As a child of the ’80s it pains me to witness the blatant raping of nostalgia and the malicious expunging of happy memories that results from remaking the classics. Whether it’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (Betting Warner now regret not bringing back Robert Englund and doing that prequel movie) or “The Pink Panther” redone or “The Mechanic” retooled as a Jason Statham vehicle, most of these money-grabbing remakes evoke nothing but tears. Sadly, they’ve all sold tickets. And while they continue to do so, we’re going to see more and more of these things (at least until the end of the year when the world ceases to exist) and less and less of these things.
I guess there’s a point to remaking older movies – a lot of today’s generation probably haven’t seen such classics as “Escape from New York”, “Poltergeist” or “Death Wish” so the studios may think they’re doing younger cinemagoers a favour by introducing them to characters and stories that worked on audiences first-time around.
There’s a great moment in “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas” where, while at a house party, our heroes encounter a pre-teen beer-pong player who likes to talk tough. One of the ways the youngster thinks to achieve the don’t-fuck-with-me reputation is to recite lines from ”The Karate Kid”.
Of course, here’s not referring to the Karate Kid that we know and love. Being only, like, eleven or twelve this kid is referring to the recent remake – - with Will Smith’s kid as the Larusso proxy.
“There is only one Karate Kid starring Jackie Chan and my boy Jaden Smith!”, the youngster mouths-off.
That perfectly shows the ignorance of youth today, but I guess it’s also speaking truths : To that generation, the Jaden Smith ‘Karate Kid’ is the only ‘Karate Kid’.
(But if a kid ever comes up to me and says “Jackie Earle Haley is the only Freddy Krueger” I might just stab him with his own nose accessory!).
Still, wouldn’t it be a better idea – and I know some Hollywood studios are clicking with this idea – to re-issue some of the original films, instead of remaking them? There’s a fair chance the remake is going to be an inferior, lesser effort – so why not just spent the money on putting some elbow-grease into some of those old 35mm prints and digitize them?
I know “Back to the Future” has returned to cinemas in parts of the world, and it’s done great, and “Ghostbusters” also did quite well when it was re-issued last year. And of course “Top Gun” is coming back to cinemas (albeit in 3D), “Jurassic Park” (again, a 3D version) too, and “Grease” is always on and off the screens (most recently, a ‘sing-a-long’ version was in the multiplexes).
But I say go one step further, bring back all the classics from the ’70s and ’80s like “The Last Starfighter”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “The Goonies”, “Gremlins”, “Total Recall”, “First Blood”, “Goodfellas”, “Romancing the Stone”, “The Lost Boys”, “Predator”, “Starman”, “Close Encounters”…. you get my drift.
Good idea I think. Not going to happen – - not soon, anyway.
As I said, until people stop flocking to see half-cooked remakes of classics like “Prom Night” and “The Pink Panther”, it’s going to continue. Thankfully, audiences do seem to be slowly waking up to the fact that these remakes are usually slop – check out the takings for recent releases like “Conan the Barbarian”, “Fright Night”, “Arthur” and “Friday the 13th”. Ouch!. Good to see studios failing to put bums on seats with a few of these; the prospective avoidance of the remake may path the way to more original, exciting product… or re-issues of the originals. But the winds of changes aren’t going to blow just yet.
We hadn’t heard much of the “Short Circuit” remake that Dimension were planning to do and first announced a year or two back. Until today. I was actually hoping it just quietly dissolved. No such luck.
The remake of one of 1985′s funnest films – and one that gave us one of the ’80s most recognizable and iconic characters, No. Johnny 5 – is indeed still in the works. It’ll have the robot in it, but obviously Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy and director John Badham won’t be at the premiere.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Matt Lieberman has been hired to write the film. His only credit? “Doctor Dolittle : Tail to the Chief”.
Yep, we are in for a treat.
Bob Weinstein likens the property to his “Spy Kids” series – - and with “Alvin and the Chipmunks” director Tim Hill helming, and the “Dolittle” guy on scripting duties, it’s clear he’s only thinking of the eight-year-old’s here (whereas the original film appealed to all audiences). They eat the most popcorn, after all.
“Dimension has had great success with the Spy Kids family series which grossed over $500 million worldwide,” Weinstein said. “We are looking for Short Circuit to be our next family franchise.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and say the remake makes “Short Circuit 2″ – regarded as one of the poorest sequels of all time (when Steve Guttenberg refuses to do a movie, it must be bad) – look like “The French Connection II”.
And for you kids out there who are thinking my diatribe will scare off remake makers… fear not, nobody’s listening, and even if they were you’ve already got “RoboCop”, “Dirty Dancing”, “Point Break”, “Total Recall”, “Child’s Play”, “Death Wish”, “Spies Like Us”, “Vacation”, “Highlander”, “Evil Dead”, “The Crow”, “Excalibur”, “Police Academy”, “The Warriors”, “Scarface”, “An American Werewolf in London”, “Angel Heart”, “Children of the Corn”, “Flatliners”, “Maniac”, “Monster Squad”, “Pet Sematary”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Suspiria” and “Lethal Weapon”, to name but a few redo’s, still on the way.
And for the rest of us, it’s good to know, thanks to the internet, that we’ll always have this…
all together now! “Who’s Johnny, she said…..”