I’m a film lover. No questions asked. However, I can honestly admit that I hate going to cinemas to watch films. Not really without the risk of disappointment – it’s actually from loss of enthusiasm.
And that’s due to one word. One word that has plagued and addled my brain for the last 5 or so years…
They can sometimes fill us with woe and sometimes make us salivate with anticipation. But bearing in mind that this is now a big market in cinema – is it just alienating cinema-goers, or is it proving to be the best vehicle for bringing those films into the 21st century?
Case and point 1:- Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman’ trilogy
Nineteen years on and still going strong
The idea of a character study Batman film had never been committed to film until Nolan’s 2005 film ‘Batman Begins’. Previous directors, Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher (guhhhh) had released interpretations that were visual-heavy, and tone-heavy with no real substance to the characters. Fleshing out had gone out of fashion. Not to deny that Burton’s flicks weren’t in any way impressive – but on the other hand, they were at an extreme where you had to embrace the inability of believability, and let the ‘comic’ itself steer your perception of the films. Schumacher’s on the other hand took it to a whole other level. Instead of cleverly using the best parts of Burton’s work, he took the bad parts… and made them worse. Or worser than worse. A couple of hammy, campy and shockingly homo-erotic schlock-fests with one that would subsequently become the widely-voted ‘Worst Film Ever Made’.
With two out of the way, and a third in pre-production – Nolan’s films have solidified the Batman revival as one of the greatest in recent film history.
Case and point 2:- Horror Remakes. Why?
"One, two, this film will be poo"
How many times do we go down this road? If anything has never worked in Hollywood, it’s horror remakes. A cheap, lousy homage to some of the best films we’ve seen. And it’s not an exagerration….
Here’s the lowdown of remakes, their revenue, and average rating from Rotten Tomatoes (out of 100%).
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – $107 million – 36%
2. Halloween – $80 million – 26%
3. Friday The 13th – $91 million – 26%
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street – $115 million – 13%
This is an endless list. I kid you not. The main trend is not only the low critical reception, but also the gross revenue. Yeah $100 million bucks is a hell of a lot of money to us folk. But in Hollywood, it’s pretty much just nickels and dimes. They’re barely breaking even with the film’s budget, which would probably lead to low DVD sales, decreased chances of a sequel, and also a great way to polish off a 25 year old actress’ career.
The common problem with Horror in the 2000’s has been what I like to refer to as the ‘Unholy Quadruped’ of film-making…
Horror remakes flesh out all of those to great effect, on a constant basis. It’s a great discomfort when I actually saw the amount of famous slasher/thriller flicks that have been redone in the last 10 years. Just try thinking of one film that scared the crap out of you as a child, and it’s been remade. It sucks as hell because it just (metaphorically) sucked the life out of everything that made the originals memorable and literally picks the film up, and shakes it tell it’s dead and blue in the face.
And somewhere, somehow Tyler Mane always has something to do with it….(Liev Schriber took his other job…)
So, just how longer will studios go funding these films? Progressively numbing our minds with their visual PCP, and rubbing their collective hands in the process? Probably never. Although I really do wish that if there does ever come a time when films like the above are remade, they’re done with a little more class, and a little more thought.
So there, a viewpoint from both sides of the fence. Personally, I really, really loathe the idea of remakes. Sure, everyone likes a good horror flick. But when you just put in jump-scare after jump-scare it really loses it’s purpose, and that’s a mainstay in these Hollywood remakes. Dramatics with little to no effect. It’s such a waste of our money and precious time – entertain us, for fucks sake!
On the other hand though some people can get it right and change things for the better. Giving us movies that are recognisable, but still fresh. With a lasting appeal and producing a great homage to previous work. It’s just not happening enough for me to think that way.
It’s high time that production companies should be looking outside the box, and not keeping cosy on the inside – Eventually they’ll be gasping for help.