Friday, July 08, 2005

Here's An Idea For Hollywood

So Jill and I went to see Fantastic Four tonight, and on the way to Mankato, I started thinking about the offerings from Hollywood for this summer. And I know that people have said this before, but why is Hollywood offering us so many remakes and retreads? Just about every movie this summer seems to be a remake of something else. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Dukes of Hazzard, Bewitched, War of the Worlds , The Longest Yard, King Kong (which, I know, comes out in December, but it's still a remake), the list could go on and on and on....

Which makes me wonder. Why on earth would Hollywood keep remaking successful and/or critically acclaimed movies? I know, I know, it's the money and it's really easy to do (I mean, all the heavy lifting like story and plot are out of the way), but it seems to be an awful risk.

I mean, take a look at the flack that Tim Burton's gotten for Charlie. There are those die hard fans of the old film who will probably hate the remake or revisioning or whatever you want to call it. People are crying bloody murder because they're so worried that Burton is going to destroy a classic film, which is always a danger when you tackle any remake.

And really, remaking a successful film is a lose/lose proposition. At least, it seems like it would be to me. First of all, you have to fight to get the rights to the original movie. You have to beg and plead with whoever owns it just to get a crack at it. Then you have to dodge all the critical bullets that will fly your way while you're filming.

Worse, if your remake is a success, I don't think people really give you that much credit. After all, you just built on the shoulders of giants. It wasn't your success, it was because the story was too big or too powerful for you to screw up. And if your remake flops, well then, you're just a double loser because you couldn't succeed where someone else did.

That's why I think Hollywood is going about things all wrong when it comes to remakes. Why remake the classics? Why spend the money to redo something that people love and cherish? (George Lucas, I'm talking to you too!) Why not go out on a limb and, say, redo a flop?

I'm serious! Why not remake the movies that were just horrible to begin with? Instead of remaking Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, why doesn't Tim Burton try to fix Plan 9 From Outer Space ? Instead of redoing a classic, why not try to make the plot of Manos: The Hands of Fate make sense? I mean, Hollywood produces a lot more flops than they do hits each year. Why don't filmmakers try to go back and fix the old flops? If they need a list, they could just buy an episode guide for Mystery Science Theater 3000. That should give you plenty of material to work with. Hundreds of movies, and none of them with any merit whatsoever.

Think about it. Unlike remaking a classic, critically and/or fan acclaimed movie, remaking a dud is a win/win proposition. If your remake is a hit, you get to bask in the adulations of the fans and you'll look like a genius because you were able to make a cinematic turd shine like gold. And if your remake flops, you can just point out that the story sucked the first time around and so it's really not your fault.

Don't believe me? I think someone in Hollywood has already tried this. I keep seeing the trailers for that cloning nightmare movie, The Island, and I have to say, it looks really, really familiar. Maybe because in 1979, some guy made a movie called Parts: The Clonus Horror, about a group of clones that live in an isolated area, kept on hand in case their parts are needed in the real world. If they need to be harvested, they're told they're going to some sort of paradise. Only one of the clones escapes, yada yada yada. Sound familiar now? Someone is trying to do a dud remake. I hope they succeed. I really do.

Hollywood could learn a lesson. C'mon, guys and gals, get with it! Ishtar awaits! Roger Corman's many lousy endeavors need salvaging! Stop taking the easy road, and tackle something challenging.

Just one request from the peanut gallery. Don't mess with Gigli. Some things are just better left dead.


Jamison said...

Another successful remake of a "sort of flop" was Little Shop of Horrors. Frank Oz did a great job taking that old B&W film and really making something with it.

Judy/Decorgal said...

I think Hollywood is all about doing what will "safely" make money, regardless of whether a movie should be remade or not. Creativity and originality is definitely not the norm. It's funny how you mentioned remaking flops- I've heard critics say the same thing.