REASONABLE REMAKES: 5 Remakes That (Probably) Won’t Suck

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Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content with REASONABLE REMAKES. Written by film-nerd Justin Proper, this column aims to highlight Hollywood’s forgotten gems and spark debate.

You see, we’ve grown tired of Hollywood rehashing ideas we’re old enough to remember. Why remake something the majority of the planet still remembers and loves deeply when there are tons of films that deserve a chance to be as great as modern technology and skill can make them? If you agree, this column is for you.

I spend a lot of time talking about how terrible of a job Hollywood does on movies and what they could do to fix it. Today I’m breaking away from that trend (sort of) and writing about 5 upcoming remakes I’m actually excited for. Every once in a while the execs in Tinseltown get things right and here are some projects I’m really hoping go that direction, because if they fail (which they probably will) they will have missed out on a really great opportunity to make a great film. 

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

What it is: TGWTDT (I’m not writing that long title out every time, this isn’t high school and I don’t have a word count) is a 2009 Swedish film based on the award winning novel by Stieg Larsson. It’s a phenomenal crime/mystery/drama that has tons of twists and turns, memorable characters, and leaves you wanting more (which is great, because there are 2 sequels that are equally awesome). If you haven’t seen the original, go check it out, it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in the last few years.

The remake: The upcoming remake is directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en). Fincher is one of my favorite directors and this movie is going to be great for him. His work on Se7en cemented his status as a great director for crime dramas and TGWTDT is one of the best stories in that genre by a wide margin. I shouldn’t have to give anymore reasons why this gives the remake amazing potential to not suck, but I will anyways. Daniel Craig is cast as the lead, which is a great choice casting wise. On top of all of that the soundtrack is done by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame). Go watch the trailer and see what Reznor did with the Led Zepplin song “Immigrant Song” and tell me you’re not wanting to see this film.

Dredd

What it is: Judge Dredd was a terrible movie that came out in 1995 starring Sylvester Stalone. It took a great comic book character and turned him in to Sylvester Stalone (a travesty that still makes me hate The Italian Stallion). The plot revolves around a dismal future where the streets are patrolled by “Judges” who have the ability to be the judge, jury, and executioner all in one. It’s a great comic series but the film didn’t stick to closely to any of the things that make the comic great. Plus, it had Rob “I’m Friends With Adam Sandler” Schneider in it.

The remake: It was hard to pick this movie because it fell in to a category with 2 other remakes I’m excited for for the same reason. Like Fantastic Four Reborn and Daredevil, Dredd is a comic book movie that had great potential but failed really hard the first time around (or in FF’s case, twice). Luckily, all signs are pointing to Dredd being a great adaptation of the source material and becoming a great film the fans of the comics can love. The script is being written by the guy who wrote 28 Days Later so we know the plot will be solid. The creator of the comics (John Wagner) is consulting on the movie so we wont have a fiasco like last time that doesn’t capture the feel of the source. Lastly, the cinematographer (Anthony Dod Mantle) wants the film to look like a cross between Blade Runner and A Clockwork Orange so it’s going to look amazing. Quite frankly, there’s no way it can be worse than the 1995 attempt and I can’t wait to see it.

 

Evil Dead

What it is: Evil Dead is Sam Raimi’s independent horror masterpiece from 1981. This film is so good it has had 2 sequels, a video game, a comic book, and even a stage musical. This movie launched the career of Raimi and his leading man Bruce Campbell. It’s the reason shotguns are still referred to as “boomsticks” and replacing your hand with a chainsaw seems like a great idea. This movie was so great it was given an NC-17 rating and banned in several countries, all with a budget of 400k. Truly, Evil Dead is one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

The remake: Upon first hearing of the Evil Dead remake I was furious. “How dare they touch a classic of such high caliber!” I proclaimed whilst smoking a pipe in my leather recliner by my fireplace whilst reading some Hemmingway (in this joke I’m an old-timey rich guy). “Surely they will tarnish the memory of a masterpiece!” I said to no one in particular. Then I read a statement released by the producers of the remake, Raimi and Campbell themselves, that said “We are committed to making this movie and are inspired by the enduring popularity and enthusiasm for the Evil Dead series. We can’t wait to scare a new generation of moviegoers using filmmaking techniques that were not available to us thirty years ago as well as Fede [the remake’s director] bringing a fresh eye to the film’s original elements.” and that was enough to convince me that everything would be ok.

Mortal Kombat

What it is: Mortal Kombat  is a 1995 movie based on the video game franchise of the same name. The movie was a lot of fun to watch and didn’t disappoint fans of the series. While not as gory as the video games it did manage to capture the feel of the source and I still watch it any time it’s on cable.  The plot revolves around chosen fighters for a tournament to decide the outcome of “Earthrealm”. There’s ninjas that shoot ice and ninjas that are reptiles and a guy based on the greatest actor of all time, Nic Cage. He’s not played by Cage, but he is inspired by him, so that makes him the best character of the film. There’s also a lightning god and a sorcerer and after typing that all out it sounds a lot more absurd than I realized. Oh well, it’s a fun movie.

The remake: The remake of Mortal Kombat is really interesting. It came about because a guy names Kevin Tancharoen decided to film a short about a re-imagined world of Mortal Kombat to fit in line with all the gritty reboots that have been coming out lately. The short film was posted on the internet where it generated huge buzz and rumors until New Line Cinema said “fuck it” and hired him to make a movie. I’m excited for this movie because it means that with enough vision and dedication a fan really can go “Hey Hollywood, look at how I’d make this!” and have an affect on a real movie. I’m not saying that’s what I do on a weekly basis, but if any Hollywood execs are reading this, LOOK AT MY ARTICLES AND PAY ME TO CONSULT YOU!!!!

The Grudge

What it is: The Grudge is a 2004 remake of a 2003 Japanese movie. It’s about angry ghosts in a house and is responsible for me drop-kicking every young asian boy I’ve encountered since it’s release (sorry Toshio, I hope your leg heals ok). It was a pretty ok movie (I’d even call it good on the right days) that came right on the heels of the much more successful remake The Ring. The Grudge was pretty close to the source material and was directed by the same guy who directed the original, so it had plenty of Japanese mood and feeling brought to an American audience. All in all, not the worst Japanese horror remake (that was Pulse) but certainly not the best (The Ring).

The remake: The thing about The Grudge that I really loved was the directors cut. The Grudge came out when horror movies were aimed at the PG-13 market, so it missed a lot of opportunities to be a much darker and scarier film. The directors cut was a much better version of the film, adding more violence and giving the story a much grittier feel that it desperately needed. Now, this remake is still only in the “rumored” stage, but I’m willing to bet that if it got a reboot it would not be marketed to the PG-13 audience, but would go for the R rating it deserved in the first place. Plus, a remake of a remake? You can’t argue with Inception quality filmmaking like that.

I really hope these movies turn out as good as they should. Realistically I’d bet at least half of the ones I’ve listed here will end up on a “Worst Remakes Of The Last 10 Years” list, but it’s fun to be hopeful until I’m proven otherwise. What remakes are you excited for? Let me know in the comment section and while you’re at it, follow me on twitter: @uwebollarama. I’ll be back next week to tell you what would make a good remake. I know, I know, you can’t even wait.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • DREDD is NOT a REMAKE of the ’95 film. It’s an adaptation of the original comic material created by Wagner & Ezquerra whereas the previous film was an adaptation of other ‘Stallone’ films. It’s Judge Dredd in purchased name only. It’s also not currently being ‘written’ as the film is completely in the can and being polished.

  • Don’t get nitpicky dude, reboots are remakes. If you’re going to call out one, why not the rest? Mortal Kombat and The Grudge are reboots too. Thanks for the read and kudos for arguing with me!

  • As much as I’m sure I’ll enjoy the remake of Evil Dead using new techniques to scare people, I really wish they would leave the claymation headless body dancing on the hill. I’m sure it will be made up of CGI or something, but the fact that it was claymation, where the body sort of moved eerily stiff is what creeped me out the first time I saw it.