Posted at 3:12 PM on March 28, 2006
by Euan Kerr
At a local cineplex recently, the rash of trailers included one where a succession of stars board a luxury liner, which you know can only bode ill for the benighted boat. Sure enough a huge wave hit soon after, flipping the ship like a bathtoy.
It was about then that I realized I saw this movie 25 years ago. Someone's remade "The Poseidon Adventure!" Now it's just called "Poseidon," but it seems to be the same movie! As the trailer continued I recognized scene after scene, including all that stuff with the chandeliers, culminating with one guy taking a do-or-die swan dive from several upside-down stories up. The faces have changed, no Shelly Winters this time round, but the movie seems much the same.
Remakes are a fact of film life, but does recreating the thrills that drew the crowds first time round mean we have to see the exact same film? It'll do well no doubt, but it's creating an uncomfortable sense of deja vu for me.
What really worried me then was we might soon be seeing "Towering Inferno" again, or even "Earthquake" with the vibrating seat gizmos. That was hard enough the first time round.
I hope remakes become a norm, like new productions of classic plays in theater. I can't wait to see Scorese's The Departed, a remake of the Japanese movie, Infernal Affairs.
Nobody should want a *bad* remake. Consider Peter Jackson's King Kong. But a good version of an earlier story can be worthwhile--for example, Pride and Prejudice w/ Keira Knightley.
Regarding Posiedon, maybe there's a "remake spectrum". At one end, remakes copy dialogue and camera shots--e.g., Psycho (1960 & 1998). On the other end, the basic story is re-told ... i.e., Batman (1989) & Batman Begins (2005).
I'd love to see a remake of my all-time favorite, Casablanca. But only if it's re-made well.
Trust someone to be reasonable about this!
My issue with remakes is when they are just rehashings of fine films that don't add anything to the mix.
Case in point: John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13" was a great thriller. It was a low budget, stripped down production, with scary bad guys, and flawed heros looking to a tough anti-hero for salvation. The remake a few years back was just kind of mushy. We don't need more mush!
Isn't every James Bond movie, in a loose sense, a re-make? The same story told over and over--secret agent uses cool gadgets to defeat super-villain in tricked-out lair after globetrotting action scenes with exotic babes?
Could we recycle some OK movies to bring them up to modern times? Put Julia Roberts into Ella Raines's role to re-do "Phantom Lady"? Or maybe re-make "Blue Dahlia"? Some perfectly servicable movies collect dust while a lot of old dreck gets turned into new dreck.