Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.
This week’s heresy:
“Despite what many viewers, fans and commentators think, J.J. Abrams two Star Trek films haven’t in fact rebooted the franchise; they are simply new instalments of the same story.“
I haven’t been particularly shy or retiring in my frustration at the film industry’s dearth of originality, manifesting more and more in reruns of old stories and properties rather than the investment in new ideas. But since the money this brings in means that it is unlikely we’ll see a sea-change any time soon.
It’s also worth admitting that there are some remakes which are good, and which are worthwhile in and of themselves. Some have even become classics. I’ll elaborate on a few below, but David Cronenberg’s The Fly was a remake of a 1958 film of the same name. So it’s the individual films that are being remade, and the reasons for that remaking, which is the problem. And that always comes down to cash.
So in time-honoured tradition, if we can’t stop it, let’s regulate it. Below I will lay out a few rules, as to when a remake of something is appropriate to be made and stands a reasonable chance, any chance of being a worthwhile venture by film-makers. It goes without saying, this is all my own opinion (but feel free to borrow it, with attribution, if you fancy)
I recall when I saw Total Recall at the cinema. The remake, not the original. I remember emerging blinking into the day, and wondering what on earth I had just seen.
Despair of remakes is not new, either generally or me. I generally hold it as a badge of unoriginality, a symptom of the malaise afflicting the film industry wherein spinning out an old success once again as a certainty of money is more important and worthwhile than taking a risk on something new.
Enter, then, another 80s SF remake: Robocop. I’m late in the day seeing this, and honestly wouldn’t if the well of new releases had not run dry in the post-Oscars lull. The original was an important film, if a bit — well, a bit 80s. Remaking it isn’t encouraging, for the Total Recall reasons above, and yet there is something a little more timeless about the story of a robot policeman.