Monday, February 02, 2009

Most Unnecessary Remake Ever

Apparently Predator is being remade/rebooted.


You know that this is the first time I've objected to a remake? Friday the 13th, yep, I can see why (let's face it, these days you or I could make a scarier and possibly better film with stuff from around the house), Dawn of the Dead, sure thing (as good a film as the original is, it's not fuckin' scary at all and has dated horrendously), Robocop (God, I love it, but can you imagine it being made with today's resources?), even Nightmare on Elm Street (see Robocop), I can totally get behind remakes of these films, in spite of the total lack of originality in Hollywood these days but Predator is the first time I've wanted to put my foot down on something.

The gist is basically a cheaper version of what was originally meant to be Predator 3 (aka Predators). Take the original Predator movie and throw in a few more. Kinda lessens the "Holy Shit!" factor of the creature (one creature capable of taking down a crack, black-ops military team) too. Why was this okayed and not Predator 3? They're virtually the same movie, only Predator 3 sounded WAY fucking cooler!
Why go back to the start and try to out-do a movie that still holds up perfectly today? Why do you think they kept the Predator a physical effect in the AVP movies? Because the creature still holds up! You can't get any better than what it was! And while they might not have been Oscar worthy performances, at least all the over-muscled cast could maintain their bodies and act (at least appropriately and well enough for this type of movie), I don't know of many actors these days that can do both, not as well as these guys did it. The Rock might be the exception.
Predator, like Ghostbusters and the Indiana Jones movies, is virtually timeless. It's not like the original Terminator (remember the nightclub scene? Or the explicit date references?), you can watch Predator on DVD and if you didn't know who Arnie or Jesse Ventura or fuckin'... Apollo Creed... were, there would be very few telling signs that the movie is over 20 years old.

Enough with the shitty AVP movies, enough with the reboots, give me Predator 3 and Alien 5 already!


Malpractice said...

While i don't disagree with you on the whole remaking Predator thing, i do have to say that i disagree with everything else you said lol.

Dawn Of the Dead, Robocop, and Nightmare On Elm Street are so tied to the time they came out since they were commenting on what was going on around them in that period. Dawn Of The Dead (corprate america in the 70's), Robocop (wall street, the media, consumerism, etc. in the 80's), Nightmare On Elm Street (child abduction and the hysteria that followed). I don't really see any of these movies as being "dated" in a negative sense but more that they operate as a time capsule that can help you further understand a period of time. I think trying to "remake" these movies today really misses the point of why they were so good in the first place.

Take Child's Play for example, trying to remake that today wouldn't make a whole lot of sense because we do not live in the toy driven culture that we lived in in the 80's. You would have to take that concept and re-apply it to today and i frankly don't see anything that quite compares to what was going on then. I fell the same thing applies to those 3 films as well, but i guess it won't stop anyone from trying.

A Predator 3 and Aliens 5 wouldn't be much different either, probably just further draining away whatever was good about the franchise in the first place. But what do i know, i thought they never should of made a sequel to Alien in the first place (and the only sequel i enjoyed was the 4th one), so i am sure i am probably in the minority.

Tristan Jones said...

These are all really very valid points, and I'd be arguing exactly the same things (and part of me still does) a couple of years ago. I'll address the Alien 5/Predator 3 thing first. My main complaint is that this isn't really all that different from what was originally proposed for a third Predator movie. It's just a cheaper, less inventive version, and palming it off as reboot is laziness. Just call it another sequel, as they're not going to be really be able to out do the spectacle of the original. The effects will be largely the same, so the only real leaps and bounds left for the Predator comes down to storytelling, which, as I said here, is only reaching the halfway point of what it should be doing. I also say just do Alien 5 because I know Ridley Scott had some really good ideas that he was willing to go with, but AVP nixed those and Scott lost interest. Personally, my favourite was the third sequel (in it's entirety).

I agree 100% on Child's Play too, part of the reason Bride of Chucky was as much fun as it was was because it knew Chucky was something that could not be redone now because he was such a statement of the way things were back then.

Jason and Freddy I see as timeless monsters, you could make them relevant any time. Child abduction and hysteria wasn't isolated to the 80's, and every time I see a top ten list involving movies from either of those characters these days I shake my head because since then there have been FAR scarier movies. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the only horror movies that remains as shocking today as it did when it first screened.

The primary aim of both Dawn of the Dead and Nightmare on Elm Street -- the very core of these movies -- is to scare people. Did it do it then? Yeah, most definitely, but it doesn't do it now. It doesn't make them any less of a movie though, and you're exactly right about the statements being put forth, but only critical minds are going to see that. Everyone I went to film school with would say the same things about the subtext of movies, we'd all pick up on it, but few people I knew outside of those sorts of circles picked it up, or gave a shit. To them, the original Dawn was boring and hokey, which, all sentimentality aside, it is. I actually fell asleep the first time I saw it, and I was excited as hell because it was impossible to find here in Australia and every horror website I would devour touted it as the best of the best. I loved Snyder's remake. If it had the subtext, it would have been perfect, but I can watch the remake far more than I can watch the original simply because it does what I want it to do -- horrify me. The original one did too, but with the make up and effects of today, the remake is far more effective at doing it than the original. The same goes for Freddy.

He's such a product of the times that it ALMOST becomes distracting at times (ALMOST). If you give Freddy to the right people these days and say "do it the same but with today's tools" then you could come up with something truly horrifying. You can do what the remake of Dawn did to Freddy very easily these days, even if you used physical effects, because the steps taken these days to do what was done then (on a limited budget) can produce a far more effective scare. Predator on the other hand, was cutting edge, and the fact that they still used all the same effects for a movie made 20 years later is a testament to the original. You take away the budgetary limits that were upon Nightmare back in the day, imagine the film you'd have! There were moments in Freddy VS Jason, particularly involving Freddy where I was like "If they were treating this seriously, or had've made a Freddy movie with this stuff in mind, Freddy would be back with a fucking vengeance!".

Robocop is a different case for me. I love the original and it still holds up incredibly well, I'm just looking at it from the "potential" factor. With the animatronic, robotic, and computer effects we have available these days, could you imagine what the movie would be like if it were made now? And with Aranofsky reportedly behind the wheel, I think this one is a fairly safe bet. I don't think you'll find that this would be like the Predator (same effects twenty years on), I think the potential for this is pretty high.

Ultimately it comes down to this for me. A Predator reboot would be about as effective as the Hulk one. You're just going to be treading the same ground, you're not really bringing anything new to the table. The original idea would have, had it been Predator 3, but it's just a big waste of time and money to simply go back, change the cast and throw in some more Predators.

I think all this just comes down to a matter of opinion really. It's simply my opinion that if there haven't been any sort of technological advancements in the Predator effects, what can a remake possibly bring us? Why not just advance the story a little more? Say what you want about KOTCS, but I'd rather have that than a remake of Raiders. Kinda the same thing with Predator.

Nightmare and Friday I'm behind 100% for the reasons I gave. Both are as applicable to today's world as they were back then, but time really hasn't been kind to either movie, and I feel too many people get all nostalgic about them and fail to see past that.

Out of curiosity, what did you think of Land of the Dead or Diary of the Dead?

Malpractice said...

1) I get what you are saying with the sequel as opposed to remake idea and i agree with you, i just don't really feel passionate about it. Unless the original creators are involved, i don't get too excited about sequels (even then sometimes i don't). I have no problem with Ridley Scott doing an Aliens 5 since he created (or at least co-created) the whole thing but i heard what he was planning to do and it didn't sound all that intresting to me but I would still be more open to seeing an Alien sequel from Scott than anyone else.

2) Agreed. Don Mancini knew that the character didn't carry the weight that he used to so he turned him into a living cartoon, and later moving into hollywood satire with seed of chucky. The movies only work because they know exactly what they are, and don't try to be horror movies. Sadly though even Child's Play is in development for a remake, and while Mancini is involved i still don't have much hope for it.

3) I would say in Freddy's case atleast, the Adam Walsh case in 1981 definetly created a whole new atmosphere of paranoia in parent's that did not exist before. This over-protection of kids went to crazy levels, and I think Wes Craven keyed into that by showing their greatest fear, a place they could not protect them (and their second biggest fear their kids confronting these problems on their own). I get that child abduction and hysterical parents are still around today but it just isn't the same as it was then (hell the Adam Walsh case was even closed this past year). I don't really see Freddy as a timeless monster either, and i feel New Nightmare closed the book on that character. I can't fathom why anyone would even want to use the character after that because honestly how are you going to top that? Jason I could care less about, and that's a movie that could probably use a remake (I just think the remake that was made looks like shit).

4) I still think both movies are rather effective horror movies to this day. Granted I haven't watched either in awhile but I don't recall them being boring or anything, Friday the 13th certainly fits that description though. I always found both movies to be more cerebrally scary then jump out of your seat scary anyway. Then again my favorite horror movie is John Carpenter's Halloween, and i have always heard the same argument about that movie too and not agreed. Synder's DOTD remake is mediocre at best but i will give it some props for being one of the better of the recent horror remakes (that's not saying much though).

5) I always hear that argument about the technology today and how it can improve things from the past but I still haven't seen an example of that yet especially in remakes. The CGI movement dosen't do much for me. There was one moment in F vs. J i liked with Freddy at the beginning when he said something like "Being dead wasn't a problem, but being forgotten, now that's a BITCH" and the way he said it was just crazy but everything else sucked.

6) Darren Aronofsky involved does have me intrested in this new Robocop i will admit. There's some potential there to change the concept a bit to suit the times (the war in iraq and lack of soldiers comes to mind), so there's still a bit of hope there for me.

I liked Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (although i know it's blasphemy but i never seen any of the other Indiana Jones movies). I saw Land Of The Dead and got a few laughs out of it, and I haven't seen Diary Of The Dead.

Tristan Jones said...

1) Out of curiosity, did you ever check out the Dark Horse Aliens books? Before comic book censorship neutered them, the pre-Alien 3 books were some of my favourite comics. There were some ideas present in those that were similar to Ridley’s idea of where 5 would go, which was why I was keen to see it.
2) I hear ya! It might be fun for the sake of comparison, but I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. I never did see Seed…
3) I think the Friday remake looks like it’s going to be what it should be. A “fun” horror movie. Nothing you have to put too much thought into. Though I could be wrong. Texas Chainsaw kinda surprised me in that it worked out to be something different to what I was expecting, and I’d heard that the same can be expected from this, so I’m on the fence about it. I’ll see it, but I’m not going to write it off based on the trailer.
They can really only stray SO MUCH from the source material. We all know the kids are going to cop it, but I think with 12 movies under his belt, there’s enough history for Jason to pick and choose the best elements of each and really give him a new lease on life.
4) No, Nightmare was never boring, it’s just not scary anymore. Dawn, as much as I enjoy it, I can understand why people don’t like it. I sat down with a friend of mine who doesn’t watch a lot of horror, but won’t dismiss them. She didn’t find Nightmare scary at all, except for the bit where he appears in the bath and the wall. She was laughing through most of it. She saw the original Dawn before we saw the remake and thought it was one of the most boring movies she’d ever seen, but she was completely horrified by the Fly remake, Alien, and Evil Dead. But she’s not a person who’s going to look at subtle subtext like what you get in Dawn. She’ll pick up on it, but won’t analyse it as much as I (or you) would.
5) C’mon, Dawn is a perfect example! What about the gore effects? The prosthetics? I hear what you’re saying though, but that’s not to say that there hasn’t been some amazing CGI. Jurassic Park and Transformers spring to mind immediately. In spite of its overuse, the Phantom Menace has pretty amazing CGI as well. This goes back to my argument regarding the Alien and Predator effects. The Predator hasn’t changed. They might be able to fit more mechanics in the head and make the suit lighter, but it’s going to be invisible and wearing a mask for the majority of the film, and if you redesign it, it’s not the Predator anymore. The alien still works best as a man in a suit shot properly too. Some of the aliens in 4 and AVP 2 looked alright, but the physical effects – the ones you can see and know you can touch are always scarier.
FvJ was an abortion of a movie, made only for those fanboys who have been pining for it since Jason Goes to Hell (another cinematic clusterfuck). BUT that moment where it all goes red and Freddy jumps out of the water with the sharp teeth and the new look was sweet, and some of the IDEAS were good, but it all felt extremely forced and wanky. Would’ve worked better as a comic book.
6) Yeah, there’s heaps that can be done. It’s not necessary, but it’s not unnecessary either. The original is still a great movie. I have a feeling it’ll be like Dracula. There are so many versions of Dracula out there that you don’t really need to make another, but you put the right person behind the camera (and in front I guess) and you could rope me into seeing it. Admittedly, there aren’t as many Robocops as there are Draculas, but you get the idea!

Have you seen the NOTLD remake? Savini’s one?

Malpractice said...

nope, never saw the NOTLD remake. Most of what i have heard about it is usually positive. I still watch the original quite often though.

Tristan Jones said...

I watch the remake a fair bit. It's virtually the same movie, only the ending is different. The cast is frighteningly similar, with the exception of the lead female, whose role is changed a fair bit. Give it a look in man, it's up there with the Thing in terms of remakes. It doesn't break any new grounds or anything, but it's a good movie.