Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Hollywood: Stop Murdering Iconic Films!!

I love films....I do....but I have had enough!!! (Be warned....I am about to rant!!!)

If I was to ask you to name your top 10 iconic movies of all time I would bet that somewhere in your list would be Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Planet of the Apes and Stepford Wives.....three absolutely blinding films. (Even if you're not actually a big film fan you will have heard of them and will probably know the scenes that they are famous for). Now, I don't have a major problem with Hollywood updating films, you know, good ones that are very dated but I do have a major problem when they take a wonderful film and murder it!!!

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a great example. It was originally filmed in 1956 and then updated in 1978. The updated version built upon the original......job titles were changed, decor and household items updated and at the end, as was originally intended, it hammered home the feeling that there was no hope for the human race. It also added, in my humble opinion, some great little touches for example in the 1956 version the Pod people just pointed when they were in the presence of a non-duplicated human. The 1978 Pod people pointed and emanated a piercing, alien-like scream which struck fear into the heart (Fab idea that worked brilliantly). There is no doubt about it....this was a superb remake!! Then in 2007 Hollywood decided that it should be updated again...there are lots of reasons why this remake was completely crap but the main one, for me, was the ending.....Scientists create an airborne vaccine and everyone lives happily ever after!! (WTF??). It had been 'Hollywoodised' and they had completely and utterly ruined it!! (Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig you should be ashamed of yourselves!!!).

So what were the other two on my list.....oh yes....Planet of the Apes. 'Now here is a film that would benefit from updating' I thought 'Yep, with the advances in special effects and make up....this film could be something really special!!!' Did Hollywood make us something special? No!! They messed about with the plot and the timeline and gave us a downright crappy ending!! Why oh why couldn't they just have gone for an updated version of the film that built on the strengths of the first one?? The original film has one of the best endings I have ever think the astronaut is stranded on some alien planet ruled by apes where humans are viewed as vermin, he and his girlfriend are riding along the shore on their way to start a new life, he sees something which makes him stop the horse, get off and then drop to his knees......the camera pans back to reveal the remnants of the Statue of Liberty half-submerged in the shoreline. Like the character you can't quite believe what your seeing....this isn't some alien's Earth!! Awe inspiring stuff!! The remake, well, I think the only thing that the two films have in common is the title and that they both featured apes!!!

Last but not least, The Stepford Wives. The original film was released in 1975 and was based on a novel by the same name written by Ira Levin. The premise involves the married men of Stepford replacing their wives with perfectly groomed and easily controllable robots. It's a very tense film and has an ending that leaves you perched on the edge of your seat.....when you see Joanna gliding through the local supermarket *shudders*. (The fact that a woman can now be described as a 'Stepford Wife' shows just how iconic this film is!!) The 2004 remake.....*sighs*......well, it is just bloody awful with more plot holes than swiss cheese!! You need an example? Ok, despite one of the women dispensing money from her mouth and another having sparks coming from her head we are told that the women have not been replaced by robots they are simply implanted with microchips who's effects are fully reversible (And we're expected to believe this? Didn't she have sparks coming out of her head?). Again, instead of updating the film, Hollywood have messed around with it!! The 2004 Stepford Wives doesn't make any sense and has a nice shiny happy ending which ruins it completely!! (Nicole Kidman....the finger is pointing at you again!!)

How many times have you gone to see a film and at the end thought 'Well, it was a bit pants but the idea behind it was good'? or finished a book and thought 'That was brilliant!! It would make a brilliant film'? I've done it loads of time!!

I tell you, I'm seriously considering starting a campaign.....get people to sign a petition saying no to crappy re-makes and to suggest 'good idea' films or great books that should be made instead. What do you think?


ladyfi said...

Oh, the horror of the remake. I am particularly fond of Sutherland pointing and screaming at the end of the 78 film of The Body Snatchers. Poor classic!

Debs said...

I much prefer the originals. They're far better and more atmospheric. I just hope they don't remake the VIPs, or Barefoot in the Park, two of my favourites.

JoeinVegas said...

Agreement here. I haven't seen a remake yet that matched an original. Unfortunately the younger audiences usually only get to see the new one.

Mark said...

I agree - remakes are usually rubbish. The new version of Get Carter is a tragedy.

Interesting, there are seldom attempts to remake in other arts (theatre is an exception, like film) - imagine updating Jayne Eyre or re-writing Mahler - it would just be odd.

In painting there is long history of 'transposition' (for example, Francis Bacon's responses to some of Van Gogh paintings) but that is a different thing to a remake - it is a 'response' to great art and not an attempt to rehash it. Anyhow, I'm going on as usual...

HelenMHunt said...

I must admit, I think there are so many things out there that could be dramatised successfully that I usually sigh when I hear that yet another remake of something that has already been done is planned. I agree with you that some things have already been done really well - so why redo them? But also some things have been done to death. Another remake of Jane Eyre anyone?

Janice said...

Can you believe they've remade the TV drama Reggie Perrin - ooooh you;re probably too young to remember the orgininal, but it's just sad sad sad. No-one can compare with Leonard Rossiter. Why would they doooo that?!

Carol and Chris said...

Ladyfi - I don't mind when it's done well but when they mess about with the plot and give them a happy ending...well, I wish that they would leave them alone!!

Yay to Donald Sutherland....I wrote that yesterday and then really really wanted to watch the movie!!!

Debs - Oh me too!! I just don't understand why they can't come up with something new!!

Joeinvegas - Yeah, then you say 'You must watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers it's a brilliant film' and they look at you like you have three heads!! Then you say 'Not the remake...the original' and they think you are positively ancient!! Can't win!!

Mark - I've not seen it but I think I will give it a body swerve!!

That's a very good point!! Although in saying that have you ever read any of Jasper Fford's book? The Eyre Affair is very clever!!

When I was in Thailand I saw a book that comprised of up-and-coming artists takes on classic paintings....there were some really interesting interpretations!! (I've just tried to google it but not come up with anything)

Helen - I agree with you!! There are so many good books out there that could be adapted into amazing films but they are never touched!! I guess the people in Hollywood are not brave enough...they would rather go for the tried and tested method!!

Janice - I've seen clips of the old one and it had a charm that the new one just doesn't have!! They should look for new ideas rather than try and rehash old ones!!

C x

JJ Beattie said...

Hmmm, none of those films would appear anywhere on any of my favourite films lists, but you know, I take your point. Stepford Wives (the remake) was terrible. And any film where people are dressed up as apes is a film to be avoided in my opinion...

Misssy M said...

Who controls the rights...that's your problem. If it were the directors or even the original writers we'd be fine. But it's the studios. So we're doomed. I live in mortal fear of them ever remaking Some Like it Hot. It was mooted a while back to be remade with Scarlett Johannsen. But an army of trannies must have taken to the streets in protest.

An interesting question would be -Which remake was BETTER than the original? - I think your 1970s Invasion of the Bodysnatchers for sure. But which others? Very tricky.

Carol and Chris said...

JJ - Let me put this to would you feel if they announced a remake of Tootsie and Bruce Willis was going to play Dorothy? Doesn't bare thinking about does it!!

Misssy M - Some Like it Hot is one of my favourite films ever...the casting was just perfect!! And the last line....'Well, nobody's perfect!!'...makes me roar with laughter every time I hear it!! I seriously hope they stay well away from it....I don't think it could ever be bettered!!

Chris and I have put our heads together and the only one we can come up with is 'The Thing' and I've heard that it's being considered for yet another remake!! *sigh*

C x

Carol and Chris said...

Missy M - Oh, and Lord of the Rings!! It only ever had the first part made previously or it's been done in cartoon form...

C x

Ann said...

About 10 years ago I came across a book called Stepford Wives, oh this looks interesting thought I, it was indeed, in fact it became one of the best books I have read, I set out to find the film, it was wonderful, and faithful to the book.
Then you hear of a remake, oh great thinks I, shall enjoy this, it was utterly appalling, they turned something great into a joke, were they trying to be politically correct, or were they just plain stupid.
I agree with your other two synopsis, great films ruined, how or why can they do this, I will never understand.
I agree with Mark, the new version of Get Carter was abysmal, within 10 minutes I had lost the will to live.
I for one will sign your petition Carol.

Ann said...

The Italian Job, another film ruined.

Carol and Chris said...

Ann - Thank you's nice to know that it's not just me that groans in pain when I hear that there is yet another remake on the way!!

Thanks for the warning....I've not seen the new Italian Job but since you agree with my rant I shall avoid that one too :-)

C x

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