Remakes! The word has become dirty.
So much in fact that writers and directors do all they can to avoid saying it all together. Say it and you’ll get a dirty look from the person next to you. Go ahead. Try it. Instead the industry uses words like “Reboot,” or “Re-imagining,” to distance themselves from the train wrecks of the past. And we continue to go to our local cinemas, knowing what we’re in for, because we love these franchises and hold out hope that maybe….just maybe…they got this one right!
We’ve all been burned by countless bad remakes in our time! If only you could feel the despair I felt while sitting through Godzilla
(1998)! But I’m sure you’ve got your own scars to talk about! But fear not! For every 5 terrible “do overs,” we get a gem like Dredd
(2012). It’s proof that with talented people, these remakes can be worth it!
So in today’s day and age where franchises rule all and reboots are a dime a dozen, here’s a list of potential remakes that could lead to a profitable franchise.
These ARE the Remakes you’ve been looking for…..
The Last Starfighter (1984) is a classic Sci-Fi film from the 80’s. It follows our hero, Alex Rogan, who’s a high school kid, trapped by circumstance in his life as a trailer park handyman. But he’s a handyman with dreams! His sole outlet for letting off steam is the Starfighter arcade game, which he finally beats in front of a supportive cast of characters. For one night, he’s the hero…until he learns he was turned down for a college loan. Such is life, no?
Depressed and angry, Alex soon meets a mysterious stranger named Centauri, played by the great Robert Preston, who claims to be the inventor of the Starfighter video game. He offers him a ride in his futuristic car (that may or may not resemble a Delorean ) and before you can say stranger danger, he is whisked away into space, where he is recruited based on his gaming skills to defend the “frontier” from the evil Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada. What was once a fight for quarters and respect is now a fight to save the universe!
Famous for having 100% of its special effects digitally created, which was still new at the time, the movie did fairly well at the box office. Earning $28 million on an estimated budget of 15 million. Critic reviews were mixed. The film became a cult classic on home video, but never spawned a sequel….
I’ve been reading rumors of a Last Starfighter sequel/reboot/TV series for years, but it seems to be stuck in development hell. This franchise seems like a no brainer, now that video games are a multi-billion dollar industry. Set this in modern times with a grittier tone, replace the stand up arcade machine with a home console and wireless controller and you’ve got the makings of an epic Sci-Fi war film with potential for countless sequels. With the current state of competitive online gaming, this film will speak to the hearts of gamers everywhere. Cast Logan Lerman as Alex and Liam Neeson as Centauri and take my money…
Wolfgang Petersen’s The Neverending Story (1984) is another classic 80’s film that could potentially become a huge franchise if rebooted today. Based on the novel by German author, Michael Einde, the film told the story of Bastian, who is recovering from the death of his mother and is bullied by kids at school. While fleeing said bullies, Bastian takes refuge inside an old bookstore, where he discovers a magical book called….you guessed it….The NeverEnding Story. The store merchant discourages him, claiming the book to be dangerous, but curiosity leads Bastion to “borrow” the book despite the dire warnings. Soon our call to adventure takes us to the land of Fantasia, that’s destined for destruction unless a hero named Atreyu can help save the princess, with a little help from our friend Bastian. Reality and fiction become mixed, I mean it is a magical book after all…Oh and there’s a flying dragon dog. You know…no bid deal.
Though Michael Ende, the author of the book, hated the movie, Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. The author’s main contention was how much the film changed from the book. It was simply not his vision. The film was a success at the box office, pulling in 100 million, thus prompting 2 lesser sequels that are better left unspoken.
Here’s another film from 1984 begging for a “re-imagining.” With a hole left by Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen
and the success of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and its inferior prequel films, The Hobbit: Trilogy, the world is ready for more fantasy adventures. Stick closer to the source material and concentrate on building a glorious Fantasia world that rivals Middle Earth and the teens and tweens will follow with cash in hand. Cast some likeable young teens and you’ll have a franchise worth a trilogy or more. Just keep that dragon dog…it’s money in the bank!
Yes, I said it…. Jaws (1975) Now before you try and track me down to turn me into chum, hear me out. Jaws is my favorite movie of all time. I’ve watched it hundreds of times and consider it to be a perfect film. It actually makes bile climb the back of my throat even suggesting a remake, but I feel it could be done….and it could be awesome!
Based on the novel by Peter Benchley, Jaws tells the story of a summer on Amity Island. Newly appointed Sheriff Brody, played by Roy Scheider, battles a man-eating great white shark and ignorant local Mayor hell bent on keeping the beaches open. Joined by shark expert Matt Hooper, played with a boyish charm by Richard Dreyfuss and local hard drinking, shark killin’ Quint, played to perfection by Robert Shaw, the trio set out on the high seas to track and kill this great white shark. There’s not much else to say about Jaws that hasn’t already been said. If you haven’t seen this film, stop what you are doing, feel ashamed and then track this flick down immediately.
The release of Jaws changed motion picture history and helped coin the term, “summer blockbuster.” At the time of it’s release, it over took The Godfather as the highest grossing film in North America until a little film called Star Wars: Episode IV stole its thunder two years later. The film would forever ruin swimming in open water for millions worldwide. It led to 3 inferior sequels, each declining in quality as the years went on.
How do you remake one of the best films ever made? The answer is….YOU DON’T!! I think in this case we need to go with the “re-imagine” idea. The perfect sequel…or prequel if you will, has been staring us in the face since 1975. The story was hauntingly told by Quint, while the trio shared a calm moment of reflection aboard the Orca while hunting the great white shark. It goes down as Robert Shaw’s greatest performance and one of the best monologues ever written for film. It’s the story of the USS Indianapolis. The ship sank after delivering parts for the atomic bomb in World War II, leading to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. 1,196 crewmen were aboard at the time of the sinking. 900 went into the sea. Only 317 survived the shark-infested waters. How has this epic story never been told? Rumors of this film have circulated for years, but no concrete plans have ever been made. Such a shame, as this could be an epic Oscar contender, worthy of the Jaws name.
So there you have it folks! What other films do you feel should be re-visited? Leave your comments below!
The Geek Abides!