I'll come up with something in a minute.

5 Remakes I Might Not Hate

I’ve been thinking about remakes for a while now, mostly because nine tenths of the movies out there seem to be remakes of one stripe or another lately. What I’ve been thinking though is that just because most of them are crap, people assume all remakes are crap. It might be true that a lot of remakes are garbage, but let’s face it, most movies are garbage anyway. I’m not just talking about movies today, I mean all movies. People forget that really bad movies have always been with us because time erases the bad and keeps the good. We only notice it with remakes because the movies they were based on are usually good ones and they’re hurt by the comparison.

Anyway, as I said I’ve been thinking about remakes because I’ve seen a few movies lately that I think could stand up to a decent remake. Now to make a good remake I think you need to bring something new to the table. A new setting, a few new ideas, maybe a few different camera angles (I’m looking at you Van Sant!) or even just take a few of the basic story points and make a completely new movie. Lots of remakes are good, and a few of them are so good that people forget about the original.

So I’ve been sitting here, watching some samurai movies (You’ll see why this is relevant in a moment) and thinking about movies that could get remade and how you could do it. I figure all of these could make pretty good remakes in the hands of a director that was any good and if the studio let it be a decent movie instead of demanding that they be allowed to put whatever brain dead flavor of the moment idiots they have lying around in the staring roles. Yeah, I know, but these are dreamcasts anyway. Let me believe they’d bring Robert Mitchum back to star in my first choice okay?

Ronin Gai (1990 – Japan)
This is a pretty awesome little movie in and of itself, but because it’s Japanese and requires either a little fore knowledge or a few viewing to understand the full implications of what’s going on a western set remake could do them good. You’d get the movie in one sitting, you’d understand it, but you need to know a little about the time period to get everything they’re saying. Anyway, you could remake this as a sort of Film Noir throw back. You set it between 1945 and 1958 in L.A. and go from there. You could pretty much make it anytime up to the present really, but I like the golden Film Noir sort of period best for this. You keep the prostitutes, make the ronin into private detectives (Or any outsider tough guys really) and you’re all set. You could put it a bunch of places though, even make it a Jack the Ripper story set in Victorian London.

Goyokin (1969 – Japan)
I’ll save you the effort of mentioning it, you’re going to see a pattern here. This movie could have several settings, but they’d all have to pretty much be before the advent of mass communication. What you mostly have here is an attempted gold heist that requires a bit of chicanery to work right. A boat carrying gold is made to crash on rocks because a beacon fire is put on one outcrop of land instead of another. Once you have light houses, this won’t work, but before that it could. You could put this in the American Civil War (people would believe that lighthouses either weren’t around or weren’t in the area being used) or anyplace in Europe along a coastline. All you’d really need is a coast area that needs to be skirted to work. After that, it’s just switch a few cultural points and the story would work.

Le Samouraï (1967 – France)
Yes, well, it fits with the group doesn’t it? This could be present day New York, possibly Chicago or Boston I suppose, anywhere with a good train system really. This one I’d like to see a remake using pretty much the same script for Jef’s part of the movie. You’d have to change things for the police stuff, because Paris in the 60s and New York in the present have different legal systems and some things you’d just have to change. However, I think it would be really neat to have the character of Jef Costello act as close to the original as possible, just to show that cool is cool no matter where or when. You’d have to get some people who would have enough confidence not to need the constant chatter that American movies often rely on, since it takes almost 9 minutes before anyone says anything in this movie. However, given a good crew and some luck, you could remake this really well without needing a big budget. Not needing a big budget could save a movie like this, giving the film makers a lot of wiggle room.

The Dark Corner (1946 – U.S.A. BABY!)
An actual Film Noir in my list, how do you like that? A modern updating would be cool for this movie. You could set it just about anywhere. You don’t even need a fully urban setting, although I’d think rural would be pushing it. You could get away with it being a suburban area though, some place just big enough to have some people in it. A small town somewhere would do really. Just so long as you could realistically have the basic elements, you could do it fine. You just need a Private Eye who was framed, enough people to watch things happening, a few guys to do the things that get done, not much at all really.

The Thin Man (1934 – U.S.A.)
Wait, what? The Thin Man! Yeah, why not? It’s a good movie, but you could do a much more accurate movie to the book these days. There are a lot of things both said and implied in the book that you just couldn’t do in the movies at the time. Given a more rigid interpretation of the book, you could make it a lot darker, sexier, harder, and all those things Hollywood has a great big stiffy for right now. You could set this during the time period or during the modern day, either would do really. Just so long as you get the whole poor detective who married a spoiled rich girl who is years below his age point across you’d get the interesting parts of the book. Probably going for a synthesis of the book and the first movie would give you the best results. Don’t try to recreate the Powell/Loy combination though, that would be disastrous. No matter what male lead you get, he won’t be William Powell and whoever you get to play Nora, she won’t be Myrna Loy. Just leave that alone and try to get two people who look good together and let them work out what works best for them.

So there you go, five suggestions for movies that could be remade and not suck. I could be wrong of course, but I think if made right these could be worth watching.

February 20, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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