Friday, August 12, 2011

Don't Go There!: Movies that Should Never have been/be Remade (80s Edition)

While reading Perez Hilton's blog lately it has come to my attention that there will be a remake of Dirty Dancing in the works.  Kenny Ortega the director of the Michael Jackson documentary This is It and the High School Musical films will step behind the camera and direct this film.  In an interview Ortega stated

"I’m not looking for someone to fill Patrick Swayze’s shoes, orJennifer Grey’s shoes. They’re one of a kind and they deserve to be called that.We have a big challenge and a long road ahead of us. All I can say is that I hope we can bring something unique and original to help change the naysayers minds about the film."
My question to Mr. Ortega and the producers who want to film this remake, what's the point of creating a remake?  Ortega uses the words "unique" and "original" but a remake of a film is one of the farthest things from these qualities.  Dirty Dancing is by no means a masterpiece but it is a cultural phenomenon that has made the the film have a lasting impact with quotes like "Nobody puts baby in a Corner."  I have heard people from Brian Michael Bendis comic book writer to my mother use that phrase.  

Jennifer Grey star of the film who played Francis "Baby" Houseman gave her blessing for this film as well.  In her interview I learned that Ortega did the choreography for the first film.  This may show promise for a remake, but if Ortega is such a talented musical director and choreographer he should focus on more original projects.  I also think Grey gave her blessing because she hopes not only will she have a cameo, but who knows maybe even play the mom.

This is not the only 80s film being remade.  While watching the previews waiting for Crazy, Stupid, Love to start I saw the atrocious preview for the remake of Footloose.  I remember hearing this announced and groaning with disdain.  Then there were glimmers of hope that the film would not happen, no director would fully commit, actors kept dropping out of the different roles, but low and behold this mess will be released on October 14th.

The original Footloose (1984) is not a masterpiece, but had a huge cultural impact.  The preacher told the kids in town they couldn't dance and Ren McCormack came to town and challenged the authority.  Not the best idea for a screenplay, but this film was fun.  Kevin Bacon (Ren) was just wonderfully charming and at the time the film was released people may not have taken it seriously, but when the remake looks like a train wreck, I can't help but think, why someone thought remaking this film was a good idea?

The Wolverines will also be coming (I doubt they were clever enough the change the name of the group) in the remake of Red Dawn.  The original film was released in 1984 and was a cheesy action film about what if the Soviets invaded the US.  I watched this film in my Cold War and Film class in college and just laughed at how bad this film was.  In the modern version its the Koreans who attack the US.  Taking a bad film and remaking it can be done, but I do not think that this will be a success story.  The original also starred Patrick Swayze, and they are look to replace his character with the God thunder Chris Hemsworth (Thor).  Again who thought remaking this film was a good idea?

There have of course been two other 80s remakes that have already been released.  The Karate Kid (2010) starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.  While this film was a box office triumph it did hold up critically to the first film.  Friday the 13th was also remade and just was a heaping pile of garbage that lacked the terror and originality of the the original from 1980.

The problem with these remakes is that the films are stale and have no cultural relevance.  The original films were not masterpieces but they were a product of the time and highlighted the time period.  In todays world trying to please an audience is done at the cost of losing originality and keeping things safe.  the newer versions of Footloose, Dirty Dancing and the other films will be viewed as Hollywood trying to make money as opposed to film companies caring about the final product.  What's next a remake of Top Gun with Paul Walker, Zac Effron holding an i pod home over his head and playing "In your Eyes",  or the girl from the television show Secret Life of the American Teenager blowing out her candles on a table in a remake of Sixteen Candles?   I can't take Hollywood watering down films and trying to capture lightning in a bottle twice it can not be done.

No comments: