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Remake Responses

Friday 18 January 2013, 15:16

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

I recently asked you whether all remakes, reboots, re-imaginings etc were rubbish? You responded in force - here I pick out some of your comments.


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Kermode Blog: Are remakes always rubbish?


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    Comment number 1.

    Mark - I see you're still stuck in that car park - I know that kind of carpark...

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    Comment number 2.

    Heat is a superior remake of LA Story. Caine's remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

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    Comment number 3.

    Gus Van Sant's response to a question on why he remade Psycho: "So that no one else would." However Danny Elfman's retooling of the score is really good.

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    Comment number 4.

    I love Keanu, but that impression was laugh-out-loud funny and frighteningly accurate!

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    Comment number 5.

    3:10 to Yuma a better remake? Holy crazy people... I saw the remake and then the original. Mangold's version was forever tripping over the incompatibility of frontierist plot and liberal sentimentalism. Consequently, it made no sense, it may have looked good, but the motivating force behind the actions of the characters lacked credibility. Daves' version did not suffer from this.

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    Comment number 6.

    Not sure how Mark Kermode can say that the English-speaking remake of Funny Games ruined the film, when he admits it's effectively a shot-for-shot remake. Maybe pointless would be more an accurate point, but not ruined. Now, the film that he was originally referring to, The Vanishing, was certainly ruined in its remake, but then that wasn't exactly a shot-for-shot remake.

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    Comment number 7.

    Replying to myself...

    "The Vanishing, was certainly ruined in its remake"

    Umm... I really mean that the remake was ruined, not the original. Naturally, the original is still there to watch in all its glory... thankfully.

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    Comment number 8.

    Remakes may work if someone took a chance and remade a film that was really not very good, the first time around. Let's have Lars Von Trier tackle 'The Hottie And The Nottie', splicing an image obsessed teen movie with Antichrist. Or Ben Wheatley Anglicising 'Law Abiding Citizen' as a grittier Harry Brown.
    Take chances, instead of sullying iconic names in pursuit of the quick buck.

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    Comment number 9.

    Two points. Firstly the unending remakes of the "classics" (in inverted commas because generally they are all written by one of two 18th / 19th centurry authurs and in the case of the female are all terrible), it is like some Hollywood committee somewhere just sits there and says "mmmm we have not had a guarenteed money earner fo ages, how many out of work brits do we have on the books? lets make anyother pride and sensibility" The only exception to this is where someone has the nerve to do something new (Bride and Predujuice for example, not a great film but a hell of a lot better than the usual nonsense.

    Secondly, the whole world goes to the cinema to see how other parts of the world are, react or think. Except for the us. If there is any sort of film that is worth its salt that hasnt been made in america, and certainly if its not in English, you can guarentee the yanks will ruin it by remaking it. The prosecution offers "The girl with the dragon tattoo" and "The Italian Job" as evidence t

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    Comment number 10.

    So now we know who to blame for wicker man. kermode. oh oh not the bees,

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    Comment number 11.

    The truth behind the Psycho remake by Gus Van Sant is....
    He was working on a remake of John Frankenheimer's little seen masterpiece "Seconds" and the studio wanted to change the ending (if you've seen the film.... it's just say a tad bleak). He eventually left the project and luckily it has never been made. Universal had been asking him to do a remake for them and he kept pitching "Psycho" (but in colour but don't change script or shots and he was partly joking) but they kept turning it down. When he was up for oscars with "Good Will Hunting" he pitched it during oscar week, they did a 180 degree turn and thought the idea was brilliant and green-lighted the film. In short, it was a big joke by Gus Van Sant on the idea of remaking a classic film but sadly it went beyond the joking phase.

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    Comment number 12.

    I knew I'd enjoy this blog episode.

    I have to see the latest Solaris. Natasha McEl* was a strong casting choice: She has "can't look-away" eyes for eg. But George Clooney just looks to smug/swagger. The great thing about the Russian version is the despair, depression and melancholy maudlin of the Russian language and way of thinking and feeling imo! Again the female lead was well cast, to melt that icy Russian heart! Their ideas about themselves was again set in that filter: "Spending those long Winters coming up with new aphorisms". (attrib. Haruki Murakami). I'd be interested to see if the English version works at breaking down the humans and establishing our understanding of alien really means "alien".

    The Italian Job works for me because of the time period it's set: It has that vibe to it. What was the new version bringing to the table? The noughties vibe?

    Too many remakes are churned out to fill the numbers: Disrespectful to the audiences.

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    Comment number 13.

    The recent The Thing film was a prequel not a remake.

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    Comment number 14.

    Total Recall.
    Get Carter.
    The Italian Job.
    etc. etc.

    Reboots of nothing but superficial nonsense and hardly any depth to the characters...

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    Comment number 15.

    OK, we’ve had this thread a couple of times now. What have we learnt? Some remakes can be ground breaking cinema. Some can be pointless pants.

    Everyone likes Carpenter’s The Thing.

    That each generation likes their reboot of a popular franchise (Batman, Bond etc) whilst admitting there are merits to previous generation’s versions.

    That many are pointless cash ins, without any merit. Ce la vie. It’s a bit like sequels.

    Some are great (Godfather 2, Empire Strikes Back, From Russia With Love); others dreadful/pointless cash ins (Godfather 3, Raging Bull 2 [yes, really]).

    As for Batman; Burton vs Nolan? Both have merits: Batman Returns v.s Dark Knight?
    Only one Batman movie from each director is a classic, but each also has its faults…

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    Comment number 16.

    Curious to find if there were any changes in favourites (Thing, Fly etc) and hates (Psycho, Chainsaw, Nightmare on Elm Street) from your previous blog on the same.

    Other than that, this post has added to my list of films that disappoint as they fail to live up to their titles, in this case the Tom Hanks helmed That Thing You Do, sadly not a comic re-imagining of John W. Campbell, Jr./Carpenter's vision of an alien shapeshifting '60's pop band assimilating all life on Earth.

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    Comment number 17.

    Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris is without a doubt the greater of the two films - It has one thing the remake lacks (Depth) - It isn't an easy film but then again show me a Tarkovsky film that is - Tarkovsky rewards patience -

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    Comment number 18.

    Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris is not an original film itself. The novel was previously adapted for television in 1968.

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    Comment number 19.

    We have a divided house where "Solaris" is concerned. Hubby votes for the Russian version where I prefer the Clooney 'remake' (and not just because of Gorgeous George).
    I'd forgotten about "The Thing" - long family story attached to the John Carpenter version but I think both versions have their own worth - not seen the prequel yet.
    As for "The Wicker Man" - Nicolas Cage's version should not have seen the light of day. I feel slightly smug that I thought that even as the idea was first put out. As said in other comments, we now know where to lay the blame, Dr. K.

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    Comment number 20.

    And who said critics wield no power !!! As per recent broadcast apologies, Woods, Armstrong etc...i think you have to say sorry ;)
    Are remakes actually remakes these days or re-imaginings or some other guff. They're cheap and easy so the studios will continue to churn em out.
    I see the Evil Dead will be with us soon, Raimi approved and laughing all the way to the bank i reckon.


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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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