“Hollywood seems to be running out of ideas,” said every moviegoer since the 1930s. The fact is, reboots and remakes are as old as cinema itself, and in plenty of cases they can actually be quite good. After all, who is honestly going to say that the James Bond franchise became worse with the 2006 reboot of Casino Royale?
That said, some remakes and reboots are simply awful, unnecessary, and destructive to the art of cinema. Here are the films that should be sent to the cornfield immediately.
Colin Farrell is a good actor; anyone who has seen In Bruges can attest to that. This movie, however, is a mess. It’s completely baffling that the studios have decided that classic Paul Verhoeven films suddenly need remaking, but with Total Recall and the equally abysmal RoboCop remake in the books, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Starship Troopers is next. So what’s wrong with Total Recall? It’s unforgivably bland and serious for one. Gone are the Schwarzenegger quips that the original was famous for. Also, in its effort to shoot for the elusive PG-13, the film replaces Verhoeven’s signature, over-the-top violence with the typical vanilla action that defines the G.I. Joe movies. Unforgivably, this reboot does something that should have been impossible: it made a story about mind-control and the blurred line between reality and fantasy completely and utterly boring.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an excellent piece of classic 50s scifi camp; a B-movie that rose above that status by being really, really good. The 1970s remake with Donald Sutherland is arguably even better, skewing the plot towards horror more effectively. Thirty-odd years later, you’d think that a third remake starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman would be even better. It’s not.
Tragically boring, and strange, with a weirdly inappropriate happy ending, The Invasion is what happens when studio executives see that a story has been adapted several times by competent directors and writers, and assume that the strength of the material is enough to carry the film. Reboots like this are the reason why people complain about reboots.
Trying to remake a Hitchcock film seems to only be something that Hitchcock himself was capable of doing, with The Man Who Knew Too Much. This remake is what happens when a competent director decides that he can follow in the footsteps of the master of suspense, and fails incredibly in the process. The script is the same, the shots are almost identical, but this color carbon-copy remake somehow has none of the charm or suspense of the original. The film is an exercise in pointlessness, and begs the audience to question why it needed to be made in the first place. Also, Vince Vaughn is a capable actor, but a broom-handle would have made a more convincing Norman Bates.
Planet of the Apes
Where to even begin? Marky Mark can act, but he’s no Charlton Heston. In the interest of being somewhat positive, the costumes and the sets for this film are really well done, as one would expect from a Tim Burton film. Everything else, however, is a misfire. At no point does the film even come close to the charm of the original, not to mention the ending is such a ham-handed attempt to relate the remake to the original that it makes the audience wonder if the film was actually written by a real room full of monkeys.