The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Why Do Remakes Have To Kill Franchises?

Posted by BigWords on September 16, 2009

Having just sat through Death Race I have to ask this question. It should have ended with the chick standing on the roof of the car in the Frankenstein mask, the cutaway signifying the possible escape of the drivers. It ran on a few minutes longer, with an ending which was completely unnecessary and destroyed my interest in seeing a sequel. I have to make it clear, straight off the bat, that I’m a big fan of the original, and the thought that this would be similarly laced with barbed commentary appealed to me.

Wow, was I wrong about that or what?

It could have set up a great B-Movie franchise of explosions, gratuitous violence and general mayhem, but after the add-on scenes set in Mexico I’m not sure a sequel would even be possible. It isn’t as if creating a kick-ass franchise is difficult, as even the abysmal Butterfly Effect has managed to drag on to three equally yawn-inducing installments. As for the craptastic remake of The Omen, the least said the better…

Why are remakes so hard to get right? I’m not going to include the constantly revised stuff here, because anything with Sherlock Holmes or Batman is going to be revamped in a few years anyway (and Batman currently has a few versions available), so this is centered solely on fresh remakes on dead properties. Such as Planet Of The Apes.

Rule One (which must be obeyed at all costs) is that a remake must engage the fans of the original. Halloween (which was too slow and too retro) missed a few vital pointers from the original and demystified Michael Myers to a degree that it wasn’t really a horror film. It wanted to be taken seriously, but when there is an audience waiting on a certain type of film, they’re going to react badly when they see something that doesn’t push their buttons.

Rule Two is don’t fuck up the ending. This is where I ought to launch into a “What the Hell is the point of Tim Burton?” rant, but I really don’t care to expend energy attacking someone who doesn’t even have the courtesy to learn about the subject of his films before he starts directing.

Anyone who makes a comic-book movie having never looked at the comics is a fucking hack.

And a pretty useless one at that. There are at least a dozen major problems with the first Batman film, and even an awesome Batmobile can’t save the film from the dumbest ending ever. Who in their right mind kills off the Joker? Then he compounds his errors with the Planet Of The Apes, where he kills the potential series with a completely uncalled for coda in which… Sorry, I can’t even bring myself to relay the end of the story.

Anyways…

Rule Three. Don’t betray the fans of the original. As if having to watch Tom (not gay) Cruise running around in Mission: Impossible, we find out that the heroic Jim Phelps betrayed the IMF. Really? The same Jim Phelps who put his ass on the line every week to save the world? The man who put more villainous dictators in their place than Dubya could ever wet dream of? It was a slap in the face to the fans of the original series, and an insult to intelligent viewers.

Rule Four. Don’t remake Casablanca.

Rule Five. Big robots fighting each other over a Rubix cube isn’t big and isn’t clever.

Rule Six. Never let Pitof direct.

Addendum to rule six: Never let Uwe Boll direct. Anything.

Rule Seven. Just because everyone else is doing a _____ film, doesn’t mean you have to resurrect a crap franchise to cash in. I’m half dreading the announcement that some half-assed reimagining of an old cartoon will be appearing in cinemas soon, because it nearly always turns out to be a bad idea. If you need proof that it’s not a way to appease fans, then just look at the mess which Transformers made of its source material.

Rule Eight. Always keep the villain alive for the sequel.

I’ll add to this when I pluck up enough courage to watch what Uwe Boll did to Far Cry, and I suppose that I’ll have rules for making films based on computer games as well. I may even have to watch Super Mario Bros for that, so I might have to sober up before posting my thoughts. If I watch Tomb Raider I’ll need to be really drunk…

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