Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Do I Just Hate Reboots & Remakes?

You know, it really sucks when you have a system that just makes you spend nearly an entire day in the bathroom. Seriously, my ass feels like it just got off the set of a gay porn. But it is helpful, in a way, as it puts me in a good mindset to talk about bad movies. And when talking about bad movies, you will find that many of the ones talked about are remakes or reboots of popular older films. Seeing how an idol of mine who had a distaste towards a remake of his work just died, the idea of covering that particular film has been on my mind. For today though, let's cover a question I've gotten a lot from different people: do I simply hate remakes because they're remakes?

Because, yeah, I have no reason to hate certain movies outside of them being remakes, right?

Yes, in my quest to put together a nice Q&A video, I've gotten a fair amount of repeat questions and this one has to be the biggest one that gets asked. While I could still address it in said video, I decided it needed more of a focus. To give a simple answer, no. I do not hate any movie based on whether it is a remake or reboot of anything. Did everyone miss my Robocop review where I admitted to actually enjoying that movie despite its flaws? Seriously, there are some remakes that are actually good, folks. I know that's hard to hear, but it's true. The now classic Little Shop of Horrors starring Rick Moranis is a remake, John Carpenter's the Thing is possibly one of the best sci-fi/horror mash-ups in film history with practical effects that still astound me to this day, and one of my favourite foreign films ever, Takashi Miike's13 Assassins, is actually a remake of a 1963 film by Eiichi Kudo.


I don't want to imagine a world without creepy eyebrow-less lady here.
Sometimes it can even be said that a remake or reboot is actually a better film than the original it is following. In my opinion, the 2010 True Grit is a far better film than the 1969 film. Put away your pitchforks and let me talk here. I know everyone worships at the John Wayne temple, but let's be real here: Jeff Bridges did it better. Besides, I think Wayne wasn't even acting through most of that movie, instead choosing to actually be drunk in his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn. But then we have the obvious other thing to note, which is that sometimes a remake isn't a remake exactly. The 2010 True Grit wasn't based on the 1969 film, but instead was based on the same book that film was, even staying more true to it from what I hear. I haven't read the book, so I can't really say. But yeah, that technically makes whether it can be considered a remake kinda iffy, doesn't it?

About as iffy as whether or not Wayne vomited on that kid before downing another shot of Wild Turkey.
It's the case with some other movies too, like 2013's Evil Dead or Fant4stic. One actually follows similar themes to the original film, but introduces new characters and leaves you guessing as to the final outcome. Evil Dead could've easily just been a complete rehash of the first film, but it plays out more like a side-story to Ash's own chronicles, showing another unfortunate group falling prey to Deadites in the woods. Then we have Fant4stic, which isn't a remake but was purported a reboot of the film series. The problem is that the final result felt nothing at all like the source material, which left many wondering why Josh Trank didn't just make a sci-fi horror film instead, because that's clearly what he wanted.

Or maybe I'm wrong and he really just wanted to see Kate Mara in a skintight suit with a bad wig on.
But yeah, in an of themselves, remakes and reboots don't have to be bad. They can be really good and interesting takes on a classic story. They can feature better effects, better acting, a stronger plot, there are so many things that can be done right in a remake. But the major issue is this: more often than not, none of those things are actually done. For every good idea, there's a whole stack of bad ones usually stacked upon it. I love Wes Craven. The man was one of my favourite directors and a massive fixture of my childhood, creating a villain who I was so enamoured with as a child that I actually dreamed about playing with him in my yard. Yeah, I'm the guy who played with Freddy Krueger in his dreams. Shut up, it's not that weird. Quit judging me.

"Yeah, I'm a real nice guy! You can trust me with your kids!"
But, as much as I love Wes and his work, he gave us a very questionable reboot all his own. Luckily though, he only produced it, so he dodged a bullet there. Truthfully though, I actually liked the concept of the film and I will give it credit for trying to put a new spin on the Dracula story that hasn't been done a million times by other people. At the very least I can say it was a smarter and more entertaining film than that other Dracula film I talked about once with Coolio in it. I still don't know what the hell that was.

"I hated that review!! Clearly you didn't understand the subtle nuances of the film!"
The truth is that adapting anything originally done by someone else in a new form is a tricky thing. It can give us something great like that delightful asshole Chuck in Dawn of the Dead or it can give us...Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka. Thus proving that even a great director can really bugger up the final execution. And no, I'm not saying the Dawn of the Dead remake is a great movie. I'm just saying that it had some great characters in it, like Chuck. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wasn't a great movie either and I found myself in no way attached to any of the characters, most likely due to there being no new ground covered there. DOTD at least gave us something new while being different. In my opinion, if you're going to bother with a remake then you should try not and make it a straight shot-for-shot one. That's been done and it generally always turns out worse than bad...because it's boring.

Don't give me that look. Go make a Hit-Girl movie before people stop caring about that franchise.
Sure, there are remakes that tried to be different and were horrible, but at least they tried. The problem will always be trying to be different while still staying true to the source material. It's a struggle that I would imagine is quite the task to undertake, but it can be done well. If people can take characters and concepts from myths, legends, and fairy tales only to give new fresh twists on them that are fun and entertaining, then good remakes can be done too. It's not impossible and simply requires work and creativity. Personally, I don't start off hating the very idea of a movie remake or reboot anymore than I do with a comic or video game remake or reboot. I gave DC Comics' New 52 a chance before I found most of it to be rather uninteresting. I went into last year's TMNT movie hoping that maybe the plot would pull me in and that the Turtles would shine through in their characterizations so I could enjoy it, but it let me down. Now I see the pictures of Bebop, Rocksteady, and Casey Jones for the sequel...and I feel a pang of hope again. I'm not holding my breath on it being great, mind you, but I hope it can be saved.

I also hope the wooden wonder gets replaced, because I'd like to actually care about April at some point in the film.
So, no to repeat myself, but to answer the initial question: no, I don't hate remakes because they're remakes. I hate genuinely unentertaining bad movies that just happen to be remakes. Especially when they cast talented actors and do fuck-all with them. I hope that satisfies you all and clears up any misconceptions about my opinion regarding the idea and execution of remakes/reboots. Now I am going to go veg out and try to prepare for Friday when I will be talking about a remake that I really loathe. Later days, bleeders!

Please, Michael Bay, just let me have this. Please.

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