposedly safer investments. "One very easy way to do that is to make movies that are out of existing products," adds Laporte. "Whether the film is good or not, your marketing is done. People know what it's about. If you take something like The A-Team, from the 1980s, and turn it into a film, then you hope to get older demographics turning out, because they already know the property. They will bring their younger kids along with them."
Emphasis mine.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 AM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


One of my all-time favorite films is a remake. So I begrudge no one their chance of bucking the long odds against surpassing an original.

I have nothing at risk. Junk like Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory only increases my appreciation of the original; it doesn't interfere with it.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:37 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


In a couple of months, Michael Cera will star in a new film which, judging by its worryingly awful trailer, is partly based on the video game Donkey Kong.

This person is insane. The Scott Pilgrim trailer looks fucking great.
posted by brundlefly at 9:38 AM on July 23, 2010 [11 favorites]


An easily quantifiable market, of not-too-choosy fans who will watch any old rubbish attached to the Predator brand, clearly exists.

Come on. It's not a ZOMG "Crime Against Film" if a market exists. What's the crime is that a market exists.
posted by spicynuts at 9:42 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, I used to think I;d watch any old rubbish attached to the Aliens brand.

Used to.
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just two of the Top 10 films released so far in 2010 are original products: the Dreamworks animation How to Train Your Dragon

Do you want to tell him or shall I?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:43 AM on July 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


People have been adapting and revising stories for as long as there have been stories. This is not a new phenomenon. Consider Little Red Riding Hood. The oldest version of the story, from 1697, ends with the protagonist eaten by the wolf, end of story, no rescue, no happily everafter. In 1812 the Grimm's version ends with the protagonist and the grandmother saved by a huntsman. If that happened today you'd have angry people on the internet ranting about how the Brothers Grimm ruined a dark tale of childhood innocence lost by turning it into another sappy tale of a young woman rescued by, you guessed it, a man.

What's more, the Grimm's version appears to be a splicing together of the beginning of the earlier Little Red Riding Hood with the ending of an entirely different fairy tale, "The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids." So, horror of horrors, we have the very sort of thing Hollywood does these days with adaptations of things like comic books, splicing together plotlines and characters.

What's so wrong with having multiple versions of a story? I suppose we can talk about the opportunity cost of cranking out sequels and remakes instead of investing in comparatively risky new works, but that's more about the nature of how movies are financed and distributed and less about anything inherently wrong with revising an existing story.
posted by jedicus at 9:43 AM on July 23, 2010 [11 favorites]


Oh my, you're right, philip-random. I also missed the part where the author attempted to slide in a little blame on the studios for not having any creativity, and the actors themselves for demanding more money. It wasn't a direct slight of either, just an aside, but it's there.

jscalzi is right, though. Sequels and remakes need not be utter shit. Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars, for example. Both wonderful in their own way. Sequels and remakes usually suck not because the studios aren't willing to take risks, but because they often miss the appeal of the original and it devolves into least-common-denominator shtick like fart jokes. Throw in poor casting and the inevitable attempts to turn 20 page children's stories into 2 hour movies (Cat in the Hat, Where the Wild Things Are, etc.) and you get the crap they keep spewing on us.

Not that the studios are entirely to blame, of course. We morons in the audience keep paying to see this tripe.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:43 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm the one person in comicsdom who's not really psyched about Scott Pilgrim, but this guy really undercut his point by bringing it up. An adaptation of a book that incorporates video game elements is a far, far cry from a movie based on a video game.

He also undercuts his credibility by taking Ghostbusters 3 as a given, when Bill Murray just said the other day that it's not happening.
posted by COBRA! at 9:44 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You can trace this development back a decade. "In the late 1990s and early 2000s, really beginning with Titanic, movies started becoming more and more expensive," says Nicole Laporte, a film industry journalist and author of The Men Who Would be Kings, a history of Dreamworks, the studio which in recent years has successfully ruined a generation's memories of Transformers. "That's when you start to see special effects becoming more advanced and therefore pricier, and quotes from actors going through the roof, with people getting $20m a movie. Of course, the more expensive something gets, the riskier it gets."

This is, to my mind, the entire problem in a nutshell, because movies don't need to be this expensive. More and more, we are seeing smaller films, done on realistic budgets, returning excellent profits. Most of films Rodriguez has done are excellent examples of this.

I'm not suggesting that Hollywood should completely do away with the giant blockbusters, but not every movie needs to cost over $100 million, and as for the stars salaries, I'd love to see them take less up front and get a percentage of the movies earnings back. That way, if it's a huge hit they get a great payday, and if it flops they learn to look a bit closer at the script before accepting.

And the weird part of all this, is that whenever I hear interviews, directors point out that movies that cost less have less oversight and they are more free to take chances that they wouldn't otherwise, and often it's those very chancy moves that make the film better. So by making more expensive films, they are, almost by design, making a film that might not be as good as one that didn't cost as much.
posted by quin at 9:45 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Guess what: The original Wizard of Oz wasn't even a movie.

Plus, the 1939 version wasn't the first Oz film by a long shot. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ...)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:46 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I read in the Express paper in DC (the free one on the metro) that the columnist is mad about "Ramona and Beezus," which I guess was originally "Beezus and Ramona." I remember watching Ramona Quimby videos visiting my cousin when I possibly a little too old to be seeing them. But it starred Sarah Polley. The columnist from today's paper called the casting of Selena Gomez as Beezus as an insult. She also called Gomez a "Stepford teen" (ouch! At least she looks age appropriate). She also said she wanted Beezus to be not good looking.

I remember the videos with Sarah Polley as 8 year old Ramona as being very gloomy and dark, and Beezus being mean and nervous and desperate to fit in. There was a lot more pain in the ones I saw.
posted by anniecat at 9:46 AM on July 23, 2010


> Not that the studios are entirely to blame, of course. We morons in the audience keep paying to see this tripe.

I blame the 13-18 year old demographic.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:47 AM on July 23, 2010


In a couple of months, Michael Cera will star in a new film which, judging by its worryingly awful trailer, is partly based on the video game Donkey Kong.

Wow, The Independent's Man in LA really has his finger on the pulse, doesn't he?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:47 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also: experiments are allowed by Big Movie Studios when they have other known moneymakers in the bag. This is done by many other Major Labels for other entertainment items, like music (Verve carries pop jazz like to pay the way for more esoteric sounds like (artists I don't know =), Mute Records has some pop trance like Paul van Dyk to carry ambient post-rock like Hovercraft and odd downtemo like Looper), and I'm sure books are the same way. Heavy Hitters carry the hit-and-a-misses.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:47 AM on July 23, 2010


Hint: it's the money.

Which is also, coincidentally, the reason why hip hop sucks in '96.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 9:48 AM on July 23, 2010 [19 favorites]


I thought the more interesting aspect of the article was his lamentation of the decline of creativity in the production of Hollywood films. It was an interesting tie to the rising cost of films--I hadn't realized budgets had increased so dramatically. The childhood stuff was more of a lead-in to that.
posted by schroedinger at 9:48 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything sucks. Get used to it.
posted by spicynuts at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, The Independent's Man in LA really has his finger on the pulse, doesn't he?

I know, right? Dude doesn't have the ability to type the name Michael Cera into the search box and see what the hell he's working on? I hope this was an attempt at humor, because if not, boy this guy must be the laziest entertainment journalist on earth.
posted by Mister_A at 9:52 AM on July 23, 2010


Perhaps choosing to see a movie based on a reflex arc of nostalgia isn't the best strategy.
posted by benzenedream at 9:52 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I blame the 13-18 year old demographic.

This appears to be the best explanation of why movies suck now.
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I recall a very honest movie marketing exec answering this question on (I think) CBC radio at some point a few years go.

He had an interesting take. It turns out that their marketing data was telling them that huge number of people, I think even a majority, don't go to the cinema to see a particular movie.

They don't read reviews; they mostly tune out trailers.

Apparently, instead of people saying "hey man, wanna go see Inception?" the more common conversation is "hey man, wanna go see a movie?" The decision of what to see is last minute, done at the point of sale.

Studios were cranking out stuff with recognizable names and plots to capture this demographic. They were hitching that last second decision of what to see onto all the marketing already done for the movie franchise 20 years in the past.

I guess it works.
posted by generichuman at 9:52 AM on July 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


Of course, if it was an attempt at humor, then this guy may be the least funny entertainment journalist on earth.
posted by Mister_A at 9:53 AM on July 23, 2010


Where the Wild Things Are can hardly be called crap. I found it deeply moving and truly evocative of a troubled kid's worldview. The Wild Things go from goofy to sad to angry in the blink of an eye. They are emotions run wild. And they are scary when they're angry. Fun horseplay suddenly devolves into dangerous claws taking swipes out of whole trees.

There is a pervading sense of loss as the necessity to regulate one's emotions to avoid dangerous extremes comes with the unwanted side effect of losing the ability to instantly trust and to throw oneself without reservation into joyful pursuits. I thought the movie was a remarkable study of emotions and aging.
posted by Babblesort at 9:53 AM on July 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Perhaps we should not base our childhoods around intellectual properly franchises

This makes no sense. If something has IP (copyright) then it can be resold for money. If someone doesn't have IP (public domain) it can be resold for money (Brothers Grimm = Disney).

Perhaps we should not base our childhood on mass media and instead use our own imaginations to entertain ourselves?
posted by stbalbach at 9:53 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dude doesn't have the ability to type the name Michael Cera into the search box and see what the hell he's working on? I hope this was an attempt at humor, because if not, boy this guy must be the laziest entertainment journalist on earth.

He didn't have time; shortly after this article was due he had to leave for San Diego for some sort of swap meet/flea market. Apparently, comic books aren't just for kids anymore! Zap! Pow!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:55 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


I don't understand why, if they're rebooting every other film franchise in history, we haven't been getting word of a Back to the Future reboot. Hell, that could actually be relatively interesting. Release it in 2015 and have the guy go back to 1985, and using State-Of-The-Art computing power mix in scenes from the original Back to the Future. Naturally, the time machine would still have to be a Delorean. If Hollywood won't do it, how about some Brits giving it a go, or maybe Bollywood? Get a flux capacitor, some gull wing doors, and 142 km/h and (presto) time travel.

I mean, I wouldn't really trust movie producers not to fuck it up, but a boy can dream, can't he?
posted by barnacles at 9:56 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is there a more scientific term for pop culture imprinting, i.e. young humans growing so emotionally attached to whatever crap they're seeing/listening/reading for the first time that they never really grow out of it?
Also, while it's annoying that studios waste money into unimaginative remakes/sequels instead of creating new stuff, I fail to see why this is new. There were 35 Tarzan movies produced between 1918 and 1960, almost one per year. At least they make less Tarzan movies today.
posted by elgilito at 9:57 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why, if they're rebooting every other film franchise in history, we haven't been getting word of a Back to the Future reboot.

Dude. They're doing that. (Google it!)

It will be terrible.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:59 AM on July 23, 2010


Hmph. I'd watch a "Donkey Kong" movie starring Michael Cera. The title would be set in one of those messy handwriting typefaces, and the soundtrack would be so transcendent that it would coin the term Kongcore.
posted by emelenjr at 9:59 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I might like to see Johnny Depp as the Scarecrow, but he'd probably be cast as the Wizard.

Wonder if he would be a good Dorothy? Wouldn't put it past Burton/Depp to throw a twist like that.
posted by davidmsc at 9:59 AM on July 23, 2010


"Ask anyone in the film industry to explain this trend, and they will shrug their shoulders and trot out the excuse always used to justify their trade's most heinous crimes against good taste: money. "

He could have ended the article right there.
posted by Xoebe at 10:00 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


If The A-Team, Karate Kid and Arthur were precious memories of your childhood, I'd say you've got pretty much nowhere to go but up.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:00 AM on July 23, 2010 [14 favorites]


What jscalzi said. If I could fave that a million times I would.

Also, I would like to add a couple million faves to the whole Old Man's War series while I'm at it.

/fanboy

This makes no sense. If something has IP (copyright) then it can be resold for money. If someone doesn't have IP (public domain) it can be resold for money (Brothers Grimm = Disney).

Perhaps we should not base our childhood on mass media and instead use our own imaginations to entertain ourselves?


I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic here, but that was obviously what the quote you posted was getting at.
posted by antifuse at 10:01 AM on July 23, 2010


how dare these assholes violate the sanctity of the donkey kong franchise to turn millions of dollars into even more millions of dollars!
posted by nathancaswell at 10:03 AM on July 23, 2010


Sys Rq: "I don't understand why, if they're rebooting every other film franchise in history, we haven't been getting word of a Back to the Future reboot.

Dude. They're doing that. (Google it!)

It will be terrible.
"

Embarrassed to admit I did google, but apparently not well enough! Jeeves, back to the googlebox!
posted by barnacles at 10:04 AM on July 23, 2010


so, whats the over/under that Tim Burton has his eyes on redoing The Wizard of Oz?

There are at least two Oz remakes in the works at Warners, and another one at New Line. John Boorman's supposedly doing a CGI-animation Oz.

So, even if Tim Burton doesn't direct, the odds are good that at least one Oz remake will be in theaters in the not too distant future.
posted by blucevalo at 10:05 AM on July 23, 2010


Don't worry, barnacles, it's not true anyway. They're all April Fool's jokes.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:06 AM on July 23, 2010


The weird thing for me lately is that all of the nostalgic remakes are of stuff that I was too old for in the first place. Being in my late forties means that I'm two generations past the target for these movies. So I don't feel all that offended about remakes of the Ateam, Transformers, GI Joe or Karate Kid since I never saw the originals in the eighties. The problem for me isn't being offended by this crap, it's that they drive out all the other movies from the mega-plexes and there isn't much else to see.
posted by octothorpe at 10:06 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Known characters are safe. Unknown characters are not. A sequel to a hit is a better idea financially

Ditto video games.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:08 AM on July 23, 2010


So, even if Tim Burton doesn't direct, the odds are good that at least one Oz remake will be in theaters in the not too distant future.

Sam Raimi is doing an OZ prequel.
posted by octothorpe at 10:08 AM on July 23, 2010


Here's hoping it helps him fund something decent.
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on July 23, 2010


I think they should do a Pac Man adaptation, but base it loosely on the old joke and have it be about a deranged, jaundiced guy, frantically running around the dark city streets, popping massive amounts of pills, listening to electronic music, and hunting and alternatively being hunted by ghosts.

It should also be rated a hard "R".
posted by quin at 10:11 AM on July 23, 2010 [12 favorites]


With Bruce Campbell as the Tin Man.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:11 AM on July 23, 2010


I saw the Karate Kid remake at the behest of my children. It was arguably a better film than the original--Jackie Chan's performance makes Pat Morita's look kind of embarassing, actually.

I cannot for the life of me figure out how it was "...shamelessly re-engineered to endorse the values of one of the world's most oppressive political regimes." It was the same basic story from start to finish.

But hey, it was a remake, so it had to be shoehorned in there somewhere, right?
posted by padraigin at 10:12 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I don't feel all that offended about remakes of the Ateam, Transformers, GI Joe or Karate Kid since I never saw the originals in the eighties.

Same here, except that I saw "The Karate Kid" and it wasn't exactly so spellbinding that a remake is anathema.
posted by blucevalo at 10:12 AM on July 23, 2010


Perhaps we should not base our childhoods around intellectual properly franchises?

I know what you mean, but it's not as if kids make many conscious choices about what their childhood is based around. Any kid wondering around say "this is childhood! I must not base it around these products of the television and movie studios!" is already risking throwing it away for different reasons.

Films, TV shows, comics - these things are hugely sophisticated cultural products, they were when I was growing up and they are even more so now. You're plugged into a ready-made imaginative universe that's designed with you in mind. Wow! That's powerful. Sure, that left me open to exploitation by Michael Bay's regrettable Transformers film, which I wanted to love and paid to watch, only to have my hopes trampled on, and I won't even mention how unhappy I was about the Stallone Judge Dredd. But the memories of the originals are still just fine. In fact a bad remake is almost preferable to a skilled remake, because there's no danger of it eroding what I feel to be the special-ness of the original. So a generation of kids now think Optimus Prime has lips. What do I care? I'm not the what-kids-think-about-Optimus-Prime Police. Those cartoons were pretty ropey themselves. How I loved them. Many consumers are stupid and will buy anything with a particular brand. That's a pity. But that doesn't mean all consumers are stupid and cannot distinguish between different iterations of a product. I hated the Ralph Fiennes Avengers remake because I loved the original. But The New Avengers was also lousy, and made long before I enjoyed the Avengers - but I simply ignored it and enjoyed the original. I'm sure future generations will be perfectly capable of identifying the original as the best, and the subsequent reimaginvisionings as regrettable war crimes.

In summary: by gum it's hard but I think the best thing is to not worry too much about what people think about the stuff I used to like.
posted by WPW at 10:12 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


He started to lose me at the bit about Scott Pilgrim and lost me entirely at How To Train Your Dragon. Maybe some fact-checking is in order, friend.

Sequels and remakes and big-screen adaptations of beloved childhood properties can be disappointing and even frustrating, sure, but like others have said upthread - if you didn't like Crystal Skull, it turns out that Last Crusade is still totally awesome, hooray!
posted by Monster_Zero at 10:12 AM on July 23, 2010


Take The A-Team, which opened in the US earlier this summer and will arrive in British cinemas in a week's time. If you happen to have grown up in the Eighties, when the TV show of the same name was a fixture of ITV's Saturday afternoons, then to watch this movie is to have a sledgehammer taken to rose-tinted memories. The endlessly varied, hilariously improbable, low-budget television caper you once knew and loved has been reimagined as a workmanlike 21st-century action movie.

See, this is the tough thing about pop punditry on a tight deadline: you've really got to stretch your premise, and any ole junk lying around will do, and probably you've filed the thing before you've fully digested the shame of referring to The A-Team as "endlessly varied."

Also, I would argue that anyone applying a rose-hued tint to anything produced by the pop-cultural mainstream in the 1980s has forgotten too much about the '80s to be credible on the subject. Strap this guy in a chair and make him watch five buddy cop movies (including Tango & Cash and the Billy Crystal-Gregory Hines vehicle Running Scared), ten hours of Airwolf, a day and a half of early Fox programming, and the full run of the Police Academy franchise. And if he can still make a plausible argument for the '80s as any kind of heydey after all that, whack him upside the head with a stack of Look Who's Talking Too videocassettes and leave him to convalesce with a copy of Cocktail on infinite loop. If he's still coherent and nostalgic after the third iteration of Coughlin's Laws, god help him.
posted by gompa at 10:13 AM on July 23, 2010 [9 favorites]


Ah, yet another journalist on the road to discovering There Is Nothing New Under The Sun, telling Hollywood to get off his lawn.
posted by Mooski at 10:14 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have nothing at risk. Junk like Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory only increases my appreciation of the original; it doesn't interfere with it.

I wasn't a fan of the Tim Burton remake either, but I not comfortable calling it "junk". The problem for me was that the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was such an emotional favorite of mine, not just a favorite movie that I've seen over and over again but an integral part of my childhood, tied to so many memories. It goes beyond just being a film I happen to like. Being fair, there was just no way, no matter how good the Burton version was, that I was going to like it.

My kids thought it was great and I'm sure will be bemoaning the inveitable new reimagining that will come out when they're adults. I'm sure there were several young adults in the early 70s complaining about the Willie Wonka movie ruining one of their favorite childhood books.

The fallacy is assuming that everything you grew up with was fantastic and everything that comes out once you reach adulthood is crap.
posted by The Gooch at 10:15 AM on July 23, 2010


The stuff we liked as kids was crap. Have you seen the Dukes of Hazard since it was on? It was garbage. Entertaining garbage, and I don't begrudge its right to exist or people to be amused by it, but its not so sacrosanct that we ruined Tom Wopat by replacing him with Johnny Knoxville.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:16 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently, instead of people saying "hey man, wanna go see Inception?" the more common conversation is "hey man, wanna go see a movie?" The decision of what to see is last minute, done at the point of sale.

I could see that for a majority of movies but that doesn't make sense in light of movies that make crap ton of money like Inception and Avatar. People are obviously going out to specifically see them and I would think studios would rather that happen than hoping people just randomly picking their movie.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:17 AM on July 23, 2010


Strap this guy in a chair and make him watch five buddy cop movies (including Tango & Cash and the Billy Crystal-Gregory Hines vehicle Running Scared)

Shit, you make that sound like a bad thing. You may have just identified my movies to watch this weekend.
posted by quin at 10:18 AM on July 23, 2010


Don't Remake These 21 Movies, Film These Books Instead!
posted by dammitjim at 10:18 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, apparently Sam Raimi is doing a WoW movie too. I think I would rather see Spiderman 4 than a WoW movie. Actually a WoW movie would be great if it was about people playing WoW, but I don't think that's what it is. Blech.
posted by Mister_A at 10:18 AM on July 23, 2010


I'd entirely forgotten that there was a Dukes of Hazard movie in 2005.
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on July 23, 2010


Avatar – a one-off movie that, by the by, was based on a wholly original idea.

If cobbling together a series of hackneyed tropes and scenes from other films into a blue cat-people 3D bonanza is what is now passing as a wholly original idea, we truly are fucked. The fact that it did not have 80s predecessor (Thundercats?) does not make it any less unoriginal, it simply drives home the point that instead of outright re-booting of franchises and then making endless sequels, Hollywood should just go back to stealing scenes from successful movies and then tweaking the elements in a kind of cinematic mash-up. It worked for Tarantino.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:19 AM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why film remakes are desecrating our most precious memories.

I know other people have mentioned this in various ways, but it's both hyperbolic and incredibly depressing that what the author describes as "our most precious memories" were basically commercials for toys and action figures in the first place. I'm as much a customer of popular culture whoredom as anyone, but even as a fairly credulous child I recognized that as cool as Star Wars seemed to me at the time, it wasn't the most important thing in the world.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:19 AM on July 23, 2010


Babblesort: "Where the Wild Things Are can hardly be called crap. I found it deeply moving and truly evocative of a troubled kid's worldview."

A little off-topic, but I'll respond to explain my reason for including it here. To be fair, I haven't seen it, only the trailers and reviews. But I understand they took a really nice story about imagination and feelings and reconciliation and unnecessarily made it into a story where there's no need for imagination because the Wild Things are real, and also there's a nasty divorce going on for no reason other than to stretch the story into a longer piece and to act as a plot device (because gosh we all know all kids are just fine and they never act up unless there's a Really Good Reason they are Upset and it's the Parent's Fault). I don't remember that part of the book. I don't think it's necessary and it detracts from the story: Kid has an imagination, kid acts like a wild beast, kid is sent to his room as a result, he has a fantasy of always being a wild beast, he realizes that isn't really what he wants, and he returns from his fanatsy to discover that his mother might have been mad at his behavior but she still loves him. It's a beautiful little story on it's own and it doesn't need the extra crap they threw in to "explain" Max's behavior. It's not sufficient material for a 2 hour movie so they added this junk in. Doing so was a mistake. (Actually trying to make a story that short into a feature film was a mistake - it nearly always is. You can't add material without changing the story significantly.)

It's depressing. Every parent can imagine reasons why his or her child might be acting out. I think that by specifying one reason for the bad behavior, Max is no longer a character every child can identify with, because not every child is in the position of the one in the movie. Hollywood needs to learn that leaving it open to interpretation is a good thing. Also, really - the kid actually runs away? How much better could this movie have been if the Wild Things were fantasies he visited while trying to get away from the stress of his home life? Really running away introduces aspects of the parent's fears into the movie. The story isn't about the parents. Well, it wasn't. I don't know where I'm going with this but I read enough about the movie to make the decision that as amazing as the recreation of the Wild Things was in the trailer, the movie was going to disappoint me, so I chose not to see it.

I read this book to my kid last night. I wouldn't read the Hollywood version of the story to him.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:19 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


> The decision of what to see is last minute, done at the point of sale.

This has been the case for several generations now.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:20 AM on July 23, 2010


John Boorman's supposedly doing a CGI-animation Oz.


I'm suddenly depressed that I was wrong about him being thrown off of a cliff for being responsible for Excalibur. Can I just pretend that I was right?
posted by COBRA! at 10:20 AM on July 23, 2010


I'm waiting for the Titanic reboot. There's a franchise that could use some 3D!
posted by blue_beetle at 10:21 AM on July 23, 2010


...it turns out that Last Crusade is still totally awesome...

I don't know where to start with this, so let's just flame each other, motherfucker.
posted by Mister_A at 10:22 AM on July 23, 2010


Don't Remake These 21 Movies, Film These Books Instead!

Wow. Pretty much all of those suggestions range from difficult-to-film to unfilmable. It's all good stuff, but if I heard of any of those being made into a movie my first thought would be "how are they going to do that without ruining it?"
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on July 23, 2010


The stuff we liked as kids was crap.

FAVORITED ONE BILLION TIMES
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:23 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


blue_beetle: "I'm waiting for the Titanic reboot. There's a franchise that could use some 3D!"

You'll to wait until 2012 for 3D Titanic.
posted by octothorpe at 10:23 AM on July 23, 2010


What? Excalibur is awesome!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:23 AM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


And they're remaking it, by the way.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:24 AM on July 23, 2010


If it helps any, watching McGyver later in life ruined my childhood memories of it. No remake was necessary.
posted by samsara at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I might like to see Johnny Depp as the Scarecrow, but he'd probably be cast as the Wizard.

My predictions for the casting of Tim Burton's Wizard of Oz:

Dorothy: Helena Bonham Carter
Auntie Em: Helena Bonham Carter in a blue wig
The Wicked Witch of the West: Helena Bonham Carter in a fright wig
The Wicked Witch of the East: Helena Bonham Carter's feet
The Scarecrow: Johnny Depp
The Tin Man: Johnny Depp in a robot suit with Christopher Plummer's voice overdubbed
The Cowardly Lion: Actually 3 separate lions, each CGIed based on Johnny Depp's body motions
The Wizard of Oz: Johnny Depp in old man makeup
Toto: A cat wearing a dog costume
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [45 favorites]


There better bloody well be a scene where someone wearing a suit of armor fucks someone else, preferably also armor-clad.
posted by Mister_A at 10:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Of course I am talking about the Oz films.
posted by Mister_A at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Twenty-one comments in and I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the delicious irony that this article is a retread of many better argued articles on the same topic before it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Your memories are your own.

Inception says "maybe".
posted by new brand day at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2010


... and the full run of the Police Academy franchise.

Oh God, please, no. No one, not even our worst enemies, deserves that kind of torture.
posted by Melismata at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2010


To be fair, I haven't seen it

Not to be (too much of) an asshole, caution, but this is your only salient point. Where the Wild Things Are was uneven, but it was most definitely a very careful, considerate expansion of the themes and settings of the book, not a padding-out. Whatever else you want to say about Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers, they absolutely adored the source material. And their sensibilities are many twisting miles away from any standard "Hollywood version."

For me, I was a little disappointed as I left the theatre (my five-year-old daughter thought it was great, but not Pixar/Star Wars/Avatar great), but it has grown on me a lot in hindsight - moments come back to me like half-remembered fragments of a dream, which was exactly what its makers were trying to do.
posted by gompa at 10:27 AM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


And they're remaking it, by the way.

You have broken what could not be broken! Now, hope is broken!
posted by Artw at 10:28 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


What? Excalibur is awesome!
posted by Astro Zombie


I thought it looks fantastic, and the cast is great, but the pacing and script blew. Although I could see how it maybe blew in a fun way if you're in the right mood.

I hope the remake's suitably Xtreme.
posted by COBRA! at 10:29 AM on July 23, 2010


Yeah, WTF? Excalibur is a great film!
posted by P.o.B. at 10:29 AM on July 23, 2010


So, when do you think the appropriate age is for me to introduce my child (currently 3 1/2) to Indiana Jones (1981), Star Wars (1977), Ghostbusters (1984) and Superman (1978)?
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on July 23, 2010


/sends COBRA to crystal cave forever.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on July 23, 2010


If you'd like to see Ghostbusters' ECTO-1 race Back the the Future's Delorean, possibly to the dulcet tones jams of Huey Lewis and the News, please favorite this comment.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing and Hollywood knows this.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:30 AM on July 23, 2010 [9 favorites]


Maybe it's been a few years, but I always thought that Excalibur was put together pretty well.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:31 AM on July 23, 2010


3 1/2? What are you waiting for??
posted by P.o.B. at 10:32 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


TRON guy is doing The Black Hole next.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on July 23, 2010


caution live frogs, I think your interpretation of Wild Things might change if you saw it. Certainly my kids, who have grown up on the book, recognized Max's adventures as being an imaginary expression of his emotions and at no time did they believe he had literally run away.
posted by padraigin at 10:33 AM on July 23, 2010


I thought it looks fantastic, and the cast is great, but the pacing and script blew.

Of course! It's a Liam Neeson film! You go into it knowing that! Just like Krull!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:33 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


OH YOU ARE HAVING A GO AT KRULL NOW ARE YOU?
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, I could have gone after the Mission, but nobody remembers Neeson was in it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:35 AM on July 23, 2010


"Ask anyone in the film industry to explain this trend, and they will shrug their shoulders and trot out the excuse always used to justify their trade's most heinous crimes against good taste: money. "

He could have ended the article right there.


OP weighing in.

I actually found most of the good points in the article followed this "money" line. That is, it's one thing to blame it all on money. It's another to explain why exactly, which is why I chose to focus on the Robert Rodriguez, Sex In the City paragraphs. Because, in order to understand why pretty much everything must come pre-branded this days, it helps to see the specific economics at work. And Guy Adams (for all his Scott Pilgrim/Michael Cera sins; don't worry, he'll surely burn in geek-hell) does a pretty efficient job of it in those two paragraphs.

Hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it's good to have a sort of Coles-Notes version of it at hand.
posted by philip-random at 10:35 AM on July 23, 2010


Hollywood ate my childhood [or] Why film remakes are desecrating our most precious memories.

If the A-Team is "our most precious memories" we're fucked.
posted by new brand day at 10:35 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm still waiting for the movie version of Ender's Game or The Mote in God's Eye.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:36 AM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Toto: A cat wearing a dog costume

Meticulously raised from a kitten to believe it is actually a dog, of course.

After filming, it will be killed, stuffed and sold on eBay.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:36 AM on July 23, 2010


I won't even mention how unhappy I was about the Stallone Judge Dredd

Having never heard of the Judge Dredd comic when the movie came out, I f'ing LOVED it. As did most people I know. Holy crap, I was 17 then too. That's a little bit embarrassing, I thought I was younger. But regardless, I still look back on that movie fondly.

Anybody who says that the A-Team movie doesn't meet up to the high quality of the 80's TV series, needs to go back and watch a couple episodes of the TV series. I haven't seen the movie yet (though I SO WANT TO), but I've recently caught a couple of eps of the TV show on TV... WOW. That is some really, really, REALLY bad TV.
posted by antifuse at 10:37 AM on July 23, 2010


...and while I'm at it, A Gift From Earth would also make a great movie.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:40 AM on July 23, 2010


Apparently the next Judge Dredd is Karl Urban, A.K.A. Bones from Star Trek and Untitled Star Trek Sequel.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on July 23, 2010


Oh, and on lack of preview:

I'm still waiting for the movie version of Ender's Game or The Mote in God's Eye.

Yes please. I keep hearing rumours about an Ender's Game movie focusing mostly on the battle room, but still no sign of it.

Also, I would love a Ringworld movie. And we need to bust out some more Heinlein into Hollywood, too.
posted by antifuse at 10:41 AM on July 23, 2010


OH YOU ARE HAVING A GO AT KRULL NOW ARE YOU?

AND THEN THEY CAME FOR HIGH SPIRITS BY THAT TIME THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK UP
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:42 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


This pretty much says it all about the Stallone Dredd.
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Next someone is going to tell me that Legend sucked and it needs to be remade.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:42 AM on July 23, 2010


Well, I could have gone after the Mission

The Mission!? How dare you? Grar!

Well, okay, I don't actually remember it much but Morricone's score was awesome.
posted by aldurtregi at 10:43 AM on July 23, 2010


And we need to bust out some more Heinlein into Hollywood, too.

All You Zombies! Zombies are big right now, right? Just needs a few changes...
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Artw : So, when do you think the appropriate age is for me to introduce my child (currently 3 1/2) to Indiana Jones (1981), Star Wars (1977), Ghostbusters (1984) and Superman (1978)?

Well, I was born in '71, and I turned out great as a result of seeing these movies when I did, so I'd say, 10, 6, 13, and 7 respectively.

Of course, mileage may vary on other's opinions of me, which might range from "great" to "oh god, please just let me go..." so there's that to consider.
posted by quin at 10:46 AM on July 23, 2010


"In two underwhelming hours, a character whose narrative arc had spanned three previous blockbusters, touching hundreds of millions of viewers, was rendered absurd"

Boo-hoo. Indiana Jones was hollywood schlock from the get-go. These must be the same fucking child/men who make those bacon-covered snowwalkers .....ech!
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:48 AM on July 23, 2010


Wait they filmed a Heinlein book?
posted by P.o.B. at 10:49 AM on July 23, 2010


Hawk the Slayer remake?
posted by Tenuki at 10:50 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


And we need to bust out some more Heinlein into Hollywood, too.

I'd be happy for a better version of Starship Troopers (better in the sense of being more closely tied to the book, the first movie was fun, but didn't follow the written story much at all.)

I feel the same way about The Running Man by King.
posted by quin at 10:50 AM on July 23, 2010


YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! STARSHIP TROOPERS AND THE RUNNING MAN ARE PERFECT!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:52 AM on July 23, 2010 [9 favorites]


What I don't get is why there isn't a Caves of Steel movie. That one is pretty much the movie-est classic sci-fi story ever (it's a murder mystery in which there is a chase scene on whizzing walkways through the underground cityscape, hello), plus it has three sequels ready to go.

Instead, we got I, Robot, which was some other robot screenplay with random Asimov stuff liberally cut-n-pasted throughout the script. Plus Will Smith driving an Audi through the future while wearing Converse.
posted by vorfeed at 10:52 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Interesting timing on this post, as I'm going to see Inception right now. Here's hoping for the best!
posted by Kevin Street at 10:52 AM on July 23, 2010


And than people would complain because even though it closely followed the book, "it wasn't future-y enough!"
posted by P.o.B. at 10:52 AM on July 23, 2010


antifuse: "I won't even mention how unhappy I was about the Stallone Judge Dredd

Having never heard of the Judge Dredd comic when the movie came out, I f'ing LOVED it. As did most people I know. Holy crap, I was 17 then too. That's a little bit embarrassing, I thought I was younger. But regardless, I still look back on that movie fondly.

Anybody who says that the A-Team movie doesn't meet up to the high quality of the 80's TV series, needs to go back and watch a couple episodes of the TV series. I haven't seen the movie yet (though I SO WANT TO), but I've recently caught a couple of eps of the TV show on TV... WOW. That is some really, really, REALLY bad TV.
"

The A-Team movie was great, great popcorn fare. It's not deep or really clever, but it's a fun action movie
posted by NiteMayr at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2010


Boo-hoo. Indiana Jones was hollywood schlock from the get-go.

There's schlock and there's schlock. If you can't differentiate (and it appears that this is so), I suggest you steer clear of any discussions that touch on pop culture.
posted by philip-random at 10:54 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Release it in 2015 and have the guy go back to 1985, and using State-Of-The-Art computing power mix in scenes from the original Back to the Future. Naturally, the time machine would still have to be a Delorean.

Good gods, I have it. Do it Wes Craven's New Nightmare-style. Travel from our 2015 (which obviously isn't nearly as cool as BTTF's 2015) back to 1985, where a movie titled Back to the Future is undergoing terrible production problems. Our hero has to ensure that the movie is completed and released in order to maintain the integrity of the time stream. For extra bonus points, give cameos to Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, as themselves, who build the DeLorean time machine in 2015.

This could be awesome.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:54 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plus Will Smith driving an Audi through the future while wearing Converse.

And a shower scene with his shirt off. ROWR!
posted by P.o.B. at 10:54 AM on July 23, 2010


If the A-Team is "our most precious memories" we're fucked.

TAKE THAT BACK!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2010


quin: Agreed re Starship Troopers. I loved the movie, it was great fun, and particularly since it introduced me to Heinlein in the first place, but I would *love* to see something that follows the book more closely.

Looking him up on imdb, there's actually more of his stuff out there than I thought. I've never seen 1994's Puppet Masters, but I can only imagine it's as horrendously awesome as I think it would be. Of course, Puppet Masters is really just invasion of the body snatchers.

Have Space Suit, Will Travel is coming to theatres? OOOOOH BOY!
posted by antifuse at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2010


YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! STARSHIP TROOPERS AND THE RUNNING MAN ARE PERFECT!

...AS COMEDIES!
posted by P.o.B. at 10:56 AM on July 23, 2010


People have been adapting and revising stories for as long as there have been stories.

And they just about all boil down to "The Hero's Journey" or "The Hero's Return."
posted by zarq at 10:56 AM on July 23, 2010


They're meant to be comedies!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2010


What I don't get is why there isn't a Caves of Steel movie. That one is pretty much the movie-est classic sci-fi story ever (it's a murder mystery in which there is a chase scene on whizzing walkways through the underground cityscape, hello), plus it has three sequels ready to go.

1964: "Story Parade" The Caves of Steel

I would love to see someone remake it.

Just not Michael Bay.
posted by zarq at 10:59 AM on July 23, 2010


YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! STARSHIP TROOPERS AND THE RUNNING MAN ARE PERFECT!

Both of these movies are f'ing awesome. However, remakes that more closely follow the books would also be f'ing awesome.
posted by antifuse at 11:00 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! STARSHIP TROOPERS AND THE RUNNING MAN ARE PERFECT!

...AS COMEDIES!


/cuts P.o.B. in half with chainsaw.

He had to split!
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


/cuts P.o.B. in half with chainsaw.


P.c
posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on July 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Elsewhere, in what looks suspiciously like an effort to trammel the memories of an entire generation, next year's release schedules contain a new Ghostbusters flick, starring Bill Murray, a feature adaptation of MacGyver, yet more Rambo and Terminator sequels, and the frankly appalling prospect of Tom and Jerry: the Movie.

wait I thought Bill Murray had conspicuously vomited at the thought of even thinking of doing ghostbusters 3
posted by blucevalo at 11:03 AM on July 23, 2010


Let us not forget the live action Smurfs movie coming out this year. I have such great hopes for this one.
posted by antifuse at 11:05 AM on July 23, 2010


antifuse : I've never seen 1994's Puppet Masters, but I can only imagine it's as horrendously awesome as I think it would be.

It's remarkably good, actually. Competently directed and acted, and the aliens themselves are well done puppetry, so there aren't a lot of CG effects to look dated.

I just watched it in the last year or so and found it's held up quite well.
posted by quin at 11:06 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's remarkably good, actually. Competently directed and acted, and the aliens themselves are well done puppetry, so there aren't a lot of CG effects to look dated.

Well dang, now I have to hunt it down.
posted by antifuse at 11:08 AM on July 23, 2010


If the A-Team is "our most precious memories" we're fucked.

My talking Mr T keychain and I urge you to quit yo jibba jabba.
posted by elizardbits at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah Starship Troopers is awesome. Haven't read the book so I am not partial to Heinlein's story. Watched it a few days ago having not seen it in a long time...it's always been a guilty pleasure movie for me. Big dumb action, cool special effects, beautiful people in love triangles. But it's really great satire (I can't believe so many reviewers missed the point and called it a fascist movie...I mean compare the film's Net News segments with cable news in the U.S. post 9/11.) and I appreciated the early scenes in the school (with the discussions of failure of democracy, humans are arrogant to think they are better than the bugs, etc.) on a whole other level this time around. So I say hold off on remake. But if they want to rerelease it in 3D I guess that's OK.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 11:11 AM on July 23, 2010


the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was such an emotional favorite of mine, not just a favorite movie that I've seen over and over again but an integral part of my childhood, tied to so many memories.

I always find people's nostalgia for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory interesting, because I had a different experience. The movie had been around for nearly a decade when I was born, but for some reason I hadn't seen or even heard of it growing up. I was familiar with the book, though. I read the book. The book was great! And so I heard kids in my class singing "oompa loopa doopadee-do, I've got another puzzle for you" and thought "wait, that's not in the book, where did they get that song from?"

I'm not sure when I first saw the movie - I could have been anywhere between 11 and 25 - or if I've even seen it all the way through. But my reaction upon seeing it was pretty much "what the hell is this? They ruined a classic! They even got the title wrong! And kids have been watching this instead of reading the book!"

On the other hand, I'd seen the Ewoks comic books before I ever saw Star Wars, and I knew Mr. T as a sitcom guest star with his own cartoon. It all evens out in the end.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:13 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you'd like to see Ghostbusters' ECTO-1 race Back the the Future's Delorean, possibly to the dulcet tones jams of Huey Lewis and the News, please favorite this comment.

Is there a way I can unfavorite this comment?
posted by jonp72 at 11:13 AM on July 23, 2010


I could see that for a majority of movies but that doesn't make sense in light of movies that make crap ton of money like Inception and Avatar. People are obviously going out to specifically see them and I would think studios would rather that happen than hoping people just randomly picking their movie.

Correct, but I think the point is that these large-scale gambles are the exception. Sometimes they pay off spectacularly, sometimes they don't.

By and large, when Hollywood is cranking out commodity movies, they want the commodity to be as recognizable as possible.
posted by generichuman at 11:14 AM on July 23, 2010


Liam Neeson was in Krull? So is he the new Michael Caine or what? Also Krull was awesome in a really stupid way.
posted by Mister_A at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always wanted to be the dude that got shot with by the Uzi, or some kind of automatic, and than I have that way over the top jerking-side-to-side death.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:20 AM on July 23, 2010


Reading this thread just after having woken up from a night of insomnia and ill-remembered dreams, and without glasses, and what I got out of it is:

Michael Cera will star in John Boorman's 3-D ZARDOZ remake.
posted by jtron at 11:21 AM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


So is he the new Michael Caine or what?

He was the new Michael Caine before Michael Caine was the old Michael Caine.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would love to see someone remake it.

Just not Michael Bay.


I have reached the point in my crazed cinematic heresy wherein I would like to see Michael Bay remake everything. My current list includes All That Jazz, Pocahontas,The Piano, Duck Soup, The Remains of the Day, To Sir With Love, Much Ado About Nothing, Beaches, Tootsie, Sophie's Choice, A Fistful of Dollars, and Finding Nemo.
posted by elizardbits at 11:23 AM on July 23, 2010 [14 favorites]


1964: "Story Parade" The Caves of Steel

I would love to see someone remake it.


Me, too! As far as I'm concerned, though, films that don't exist anymore (the '64 Caves of Steel was aired all of twice, and only a few minutes of it survived deletion by the BBC) don't quite count.

Nor do videotapes which came with 1980s board games.
posted by vorfeed at 11:24 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always wanted to be the dude that got shot with by the Uzi, or some kind of automatic, and than I have that way over the top jerking-side-to-side death.

I'm not sure I have a line for that, IIRC I can do you death by flamethrower, hanging or futuristic go kart ride though.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on July 23, 2010


I always wanted to be the dude that got shot with by the Uzi, or some kind of automatic, and than I have that way over the top jerking-side-to-side death.

Bah, why do that when you could be the Guy With The Uzi Who Gets Knocked Off The Side OF A Building And It Totally Screaming And Shooting All The Way Down?

That dude is badass.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:25 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or you could be like me, the Guy Whose Typing Fingers Turn Into Sausages While Using The Internet.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:26 AM on July 23, 2010


That's no hint! That's actually the answer!!
posted by norm at 11:29 AM on July 23, 2010


I would love to see a Bay remake of Tootsie: I can just picture it, Tootsie walking in slow motion towards the camera, high heels kicking empty shell casing out of the way as the meth factory explodes behind him.
posted by quin at 11:29 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Me, too! As far as I'm concerned, though, films that don't exist anymore (the '64 Caves of Steel was aired all of twice, and only a few minutes of it survived deletion by the BBC) don't quite count.

Wow, and starring Peter Cushing! Totally badass. Thanks for that link.
posted by Melismata at 11:31 AM on July 23, 2010


Or you could be like me, the Guy Whose Typing Fingers Turn Into Sausages While Using The Internet.

Jesus... had days like that.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on July 23, 2010


Michael Caine's greatest film.
posted by Mister_A at 11:33 AM on July 23, 2010


I agree with his general sentiment (Hollywood lacks creativity and depends on already familiar properties rather than trying to create new ones because it's a more secure business model) but his examples are a bit too hand picked and some of them are just wrong. The Titanic example just seems random to me, there were LOTS of +$100M before Titanic and the cinema as (arguably empty) spectacle genre was well established before then (Ben Hur, 2001, Apocalypse Now, Close Encounters, Indian Jones, Return of the Jedi). His inclusion of literary adaptations as part of this trend is also way off base, do we see The Thin Man or The Godfather as lesser movies because they were adapted from novels? Shutter Island wasn't a great movie but it's not in the same league as the A-Team. The really big spectacle movie, Avatar, of the year was an original story and it was hugely successful.
I think that while we'd like to blame Hollywood's lack of creativity on a lack of direction and vision, the simple truth is that in a sketchy economy people with money are less willing to take chances. If anyone but Christopher Nolan was shopping around something like Inception, it would never get made and while Nolan was previously well known, he became a Big Hollywood Director by making reboot of Batman and it's sequel (the third highest grossing picture ever) The Dark Night. If you look at the top 20 top grossing movies , you'll notice there's more than a few sequels and stories imported from books or comics.
If you're in business to make money (and that's how it generally works), you won't give $100M to just anyone who seems like they might have a good idea, you give to people who have proven themselves. If your director and actors have a history of successful movies, great. If your storyline or characters have a good track record too, even better. It's not a great way to make art but it's a good way to make money.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2010


Anybody who has read Starship Troopers, let me give you a little reminder of how awesomely funny and cool the book is compared to Verhoeven's abomination.

"I'm a thirty second bomb! I'm a thirty second bomb! Twenty-nine!...Twenty--eight!...Twenty-seven!--
It was supposed to frazzle their nerves. Maybe it did; it certainly frazzled mine. Kinder to shoot a man. I didn't wait for the countdown; I jumped, while I wondered whether the would find enough doors and windows to swarm out of."


And that's only seventeen pages in. Man, that book is soooo fucking good.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Could you maybe throw a knife into my gut or neck and tell me to "stick ah-lound"?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:36 AM on July 23, 2010


Michael Caine's greatest film.

Yoy may be forgetting the majesty that is ... THE ISLAND.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:36 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Could you maybe throw a knife into my gut or neck and tell me to "stick ah-lound"?

That's Predator
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on July 23, 2010


Wow, The Independent's Man in LA really has his finger on the pulse, doesn't he?

You don`t know the half of it.

posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:42 AM on July 23, 2010


Work with me here! It's my death damnit!
posted by P.o.B. at 11:42 AM on July 23, 2010


I think they should do a Pac Man adaptation, but base it loosely on the old joke and have it be about a deranged, jaundiced guy, frantically running around the dark city streets, popping massive amounts of pills, listening to electronic music, and hunting and alternatively being hunted by ghosts.

Yeah.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:45 AM on July 23, 2010


Wait, this has to be the best Michael Caine movie. Or maybe it's this.
posted by octothorpe at 11:45 AM on July 23, 2010


I have nothing at risk. Junk like Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory only increases my appreciation of the original; it doesn't interfere with it.
Actually, the Burton movie was a much more faithful adaptation of the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory than 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It wasn't a remake.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:46 AM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got it! I want to die like Kilian did at the end of the Running Man book. THAT is the way to go out!

Spoilerffic ending!
posted by P.o.B. at 11:52 AM on July 23, 2010


Nobody complained when they remade Tarzan in New York as Beastmaster 2.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:53 AM on July 23, 2010


Do NOT talk bad about Beastmaster...2...? ...Carry on.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:55 AM on July 23, 2010


Hey! It had Wings Hauser. That makes everything okay.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:55 AM on July 23, 2010


True story: I lent my dear friend's eleven year old son The Hobbit. I didn't have any expectations, but I asked him later if he continued reading or if he wanted The Lord of the Rings trilogy or what? He responded that he stopped reading it because "it didn't go anywhere." I kept thinking wtf? That's all the book is about, going places.

I'm thinking I could just tell him he could just wait around for the movie.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:00 PM on July 23, 2010


How can you guys seriously contend that any Michael Caine movie is worse than The Hand?

Oh, that's right...
posted by Mister_A at 12:02 PM on July 23, 2010


Michael Cera will star in John Boorman's 3-D ZARDOZ remake.

Do NOT make me defend Zardoz again.

P.o.B., I can't speak for The Hobbit, but lots of people find Tolkien distressingly dull.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:06 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, that's right...

You forgot one.
posted by Tenuki at 12:10 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remakes are everywhere. Look at MeFi 2: MeTa. This Time It's Personal!
posted by jonmc at 12:10 PM on July 23, 2010


Talking of bad Caine and bad remakes... the remake of Sleuth was just horrible. Not helped by the fact I watched it the night after watching the pretty spiffy original version. Caine gives one his obviously bored, for the money performances, and Jude Law overacts like fuck. And the new plot twists are just terrible. I can see the point of doing it, like they often do in the theatre where an actor acclaimed for a younger role in a play revives it playing an older role but this was awful.

Also there's this crime against humanity*... I know Michael you like nice houses and restaurants and that, but oh dear oh dear

*Oh reputation... I point blank refuse to watch it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:14 PM on July 23, 2010


MeFi 3: AskMe. Are you talkin' to me?
posted by quin at 12:21 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel the same way about The Running Man by King.

oh, hell yes! If they follow the book it won't even be considered a remake since that hunk of shit starring Ahnold had pretty much nothing to do with the source material.
posted by mannequito at 12:25 PM on July 23, 2010


Release it in 2015 and have the guy go back to 1985, and using State-Of-The-Art computing power mix in scenes from the original Back to the Future.

Soundtrack by Bowling for Soup.

As someone who enjoyed the Spenser for Hire books and thought the TV show was meh, I'd really enjoy seeing a good movie franchise spring up around the character and stories. Maybe they could even find a way to make the Silverman character something less annoying.
posted by maxwelton at 12:27 PM on July 23, 2010


Michael Cera will star in John Boorman's 3-D ZARDOZ remake.

"I... Uh, I guess.." (nervous smile) "I guess the penis is good? Or bad?" (nervous hint of laughter) "I can never remember."

(quirky girl walks by in foreground)

(Cera shrugs)
posted by Greg Nog at 12:29 PM on July 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


I would love to see a Bay remake of Tootsie: I can just picture it, Tootsie walking in slow motion towards the camera, high heels kicking empty shell casing out of the way as the meth factory explodes behind him.
posted by quin at 1:29 PM on July 23 [1 favorite +] [!]
This is probably as close as you're gonna get
Do NOT make me defend Zardoz again.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:06 PM on July 23 [+] [!]
There's no need to. Only the Brutals wouldn't appreciate it. The DVD is actually right next to me on the couch...

THE GUN IS GOOD! THE PENIS IS EVIL BETTER!
posted by jtron at 12:29 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything sucks.

Nope. For instance, check out the Crowded House thread.
posted by elmono at 12:32 PM on July 23, 2010


Seeing people's reaction to new movies and products based on old franchises, I think I like things differently than others.

I LOVED Transformers. When I was six. My older sister says that once when she said my name I even corrected her, identifying myself as "Optimus Prime". I remember really liking Transformers, but to be honest, the strongest memory from the show was the one episode where Prime says "A booby trap for boobies." Again, I was six.

Long before Bay's 2007 film was even released, the internet was alive with the fires of nerdrage. How dare they change Prime from a flat front pickup! Why is Le Beef the focus of the film? Maybe they can imagine Ratchet as a Waaaah-mbulance.

Look guys, the Transformers cartoon sucked. YOU'VE GOT THE TOUCH notwithstanding, the movie, while markedly better, didn't age well either. Sorry.

Bay's Transformers was an impressive feat of visuals and action. I thought that the insistence on matching the robots to the physical size of the vehicles they are transforming into and from was an excellent touch, and I was more than happy to do away with all that "subspace" handwavium. I thought Shia El Boof did a good job (though Mike Nelson nailed it: "He's Giamatta-ing!"), and the complaints of the "true fans" about the human storyline, did you forget how prevalent Spike's friendship with Bumblebee was to the show? Spike was the human connection between man and machine, the protection of whom is sorta the entire fucking point of Optimus Prime's reason for hanging around.

Also, Ironhide does a fucking Rocket Jump.

Frankly I thought "Beast Wars" was a bigger insult to the franchise than Bay's film, but Alpha Trion forbid I say anything bad about THAT crap spin-off. Sheesh. Optimus Primal my ass, McBain.

Furthermore, after the movie came out, everyone was selling Transformers crap. While everyone was bitching about "Selling our childhood back to us omg" I was using the ample disposable income i did NOT have as a child to buy a fresh ass Decepticon track jacket. Being a grown up rules.

Again, maybe I just like things differently than others.

Finally, I thought The A-Team was an excellently made, entertaining action movie, and despite everything I said above, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen was pure garbage.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:36 PM on July 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


In a couple of months, Michael Cera will star in a new film which, judging by its worryingly awful trailer, is partly based on the video game Donkey Kong.

I swear to god, I thought that said 'Michael Caine.' It was an uneasy few moments.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:38 PM on July 23, 2010


I finally saw Crystal Skull and frankly I kind of liked it, better than Last Crusade at any rate.
posted by Bonzai at 12:45 PM on July 23, 2010


I always find people's nostalgia for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory interesting, because I had a different experience.

GENE WILDER
posted by shakespeherian at 12:47 PM on July 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


I finally saw Crystal Skull and frankly I kind of liked it, better than Last Crusade at any rate.

I look forward to the next installment in the series, Indiana Jones and the Hip Replacement Surgery.
posted by elizardbits at 12:49 PM on July 23, 2010


I quite enjoy the flood of terrible movies. With some exceptions (Pixar), I've largely turned my back on movies as a source of enjoyment. I know, the longer Hollywood remains in the crapper, the more people will join me, which will eventually upset the entire system of mechanized, moneymaking evil that rules theaters from top to bottom, that powers horrible copyright legislation, and that regularly pollutes the cultural mindscape of much more worthy books (and, increasingly, TV shows). Really, Hollywood can't die too quickly for me.
posted by JHarris at 12:56 PM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Perhaps we should not base our childhoods around intellectual properly franchises?

NOW you tell me!
posted by shmegegge at 1:02 PM on July 23, 2010


> judging by its worryingly awful trailer, is partly based on the video game Donkey Kong.

This thought seems unfinished. What was the awful part?
posted by jfuller at 1:04 PM on July 23, 2010


In a couple of months, Michael Cera will star in a new film which, judging by its worryingly awful trailer, is partly based on the video game Donkey Kong.

I swear to god, I thought that said 'Michael Caine.' It was an uneasy few moments.


If Bob Hoskins can play Mario, why not Michael Caine? Unless he's playing Donkey Kong. In which case I say keep Cera as Mario.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:08 PM on July 23, 2010


Bay's Transformers was an impressive feat of visuals and action.

This is very true. However, it suffered from too-much-zoom-ination... Any time the Transformers were fighting. It was really hard to tell wtf was going on in any of those fight scenes.

I didn't mind the first movie one bit, nor did I mind LeBoeuf. I just watched the sequel recently though, and found it EXCEEDINGLY hard to get through.
posted by antifuse at 1:09 PM on July 23, 2010


antifuse: "This is very true. However, it suffered from too-much-zoom-ination... Any time the Transformers were fighting. It was really hard to tell wtf was going on in any of those fight scenes."

It was restrained for Michael Bay, which is why it was the first time I've enjoyed one of his movies since The Rock. Revenge of the Fallen however was a return to form... irritating, incomprehensible "form."
posted by brundlefly at 1:18 PM on July 23, 2010


Where the Wild Things Are can hardly be called crap. I found it deeply moving and truly evocative of a troubled kid's worldview.

You're right. It's not crap. It's the worst piece of shit I've ever seen in my life. If I ever have the misfortune of meeting Spike Jonze, this "film" has earned him a facepunching despite al the other great films he has made.

They took a brilliant children's book and not only made it unwatchable for kids, they completely subverted the meaning of the book.

In the book, the boy finds an island where he can play and run wild without any restrictions or parental intereference. And yet, he still chooses to go home at the end.

In the movie, which loses all of the play and fun of the book, the boy doesn't choose to go home because he misses his family. He's running for his life before the furry Tony Soprano tears his fucking arms off.

The only thing I can compare it to would be making Toy Story 4 with the cast of the Sopranos who go around garroting all of the other toys.

Not to mention that this children's book was COMPLETELY unsuitable for kids. Wow, did it suck.
posted by cjets at 1:19 PM on July 23, 2010


If I ever have the misfortune of meeting Spike Jonze, this "film" has earned him a facepunching despite al the other great films he has made.

sure it will, internet tough guy.
posted by shmegegge at 1:21 PM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


cjets: "The only thing I can compare it to would be making Toy Story 4 with the cast of the Sopranos who go around garroting all of the other toys."

I'm sold.
posted by brundlefly at 1:21 PM on July 23, 2010


It's like someone made a movie verison of Fantastic Mr Fox and made it all about father issues.
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is very true. However, it suffered from too-much-zoom-ination... Any time the Transformers were fighting. It was really hard to tell wtf was going on in any of those fight scenes.

Part of this was do to the overly detailed design of the characters. You can barely make out a face in all the "tech" surrounding them.
posted by new brand day at 1:24 PM on July 23, 2010


Me, too! As far as I'm concerned, though, films that don't exist anymore (the '64 Caves of Steel was aired all of twice, and only a few minutes of it survived deletion by the BBC) don't quite count.

Damn.... I didn't know. :(

A modern remake, with proper CGI (and a minimum of annoying product placements) would be fantastic.
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on July 23, 2010


A remake of "Howard the Duck" is set for release next summer.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:33 PM on July 23, 2010


Anyone want to place bets on what year they actually make the movie about the killer robot driving instructor who goes back in time for some reason?

(I will also accept any movie where the best friend is a talking pie)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:38 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Part of this was do to the overly detailed design of the characters. You can barely make out a face in all the "tech" surrounding them.

Agreed. Everything just blurred together into lots of pointy bits of metal flying around. That was about the only thing that the sequel improved upon, though it was still not completely fixed.
posted by antifuse at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2010


A remake of "Howard the Duck" is set for release next summer.

I might go see that, but only if I can watch it as a double feature with Ishtar 2: Electric Boogaloo.
posted by gompa at 1:46 PM on July 23, 2010


Your memories are your own. Retreads of things that you have nostalgia for need not anger you in the slightest.

I think it's a little more complex than that.

Much of our joy of entertainment comes from sharing that joy with others. We love to talk about movies with friends and acquaintances, and that discussion and shared experience is conflated with love of the movie to create a deeper emotional connection to the story. The knee-jerk reaction to remakes of beloved stories--at least this is my theory--comes about because it means that millions of people will only know a significantly altered version of the story we love, and so the desire to connect through shared experience is thwarted. The sense that the long-shared narrative has been supplanted is disheartening, and the wish that those who are now enjoying the new narrative could have experienced your version *first* is, of course, impossible to fulfill.
posted by tzikeh at 1:50 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Part of this was do to the overly detailed design of the characters. You can barely make out a face in all the "tech" surrounding them.

That and the fact that Bay took a brightly-lit primary-colored cartoon and decided that the best way to translate it to CGI was to make every character a variation on slate grey, usually seen at night or under a cloudy sky. Then each fight scene (surrounded by slate grey buildings) takes the form of quick-cut handheld insta-zoom camerawork that renders the entire thing into an indecipherable grey blur. I mean, I'm sure the visual effects for those robot fight scenes cost a lot of money, and they could have gotten largely the same effect by pointing the camera straight at a sidewalk, half an inch from the surface, while riding a skateboard.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:51 PM on July 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I mentioned before that I was born the Friday before the debut of both "Captain Kangaroo" and "The Mickey Mouse Club" and I survived the '90s revival of "The Club", Britney and all. A new Captain might be another thing; Mister Green Jeans will inevitably be an environmentalist, Bunny Rabbit and Mister Moose will be CGI and the ping pong balls will be replaced by multi-colored ball-pit balls, but nobody alive can wear that coat-of-many-pockets.

Growing up, my favorite show was Rocky and Bullwinkle, but the Movie didn't break my heart. I knew it was impossible to recreate the feel of the serialized three-and-a-half minute episodes in a ninety minute film and there's been nobody in Hollywood since who could match Ward, Scott and the dream team of writers who went on to everything from "Laugh-In" to "Get Smart" to "Mary Tyler Moore", so I had no expectations. But it actually was moderately better than I had expected; yes, Robert DeNiro as Fearless Leader was ridiculous, but Rocky and Bullwinkle was built on ridiculous. And I already had seen the tragically obscure "Boris and Natasha", with Dave Thomas and Sally Kellerman and a bunch of near-perfect cameos (plus Andrea Martin as a human version of Rocky).

Maybe I was better prepared for seeing the images of beloved childhood icons desecrated, having lived through "Yogi's Ark Lark", the horrendous recycling of ALL of the Hanna Barbera characters who had competed with Bullwinkle, a mere ten years after the originals.

The "Flintstones", "Astro Boy" and "Get Smart" movies were sad victims of overthinking a 40-year-old can of beans (and "Bewitched" tried WAY too hard to add something new and creative), but we still have the originals, and that kind of thing might actually work for something like "My Mother the Car" (If anyone's interested, I have a pitch for it).
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:52 PM on July 23, 2010


"our most precious memories" were basically commercials for toys and action figures in the first place.

It's interesting that you include Star Wars as your example of this, because it was probably the last movie to NOT be a commercial for the toys. In fact, the sales numbers of Star Wars toys caught everyone off guard, and helped launch a booming market for movie-based toys.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:52 PM on July 23, 2010


yes, Robert DeNiro as Fearless Leader was ridiculous

Not to mention that they got him to say 'Are you talking to me?' in his Pottsylvanian accent.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:56 PM on July 23, 2010


Actually, the Burton movie was a much more faithful adaptation of the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory than 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It wasn't a remake.

Right, because Willy Wonka was childish and silly and his entire life and calling stemmed from weird issues with his dentist-father. THAT was certainly in the book.

Switching "geese" back to "squirrels" does not a more faithful adaptation make.
posted by audacity at 2:06 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


smoothvirus : I'm still waiting for the movie version of Ender's Game or The Mote in God's Eye.

Yeah, but M. Night Shyamalan would direct Ender's game, and it would suck.
posted by McSly at 2:06 PM on July 23, 2010


I'd be hoping for Pedro Almodóvar.
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on July 23, 2010


That would be sort of like Richard Dawkins directing a Narnia movie, no?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:16 PM on July 23, 2010


I'd be hoping for Pedro Almodóvar.

I'm a little wary. The Hable Con Ella action figures left a lot to be desired.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:18 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


That and the fact that Bay took a brightly-lit primary-colored cartoon and decided that the best way to translate it to CGI was to make every character a variation on slate grey, usually seen at night or under a cloudy sky

What are you talking about, the orange explosions every two seconds were a nice contrast!
posted by new brand day at 2:20 PM on July 23, 2010


A modern remake, with proper CGI (and a minimum of annoying product placements) would be fantastic.

Agreed. Duncan Jones, are you listening?

In the meantime, the BBC did a fantastic Caves of Steel radio drama in 1989 -- entirely true to the book, with (mostly) wonderful acting. I don't think it was ever officially released, but it should be floating around the internet somewhere... maybe here?
posted by vorfeed at 2:20 PM on July 23, 2010


M. Night Shyamalan should be relegated to the SyFy channel. But even he'd make mansquito boring.
posted by roganmedia at 2:28 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guess what: The original Wizard of Oz wasn't even a movie.

[sar]Well no shit? I'm so culturally illiterate I didn't know that[/sar]

It also was a stage play.

For good or for ill though more people have seen the movie than read the book/s. I have done both, and as much as I generally rag on movie adaptations of books the WoO movie was more enjoyable, even though the book had more incidents/details.

My point was that Burton is a major contributor to the re-make-a-thon and I wouldn't be shocked if he eventually took a stab at one more iconic movie, hell he produced "Lost in Oz" in 2000 so it's not even virgin territory for him.
posted by edgeways at 2:28 PM on July 23, 2010


It's interesting that you include Star Wars as your example of this, because it was probably the last movie to NOT be a commercial for the toys.

Yeah, that's kind of worth thinking about. I was alive when the first film came out, but too young to see it in theaters. The Empire Strikes Back is the first "grown-up" movie I saw in theaters. I had toys when I was a kid, but the first toy I remember someone giving me was a Luke Skywalker action figure (the X-Wing Pilot version). I was a toddler in any case, and the way I remember it, my dad came home from work and gave it to me. It's one of my earliest memories.

The point is, I was born in that sweet spot for manufacturers when the action figure market just took off, and I had lots of that stuff, from the popular (Star Wars, G.I. Joe and He-Man were my favorites, along with Transformers, Go-Bots and even one of the original Diakron toys) to the relatively obscure (Sectaurs, Crystar: The Crystal Warrior, Power Lords). Wanted them all, begged my folks for as many of them as I could, played with them, watched the cartoons, dragged my poor parents to the movies, and even then I was able to recognize that a lot of it was pretty stupid. So if Michael Bay or George Lucas or Joel Schumacher or Brett Rattner wants to do a He-Man reboot or a live action Gobots, they've got my blessing, because there isn't much to ruin except my fond memories of something that wasn't ever very great to begin with. Uwe Boll not doing a Challenge of the Gobots feature film isn't going to make the original Hanna Barbera cartoon into the second coming of Shakespeare, and most of my product-related "fondest memories" have very little to do with the characters or plots of their associated TV shows and a lot more to do with building forts or running around the backyard with my friends throwing little plastic robots at each other or whatever.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:37 PM on July 23, 2010


It was awesome: First impressions of the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on July 23, 2010


Cinematical liked it as well.
posted by brundlefly at 5:06 PM on July 23, 2010


I only know the A-Team through the Family Guy. I was aware of it when it was broadcast but never bothered to watch it. I can't say why, I can't recall.

I have no issue with remakes. I look at a script pretty much like a play, though of course they go and rewrite the script too (which, I believe is not uncommon for plays as well), nor sequels, if they are (re)written well, and well acted, produced, directed, etc.

Well produced in Hollywood seems to be a given, the sets are great, the wardrobe, the sound, etc. and so forth. But a commitment to editing, acting, the art of story telling in cinema can often be lacking. It is just these types of films that could, in theory, be remade and be better for it, or resurrecting old horrible television franchises. I seldom watch U.S. television shows these days (did watch the Wire though, which was superb) but I've taken a look at some shows from the 70s and 80s and many of them are exceedingly formulaic and poorly executed. Formula is in many great stories, the difference being some are better at telling the same old story than others. From what little I've seen of current U.S. television it's not any better.

I tend to watch British television, and I'm sure I'm getting the best of the best but the best of the best always respect their audience, regardless of the work is "original" or a remake. When a television serial or movie doesn't respect the audience it's usually terrible. Much has been mentioned of Tim Burton. His Planet of the Apes was apparently more "true" to the book but as a film it was horrible.

The history of cinema is littered with trying to build on success by obliterating the very elements that made it an initial and lasting success. Take Buster Keaton. Wildly successful movies. People loved them. MGM took him and refused to let him do things his way. Result? Failure. MGM were convinced the name was enough, and I believe this element is what the author is speaking of. It doesn't matter if it's a remake though or unoriginal.
posted by juiceCake at 6:05 PM on July 23, 2010


I'm a fan of the flawed but wrenching Where the Wild Things Are. Read that book again, and really pay attention to it--the monsters threaten to eat him up more than once. They're terrifying to behold, and can only be controlled temporarily. They are large and frightening and uncontrollable; reportedly they are based on Sendak's relatives, but more than that, the monsters represent the unvarnished and intense emotions that wash over children--new, frightening sensations that they can't control or anticipate.

The Spike Jonze movie extends this metaphor; the monsters are various emotions or feelings or modes, fighting within each of us, fighting to control our behavior, influencing our conscious selves. You might think it's a bit much, giving the kid a messed up home life, but after all, something has to happen to set him off on this flight of fancy. That part didn't bother me, even though it was a bit of a stock story.
posted by Mister_A at 6:27 PM on July 23, 2010


a WoW movie would be great if it was about people playing WoW

Remember the story about the Korean kids who hunted down another gamer in RL and beat him up? Crank it up a notch to where one clan is being hunted by another in RL. They slowly catch on and have to use WoW teamwork in RL to survive.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 6:30 PM on July 23, 2010


Mr. Havok, all that movie needs is

*deep breath*

LEEEEEROOOOY JEENKIIIINS
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:59 PM on July 23, 2010


They just remade I Spit On Your Grave.

I bet ya didn't see that one coming.
posted by cazoo at 8:00 PM on July 23, 2010


You know what really gets me? The Yellow Submarine remake. In 3D. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. "Seems to encompass everything that's wrong with remakes in general in one fell swoop."
posted by muckster at 8:11 PM on July 23, 2010


Cary Elwes as George Harrison?

*head explodes*
posted by mannequito at 10:00 PM on July 23, 2010


To be fair, the original Yellow Submarine didn't have the actual Beatles in it, either.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:49 PM on July 23, 2010


Jesus... had days like that.

Random Detroit Cop: What's bugging you, Artw?

Artw: KANE. Kane's bugging me.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:56 PM on July 23, 2010


"Yes please. I keep hearing rumours about an Ender's Game movie focusing mostly on the battle room, but still no sign of it.

"Also, I would love a Ringworld movie. And we need to bust out some more Heinlein into Hollywood, too."


Ender's game would make an awesome movie. But I bet it if made that it would be as true to the book as Starship Troopers90210 goes to War. A movie featuring as protagonist a little kid bullied, by everyone, into despair and greatness is unlikely to be made; it's too dark. The battles with the actual aliens are mostly of the blips on the screen variety. The interesting battles with the other teams involve tough to replicate zero or variable G.

"Have Space Suit, Will Travel is coming to theatres? OOOOOH BOY!"

This along with The Door into Summer are the two Heinlein books I most hope to see them make a decent movie out of. Here's hoping the current project doesn't turn into a flashy action movie and that they don't make Peewee older in order to set up a love interest.
posted by Mitheral at 1:02 AM on July 24, 2010


YOU PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! STARSHIP TROOPERS AND THE RUNNING MAN ARE PERFECT!

Both of these movies are f'ing awesome. However, remakes that more closely follow the books would also be f'ing awesome.

I was going to comment on Running Man, but P.o.B. posted first with the ending.
How would it be possible to film that nowadays?
Can you imagine the shitstorm it would create if they did it faithful to the book?

It would be awesome though.
posted by Iax at 1:21 AM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]



In a couple of months, Michael Cera will star in a new film which, judging by its worryingly awful trailer, is partly based on the video game Donkey Kong.


You know what video game really needs a movie? Tetris. Well known brand, huge fanbase, it's a sure hit!
posted by cosmic.osmo at 2:42 AM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, though, if the remaker is a big fan of the original,, the remake can be pretty damn great.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:36 AM on July 24, 2010


Comic-Con’s Eisner Awards Friday night, writer-producer Darren Dean announced that he is adapting Will Eisner’s graphic novel A Contract with God into an omnibus movie to be directed by four rising indie directors.

....which is just odd, frankly. I mean, it might kind of work if it becomes it's own thing, but Eisners always been as much about form as subjetc matter, and you move those stories to a different medium and all that is gone.
posted by Artw at 7:18 AM on July 24, 2010


I don't want to watch 45 minutes of people sitting around and planning an attack, even if they do run around sticking cryptic deelyboppers on their enemies' heads...
posted by Samizdata at 2:47 PM on July 24, 2010


Junk like Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory only increases my appreciation of the original; it doesn't interfere with it.

It was much better than the 1971 version which totally reinterpreted the book, and made everything silly and goofy instead of darkly comic. But of course the original is the best - read the book.
posted by mdn at 3:34 PM on July 24, 2010


mdn: "Junk like Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory only increases my appreciation of the original; it doesn't interfere with it.

It was much better than the 1971 version which totally reinterpreted the book, and made everything silly and goofy instead of darkly comic. But of course the original is the best - read the book.
"


Pistols at dawn, sir.

Burton's Wonka was directorial wankery on a grand scale. It couldn't carry Gene Wilder's snozzberry jockstrap.
posted by John Smallberries at 4:33 PM on July 24, 2010


It was much better than the 1971 version which totally reinterpreted the book, and made everything silly and goofy instead of darkly comic. But of course the original is the best - read the book.

Which book?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:38 PM on July 24, 2010


Ender's game would make an awesome movie. But I bet it if made that it would be as true to the book as Starship Troopers

ISTR that Card won't let anyone do anything to it without him having oodles of control over the script or plot.

Unfortunately, given the changes in Card's opinions since the 80s, that means that any movie that emerged would be primarily about the horrors of homosexuality and "Darwinism."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:19 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why movies suck is because we've let Hollywood see us as a spreadsheet, not as an audience.

Samizdata is no longer Samizdata, but is a white male, age 41-59, low income.

If we don't vote with our wallets, why should they care to give us quality?
posted by Samizdata at 4:34 AM on July 25, 2010


Len Wiseman Ready To Remake Total Recall

Fuck that.
posted by Artw at 3:37 PM on July 29, 2010


are you implying that Total Recall is actually a good movie that couldn't be improved on in about a thousand ways?
posted by philip-random at 9:57 AM on July 30, 2010


*prepares for the Verhooven-makes-satires-so-it's-okay-that-they-suck brigade*
posted by shakespeherian at 10:00 AM on July 30, 2010


People who don't dig Total Recall, you have my pity.
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on July 30, 2010


whut. Total Recall is hysterical and fun. If Total Recall is bad, then nothing is good in this world.
posted by shmegegge at 10:18 AM on July 30, 2010


Thanks for the pity, because I did have to sit through it in the theater the week it opened, and it was a trauma I still totally recall these many years later. A few key points:

1. I love Robocop and Starship Troopers, so I "get" that Verhoven is a satirist and when he nails it, he nails it good.

2. any movie featuring Arnold Schwarzenberger as anything but a cyborg is a going to be a waste of time. I suspected this going into Total Recall. It was confirmed many times over by the experience of watching the movie. Whatever sly satire may have been intended did not (could not) survive the lead actor's utter inability to convey humanity and/or wit.

3. so what you end up with is a darned fine (for the time) visual realization of a darned fine Philip K Dick fiction that had nowhere human (ie: relevant) to go, so it just ended up being a sloppy exercise in violence-porn ... with occasional cool special effects.

4. it's success at the time (and still now it seems) guarantees that Hollywood will continue to think of the sci-fi genre as an excuse for brainless exercises in things (and people) getting torn apart for no particular reason except to excite 14-year-old boys.

5. hence all the hate.
posted by philip-random at 10:18 AM on July 30, 2010


The universe has more than enough space for a well done reworked "Total Recall".
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on July 30, 2010


Yeah, that's likely to happen.
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on July 30, 2010


Burhanistan: "The universe has more than enough space for a well done reworked "Total Recall"."

Yea, but that's not what we'll get. Considering the batting average of remakes in the last twenty years, I'm betting that this one won't be "well done".
posted by octothorpe at 10:29 AM on July 30, 2010


Love them or loathe them, Total Recall and Robocop both have their own distinctive character, and that's why people are fans of them. That distinctive character will be the first thing to go.
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on July 30, 2010


oooooooooookay. there are a couple things to be aware of in terms of a total recall remake:

1. the original Dick story, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, bears no resemblance to the movie. Besides character names, the only thing from both stories that would sit in the overlap of their venn diagram is the technology of submerging and reawakening memories. that is it. the PKD story is one short really funny conversation about a guy being given alien technology and (iirc) if he ever actually knows he has it the aliens will come back to earth and destroy humanity. the conversation is the process of him remembering he has the technology and remembering what will soon happen because he remembers it.

2. That would not be a good movie.

3. Remaking Total Recall in a way that does not resemble the Verhoeven movie is not remaking Total Recall. It is making a totally different movie. Though Verhoeven and his writers were inspired by Dick's story, it's an original concept and story unto itself. To remake it so that it does not resemble itself is pointless. What would they do? Take out the violence? The Shlock? Then why remake Total Recall? Remake Ghosts of Mars or some other ostensibly serious movie that sucks so that you can do it better. Total Recall, even if you hate it, is what it is on purpose and it does what it was meant to do. It wasn't poorly made and didn't suffer from terrible mistakes in vision or execution (though if you hate Schwarzenegger in it, I can understand that).

Honestly, I think many of the people (on this site maybe, certainly elsewhere) who say "someone should remake that movie so it's more faithful to the story" haven't actually read the story. And people who just think someone should remake Total Recall don't get that there's nothing missing from total recall for a remake to put in. It works the way it was originally made. If you don't like it, you wouldn't like the remake anyway. If you do like it, you know the remake would not be better. A remake is just a bad idea.
posted by shmegegge at 10:35 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


2. any movie featuring Arnold Schwarzenberger as anything but a cyborg is a going to be a waste of time.

Have to disagree with you here. Kindergarten Cop was hilarious.
posted by zarq at 10:39 AM on July 30, 2010


Crom laughs at Kindergarden Cop. He laughs from his mountain!
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on July 30, 2010


The director's cut of "Kindergarten Cop" reveals that Kimball was in fact a cyborg.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:43 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


A cyborg with a tumor.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:43 AM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


IT'S NOT A TUMAH!
posted by zarq at 10:43 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jingle All the Way was a subversive critique of Indochinese trade relations.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:47 AM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


For those not familiar, this is the sequel to Robocop that was written by Frank Miller and directed by Irvin Kershner, who did Empire Strikes Back and it sucks TERRIBLY. Which is weird, because it’s basically about Robocop fighting a messianic drug lord who, upon capture, gets drafted into the Robocop 2 programme and gets his brain and spinal column put into a really cool killer robot. All the bits are there, but it drags.

My conclusions:

1) Cut out all the walking. There is a shitload of walking in this movie, and other padding that’s people just moving from scene to scene. Basically every dead second of the movie needs to be cut, and it might pick up some pace.
2) The mock TV stuff worked for Verhoven, but Kershner just doesn’t seem able to deliver, so drop as much of it as possible
3) Reinstate the original Robocop music. Hell, even the endless shots of Robocop just walking around would be cooler with that music.

That was you at least get to the cool fight at the end quicker, and enjoy getting there more.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on July 30, 2010


also, NO MORE PINK ROBOCOP!

i don't know what they were thinking, but that pink sheen off robocop's exoskeleton is completely distracting.

honestly, every time I try to defend robocop 2 to someone, I realize I am defending the 10 minutes where he's "nice" robocop thanking people for not smoking and getting taken advantage of by hooligan boy scouts while mangling cliche after school special lessons.
posted by shmegegge at 10:52 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"A rolling stone... is worth TWO in the bush."
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


MagnaVolt: Lethal Response
posted by zarq at 10:54 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


also, NO MORE PINK ROBOCOP!

If some magically CGI process could be used to do that then at the same time they should replace all the wimpy looking generic guns into ridiculously huge mean looking guns. I think they ran out of props budget there or something.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on July 30, 2010


honestly, every time I try to defend robocop 2 to someone, I realize I am defending the 10 minutes where he's "nice" robocop thanking people for not smoking and getting taken advantage of by hooligan boy scouts while mangling cliche after school special lessons.

Another bit I am unduely fond of is the various prototype Robocop 2's... especially the pull-helmet-off-and scream guy.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


If there's a remake of Robocop, I hope he still drives a Ford Taurus.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:07 AM on July 30, 2010


Iron Man 2 TOTALLY ripped that off, BTW...
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on July 30, 2010


Robocop 2 and Total Recall were both released the same summer (1990), maybe the same day. My memory tells me I saw them on consecutive days. I've already shared my feelings on Total Recall. Let's just say, Robocop 2 was the slam dunk for any hopes I may have had for big deal Hollywood sci-fi.
posted by philip-random at 11:12 AM on July 30, 2010


I'm also kind of a fan of the bit where the druglord/cult leader dude is all "Jesus had days like this" and moaning about how persecuted he is as his gang dismantles Robocop, though that scene, like many others, goes on waaaay too long.

Possibly that Mindphaser by Front Line Assembly samples the hell out of a lot of these bits influences me.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on July 30, 2010


I liked Elvis being in Robocop 2

I remember trying to get into the preview of Total Recall and it being totally sold out. That was a depressing ride home.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:12 PM on July 30, 2010


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