I posted a thing on my dumb Tumblr thing about how awful the Stallone Judge Dredd movie was, and a lot of people asked me if I’d seen the 2012 Dredd with Karl Urban. I hadn’t, and didn’t intend to, for reasons that will become clear shortly. So many people recommended it to me, though, and it had such a great group of creative people behind it, I gave it a chance … and I loved it. Here’s what I wrote about it this morning:
I hate reboot culture. I hate that studios remake movies that were perfectly fine the first time around, simply because they’re too afraid to take a chance on something new, different and unproven.
That said, in an instance like Dredd, where the original film adaptation was a catastrophic failure of flaming shit, I should be willing to make exceptions.
I should be, but I’m usually not, because I’m stubborn. So when I posted about how I didn’t want to watch the 2012 version of the film, about two dozen people urged me to reconsider. I decided to take a chance (you know, like studios won’t), and watched it last night. I am so glad that I did, because I loved everything about it. A lot of fans fixate on Dredd never taking off the helmet, which I understand, but I don’t think that’s its strongest selling point. What I loved about it was how it felt like a proper motion picture adaptation of the 2000 A.D comics I read in the 80s, and the Games Workshop games I played from that universe. The city blocks felt massive. The Judges felt powerful. The relationship between Dredd and Anderson felt real. She didn’t need him to save her, even when he was trying to. The design of the entire picture, from the costumes to the sets to the little details like graffiti was pitch-perfect. And the photography was sensational.
I felt like it started to wobble a little bit in the third act, but like I originally wrote yesterday, I was on board by that point so I was willing to go along with it and let it be. I’m guessing that there won’t be any sequels, or we would have heard about it by now. If that’s the case, it’s a bummer, because I’d like to see these characters and this universe again … but maybe it’s for the best that this film can simply exist as its own thing, without being tainted by a sequel that lets us down (OH HAI THE MATRIX). Or maybe it’s a tragedy that Dredd won’t get its Aliens or T2. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.
So now I’m thinking about other movies that missed the point of their source material (Running Man and The Shining come to mind, though they stand on their own in their own glorious ways), and trying to figure out what other pictures I’d remake, if I could pass a universal law that requires two new movies be made for every remake, because I am a powerful, tyrannical king.
Following these rules, what would you remake, and why? Show your work.
197 thoughts on “Remake Culture is the Worst (except when it isn’t)”
Eragon, the book was amazing. The movie, however was a streaming pile of mangled mess
I haven’t read the comments so I’m not sure if anyone else has said this or not so I’m just throwing it out there. The “Star Wars” prequels SHOULD have been great but they had terrible dialogue, stilted acting due to it, and some bad casting choices. But the story, if fleshed out more cohesively with better dialogue, is worth telling and deserves a top notch movie. Let’s get that done.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
There was actually a “parody/remake” called The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, but I’d like to see if you could do some sort of modern version of a western like that. It would be interesting to see if you could shoot something with western-like cinematography in a city or suburbs area in 19th – 20th century time period, but still have the spaghetti western feel.
I would tackle F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep since the Michael Mann film is such a mess and lacks the menace of the novel.
Not a chance, but a monkey can dream: stage Lord of the Rings, rather than making a Hollywood fantasy hack-n-slash inspired by it.
I have two suggestions here.
1) The Black Hole. TBH is a weird movie with some really incredible memorable elements but it definitely feels like no one involved was exactly sure what they were making. (Except whoever designed Maxmilian. That person earned their paycheck.) It’s not a good movie, but I think there’s the core of a good story there. I think a talented writer could tease a much better film out of it.
2) The Harry Potter Series. (WHAT?!) It’s not that I think the existing films are bad (mostly), but simply by the nature of being feature films they had to cut a lot from the books. There were a number of deeper themes about love and hate and bigotry and equality and justice and power and temptation that really deserve to be told. I’d love to see WB (who I assume still owns the rights) to give this the Game of Thrones treatment some day and remake it as a TV series where over 13 episodes they could expand the story and deal with the social issues Rowling delved into in her novels.
Please – no more Harry Potter. The themes you mentioned in the HP novels are very superficially dealt with – there is just not enough content there to support any remakes without rewriting the story of the novels. I’d be ok with that, but it wouldn’t be a re-adaptation of the books.
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