Did you know that some movies are so popular that studios have no choice, but to make them again; especially, foreign films? Well, let me tell you, people don’t go to the movies to read. People go to the movies to watch things. Usually robots, but every once in awhile they’ll watch things that don’t feature robots, but you better make damn sure it’s something they’ve already seen! Woe to the studio that has the righteous indignation to produce a film that is based on something we have no awareness of. If it doesn’t have robots in it, it better be based on a comic book! Or I swear to god…
So, re-makes aren’t exactly a new phenomena. They’ve been re-making older films for, like, pretty much ever. Seriously, it’s not new. They went through a period of time in the late seventies and early eighties where a lot of re-makes were coming down the pike. Like, Scarface, and my all time favorite movie, John Carpenter’s The Thing. I know that movie nerds like to drone on, and on, and on, decrying the “unoriginal” state of the current Hollywood system, but that’s just because they don’t have the ability to see past(Or back, I suppose) where they are in the “now.” Sorry, kids, but this isn’t a new affectation for the ol’ biz.
“Remake,” doesn’t necessarily denote “bad.” Honestly, some stories are worth telling again(Besides the fact that all stories are some kind of “retelling,” but I digress.), and can present storyteller’s with an opportunity to actually improve on the original(Remember when I brought up John Carpenter’s The Thing), or tell it from a different perspective, which can offer up wildly different results. I’ve never been bothered by the idea of remakes. Having said that, the problem with how a lot of people go about the business of remakes is really misguided, or weird, I suppose. Often, it seems that they adhere too closely to the original, and forgo the above mentioned opportunities. If you’re not going to tell “your version,” then what’s the point? Honestly though, it probably has a lot to do with the studios; as the “unknown” has proved to be disappointing in box office returns. So, I guess we’re all to blame! Hurrah!
Chan-wook Park’s original Oldboy, is one of my all time favorite movies. It’s the second part of his “Vengeance Trilogy,” the first one to be released stateside though. It’s one of those movies that kind of has it all, in my opinion. An enticing, if not salacious, script, fantastic acting, and some especially awesome art direction and cinematography. The idea of remaking this film is one of the more “pointless” remake endeavors. Firstly, it’s not even that old. Secondly, this isn’t a story that can, on it’s face, really be improved on, because, like I said, it’s really well made. I know that this may seem a bit contradictory to what I was saying before, but everything is about context. What was the impetus for this remake? Is it out of a real desire to make something unique, or is out of crass commercialism? Did they have a desire to do their own thing with the source material? Oh yeah, the source material…
So, even the original isn’t all that “original” it would seem! It’s actually based on a manga series of the same name. I was not aware that Oldboy was based on anything when I first saw the film. So, in a weird way, this fact actually makes me a little optimistic about the potential of the remake. It has an opportunity to do more than ape the original, as, from what I understand, the original film takes a lot of liberties with the source material. So, who knows? Maybe, there is a lot of the story that hasn’t been touched upon, and would offer up something that is actually unique to itself. Will the film makers sensibilities be allowed to take the lead in telling this story, or is Spike Lee nothing more than a hired gun?
I haven’t liked much of Spike Lee’s output in the last decade, or so. He seems to have become a kind of “angry old man,” if you will. His original works, the ones that carry the moniker “A Spike Lee Joint,” have been pretty underwhelming, and kind of confused. Socially, and politically. The films of his that have been good in recent years have been the ones that he came on after the script was finished(The 25th Hour, Inside Man), and such is the case with his Oldboy(2013). So, you never know. It could go either way.
The trailer for this film adheres really closely to the original film. Way more than I ever expected, honestly. For some reason, I was a wee bit excited for this film, but this trailer has kind of deflated those feelings. Only a little though. I’m curious if they have purposefully stuck to the original on purpose, to act as a misdirect to those that are familiar with the original. A “saving the best for the movie” type of situation, if you will. I imagine this trailer would definitely appeal to those that don’t know anything about the story. The trailer plays up his captivity, his freedom, and the mystery as to why it all happened in the first place. Intriguing stuff, and it gives me some hope for the finished film.
One more thing; the trailer, like I said before, adheres really closely to the original. The sets and set pieces look a lot like the original, but one thing stuck out to me in particular. Are they seriously doing their own version on the “Hammer Fight?” I’m up in the air about this. On the one hand, it’s one of the best sequences in the original, and is somewhat “sacred,” I guess. Do they really want to draw even more of a comparison to themselves. You know that most people will automatically claim the original’s to be superior; considering nostalgic pangs, and all that good stuff. On the other hand, it’s kind of expected to be there, and some would probably claim “cowardice” on the part of the filmmakers if they were to omit the scene entirely. Who knows, maybe it will be good, or be used to subvert our expectations some how.
I don’t know, I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. If anything I think we’ll get an awesome Josh Brolin performance, and the casting of Sharlto Copley is definitely interesting. I guess we’ll see. So, here’s hoping!
Oh yeah, Carrie is being remade too! This one makes a little more sense, as the original omits about half of Stephen King’s story, and is about thirty-five years old. From what I can tell from this trailer it seems like they are going to get into the town’s destruction from the novel. That has me somewhat interested.
This trailer isn’t really doing it form me for some reason though. It comes across as really “cheesy,” and rote. Julianne Moore starring as Carrie’s crazy, religious nut job mother seems like it’s going to be really well done, and maybe her performance could elevate the movie if it turns out mediocre. That’s the thing about this remake, it doesn’t so much look “bad,” as just “lifeless.” Maybe it’s just me.
I like Chloe Grace Moretz. She’s a really good actress, and at first I thought this was a good casting decision, but now having seen the trailer, she almost seems too normal looking. Too attractive. I know that may seem like an odd criticism, but think back to the original 1976 film. The reason Sissy Spacek is so effective in the titular roles was because she was a little odd looking. She wasn’t attractive in a conventional sense. She was still going through those awkward teen years, and it seems that Chloe Grace Moretz has been “movie starized.” Also, she just comes across as a genuinely warm, intelligent person, and I’m not sure how that’s going to fit.
You never know though, and I sincerely hope that my preconceptions are proven wrong about this flick. There’s a lot of potential with this story. Especially if they stick closer to the source material than the original De Palma film. Anyways, here’s hoping… Again!
Also, as a fun side note, did you know that Carrie was remade back in 2002. Yup, that’s right. The USA network premiered it. It’s terrible by the way… Oh my god, I just remembered that I actually own it. Wow.