Monday, February 9, 2009

THE DOUGLAS WALTZ RULE OF REMAKES



I am not a fan of remakes. When I see PG-13 rated drivel like PROM NIGHT or BLACK CHRISTMAS, I have to ask myself why? These are films that still work. They don't need a re imagining. My steadfast rule is that if it was a work of fiction, or fact, if you like in the written word, then it cannot be a remake. Each one of the films based on this written word are, in fact, adaptations. You get good ones like the 1953 version of WAR OF THE WORLDS compared with the horrific Spielberg/Cruise adaptation many years later. I saw it and wished that I didn't.
Another offender is the 'we only used the name' remake. DAWN OF THE DEAD is a good example. Now director Zack Snyder redeemed himself with 300 and looks to be doing more of the same with the upcoming WATCHMEN flick, but his foray into sacred zombie territory was a bad idea. DAWN OF THE DEAD stands as the perfection that it is. Changing a bunch of the facts around and making another film that would have been better if they had no tried to ride on the coattails of a classic is a no no.
I get a lot of flack from people who say that my viewpoint seems a little narrow, but you know what? That's their opinion.
To help drive my point home let's look at MY BLOODY VALENTINE.
This is a film that still works to this day because of how it was made and the fact that the events of the film take place in a small, insulated mining town. Did not need a remake. Maybe the producers knew this and decided to do two things differently. First, they went with a hard R rating, something that a lot of the horror remakes tend to avoid like the plague. Second, they employed a gimmick, in this case, 3D. And not shitty, second run 3D from the '80s. This is cutting edge 3D. This is the reason to see this movie. It will not play well at home on a smaller screen. I think that the DVD sales for this thing are going to be abysmal, but they have re released the original film in a director's cut so they will make their bank off of that.
The remake pales in comparison to the original. I can vividly remember most of the original film and I haven't seen it since it was released on VHS forever ago. It is what it is, makes no apologies for it and tells an interesting story in the process. The remake does none of this and comes across as shallow.
So, in the end. Here are the rules;
If the film is based on some form of literature whether it be a book, short story, magazine article, comic book or the ingredients on the side of a box of pop tarts then it is an adaptation. Make as many of those as you want because this is a case of another media showing it's version of what it read.
If the film was a film in origin, then leave the damned thing alone. We don't need remakes of films that we watched when we were younger. We still have those movies and they are readily available to rent or purchase.
So, Hollywood, go make something original or adapt something already conceived. We don't want your remakes.
Even 3D won't save those things.

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