After a slew of bad word of mouth and embarrassing delays, the reboot of Robocop will finally be limping into theatres at the beginning of 2014. Original director Paul Verhoeven had no involvement and the whole thing appears to have little resemblance to the original flick. Consequently, it's almost certainly going to suck. This got me wondering — is it actually possible to remake a movie successfully?
The original Robocop was a brilliantly shlocky sci-fi film that made headlines for its balls-to-the-wall violence. It was also notable for its satirical take on the media, privatization and moral decay, making it a hit with brainy cinema buffs and bogan action fans alike. The new movie appears to have swept most of these themes under the carpet. The studio has also plumped for a PG-13 rating which means virtually all of the elements that made Robocop special have been stripped away. You can check out the trailer for yourself below:
In recent years, we've had to suffer through a seemingly endless deluge of dodgy reboots as a creatively-bankrupt Hollywood returns to the well, over and over again. Some of the worst offenders include Total Recall, The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre, Death At A Funeral, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Straw Dogs, Clash Of The Titans, Death Race, Conan The Barbarian, The Omen and Planet Of The Apes (Tim Burton version).
And then there was the Nicolas Cage-starring remake of the 1973 cult classic The Wicker Man which frankly defies all description. Check out the below highlight reel for a taste of the gibbering insanity. It's not intended to be a comedy. No really.
In addition to Robocop 2.0, we also have remakes of Gremlins, All Quiet On The Western Front, The Black Hole The Crow, Godzilla (again), The Wild Bunch, Old Boy and The Never Ending Story to look forward to.
And then there was the recent remake of Carrie which I caught a screening of last month. As the titular Carrie White, Chloë Grace Moretz is far too pretty to convince as a friendless high school outcast (if anything, their attempts to "uglify" the actress have only rendered her more attractive). The climactic showdown at the prom is also problematic; it somehow manages to both underwhelm and be too over-the-top.
The cynic in me thinks it will only be a matter of time before we get a remake of Jaws — with a completely CGI shark, natch. They'll probably give the Hooper role to Katy Perry and get Nickelback to do the end-credits soundtrack. Just thinking about it gives me nightmares.
But anyway. All these terrible movies got me wondering about the good-to-bad ratio when it comes to remakes. Are there any examples that are halfway decent or — god forbid — actually better than the original? Off the top of our heads, the only examples I can think of are John Carpenter's The Thing (which has since been re-remade badly), David Cronenberg's The Fly and Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (although this is treating the term 'remake' very loosely).
Can you guys think of any other movie remakes that managed to equal or improve upon the original? Share your nominations below. Alternatively, feel free to share your opinion in why remakes seem to fail so often. Are fan expectations or talentless Hollywood hacks to blame?
(Some ground rules: Adaptations and 'reimaginings' don't count — and no scouring movie sites for suggestions if you haven't actually seen the flick!)