As every year passes, the cinema is increasingly overrun with film re-imaginings, adaptations, remakes, sequels of remakes and various other unoriginal rehashes of classic films.
In recent years we have been insulted with such tripe as a remake of Clash of the Titans, and even a sequel to this with Wrath of the Titans. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has also fallen prey to the remake treatment, and I don’t even know how to class the latest instalment. Is it a remake? An homage? Or is it just as it seems – a lazy rip-off of a classic genre defining film?
A list of re-done atrocities could go on for ever. But the most frustrating thing about all of these examples is not necessarily just how awfully they are remade, but the fact that there was no reason to have a new version or continuation in the first place.
Although this is the case for most, there are a few films which have been bettered or built upon by a well-conceived remake. This list is shorter, but remade films which brought a fresh perspective and delivered an equally pleasing, or even improved viewing experience, do exist.
Although it seems the Hollywood machine has exhausted all possible avenues and drained the life out of most classic films, there are still a few out there which may actually be improved upon, or at least equalled, with a well-handled remake.
Most of these original films already range from watchable to bloody amazing, but with advances in technology, CGI, and even budget, a remake or sequel may actually work.
Here are the top 5:
I’m not saying we need another Eight-Legged Freaks, but a remake of this modern classic creature feature could actually work.
The original story is great – that doesn’t need changing too much. It’s nice and simple as it should be for this B-Movie horror. A deadly spider is mistakenly transported from Venezuela to America, it mates with a native (spider) and the offspring turn out to be flying, jumpy, killing machines which hide-out under your toilet or in your cereal, waiting to pounce.
In the original, Huntsman spiders were used, as well as articulated models for the large ‘general’ and ‘queen’ spiders. This worked well for the effects, especially for a release in 1990. But, if some well crafted, subtle CGI were used to create the spiders in a remake, the freedom this would give the filmmakers, and seeing what they could achieve would be very interesting.
Who should Direct: Anyone except Michael Bay
Who should star: Timothy Olyphant
Young Guns is my favourite film of all time, so the only reason I would really want to see a remake is if it was handled well. Really well.
If this particular story of Billy Bonney was remade, I would like to think the general tale would be kept similar, especially as it is pretty close to the actual life of Billy the Kid. But, forgetting about the sequel, the events told in Young Guns are mostly lifted from the mid-section of the gunslinger’s escapades. This means a remake could either start earlier, or later and explore numerous different events from the Kid’s life.
Although it is appreciated when remakes pay homage to the source, a serious change of tone would be the secret to success in this case. Put simply, no-one pulls off the hyena-like laugh and free-spirited creation of The Kid quite like Emilio Estevez.
A darker, more true-to-the-times character would be the way to go. Although we like to pretend, I very much doubt Billy the Kid was as good-looking, clean-shaven, and generally such a big bag of fun as is portrayed in Young Guns.
Who should Direct: The Coen Brothers
Who should star: Barry Pepper or Casey Affleck as The Kid
One of the most iconic films of the 1970s, The Warriors is a cult story revolving around a ‘against-all-odds’ scenario. Set in an undefined dystopian future New York, the gang of the film’s title are forced to fight their way back to their own ‘turf’ after being stranded across the city and wrongfully accused of murdering the highest ranked leader of all gangs.
It’s a film that made the very best of its resources. There are classic fights scenes, memorable dialogue, a simple yet entertaining story, and plenty of cheese throughout.
But here is a film with massive potential for a succesful re-imagining. With films being released based on board games, how someone hasn’t snapped up the opportunity to rework this rich material is simply bemusing.
As with Young Guns, a darker, more serious approach would be the way to go with The Warriors. The core idea and setting should be kept relatively the same, but if a lot of money was injected into the production, an ensemble cast of stars could really bring a fresh and invigorating perspective to a much-lauded film.
Who should Direct: Martin McDonagh
Who should star: Anton Yelchin, Elijah Wood, Emile Hirsch, Jamie Bell
They Live is another film which has stood the test of time. It’s cheap-ish production always feels dated, but in a purely nostalgic and charming way. Again, the source material is rich, and as long as the main backbone of the story is kept in tact – and of course that epic fist-fight scene too – it would be hard to mess this one up.
John Carpenter has his very own style of filmmaking – he’s an auteur in his own right. A Director who often works with B-Movie concepts, and gives them a splatter of Hollywood glamour. This usually results in an incredibly entertaining, easy-going film, with social and political undertones which are there to be taken on board, but not forced down your throat.
I wouldn’t often say this, especially as I can still taste the sick in my mouth from Wrath of the Titans, but They Live would also provide the potential for a series of films. I’m not a big fan of decades between sequential films’ productions, especially when technological advances break the visual continuity (see Star Wars and Alien/Prometheus), so a straight sequel to Carpenter’s classic would feel wrong. But if a remake was to finish with a similar ending to the original, numerous narrative avenues would be available to explore thereafter.
Who should Direct: Robert Rodriguez
Who should star: Ryan Phillippe + Idris Elba
Not since the heydays of Rumble Fish, The Outsiders and Stand By Me have we been treated to well-conceived English language films which purely revolve around the perspective and tribulations of the younger generation.
Battle Royale‘s brilliance was in delivering an uber-violent film, but ramping up the shock value by basing it around the (usually) most innocent of creatures – kids.
It’s not an old film, but again it is a surprise no-one has tried remaking it already. Maybe it’s because the sequel left us so sour and unsatisfied. As soon we’ve got over the atrocity that was Battle Royale II: Requiem, someone should remind us how great the original was by delivering an intriguing remake.
‘Kids out of control’ is a concept which is now more relevant to Western society than ever – especially in America. So drumming up interest for this project shouldn’t be a hard task. As long as the island isn’t swapped for outer space, 30-year-old actors aren’t cast as children, and it isn’t beaten down to a PG rating, a new Battle Royale could prove a very interesting project.
Who should Direct: Quentin Tarantino
Who should star: Chloe Grace-Moretz + Joel Courtney