By staff writer John Marcher
September 19, 2007
Miami Vice. The Dukes of Hazard. Starsky and Hutch. Rocky Balboa. The Wicker Man. Poseidon. What do all of these movies have in common? They suck. Oh, yeah and they’re all remakes of previously successful franchises from a bygone era.
I just named those titles off the top of my head, but I think we’re all aware there have been a plethora of shitty remakes in recent times. For some ungodly reason, the people in charge of deciding which movies get made and which ones don’t, keep choosing films that play off of the success of previous movies or television shows. And, most importantly, these remakes consistently suck ass.
I have, up until now, kept mostly quiet about this phenomenon. Quiet in the sense that if you haven’t gone to the movies with me in the past 3-5 years you wouldn’t otherwise know how much this pisses me off, or how much I love Junior Mints. But recently I became aware that Warner Bros. is making a CGI-animated feature film of Thundercats. That’s right, you heard me correctly, the Thundercats.
“Remakes limit the potential for quality with no regard for the actual product and total regard for its marketability.”
I have no earthly idea what makes Warner Bros. think that they can desecrate one of my most treasured childhood memories in the name of profit, but I will be damned if I am going to sit by silently while the proud legacy of Lion-O and company is tarnished. Why don’t they just sexually violate my Teddy Ruxpin? Or MacGyver (verb) my favorite glowworm into a bong? Actually, that last one might not be a bad idea…but I think you get my point. It is because of this most egregious violation that I have been called into action to educate the masses about how remaking classic television shows and movies are destroying the very fabric of our society.
When I make the statement that remakes suck, I don’t mean it in the generic sense of “a movie by default has to be terrible because it’s a remake,” I mean every remake that has taken place recently has been absolutely horrible. This is for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that a lot of the shows and movies that have been chosen to remake sucked themselves to begin with.
Take The Dukes of Hazzard for example. Has anyone out there ever actually watched this show? I’m sad to say that on one or two occasions I caught the original series on the old TNN, and like most television from the early 1980’s, it was terrible. The writing sucked, the acting sucked, and the only things that made it worth watching were the car chases and Daisy Duke. The movie starred Johnny Knoxville (of Jackass fame) and Sean William Scott (of Stiffler fame), and was directed by Jay Chandrasekhar (of Super Troopers fame). Not a bad lineup to be quite honest, but guess what? The writing sucked, the acting sucked, and the only things that made it worth watching were the car chases and Daisy Duke. Go figure.
The point is, when you start off with something shitty, and attempt to remake it, odds are high that said remake will in fact reflect the inherent shittiness of the original product.
The other problem with remaking a movie is that almost by definition, the remake can never be better than the original. Quick, name a sequel that was better than its predecessor? (The Godfather II doesn’t count—both movies were taken from the same book—and Poison Ivy 3 is an anomaly.) You can’t, because a sequel (or a remake) is premised on the success of its predecessor. And that’s really the central point of my opine here today: remakes and sequels are centered on cashing in on the success of previous accomplishments and nothing else.
When Stallone set out to make a sixth and supposedly final Rocky movie in this years’ Rocky Balboa, was it about expressing himself as an artist? Or maybe filling in the last vestiges of the Rocky story? Fuck no, it was about getting paid. We’ve explored the Rocky phenomenon thoroughly, if not overly so, in the preceding five films. He’s a boxer, he gets the crap beat out of him, and he invariably wins the fight for his wife/trainer/country. But if the same exact movie had come out under any other name, it would have sold a quarter of the tickets that it did. When you remake a movie, you’re essentially hoping that the same people who watched and enjoyed the original will want to see more. You’re limiting the potential for quality at the onset with no regard for the actual product and total regard for its marketability.
In the past couple of months alone I’ve heard about a whole new slew of remakes that are up and coming outside of Thundercats. I hear there is a new Indiana Jones movie starring Harrison Ford and Shia Lebouf. They are doing a Get Smart movie with Steve Carrell. I even heard there’s a Welcome Back, Kotter movie in the works.
What the fuck is going on in this sick and twisted world we live in?
Indiana Jones is a tried and true part of Americana. References to its awesomeness are ripe throughout modern culture and it’s a prime example of the simple fact that sometimes you should just leave well enough alone.
Get Smart was a popular television show back in the 1960’s—50 fucking years ago. The odds of a single person being a fan of that show and even knowing who Steve Carrell is at the same time are in the quadrillions to one.
Welcome Back, Kotter? Are you fucking kidding me? Where the fuck are they going to go with this script? What the fuck is left to be explored in the universe of Mr. Kotter and the sweathogs? Oh yeah, that’s right, Ice Cube just signed on to play Mr. Kotter. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? That’s edgy! It’ll keep me on the edge of my seat for a solid 120 plus, that’s for sure.
What needs to be realized is it’s not just the shittiness of the subpar sequel or remake itself, but also the fact that it derides the quality of the series as a whole. It’s The Godfather III phenomenon; not only did that movie suck fat wang in and of itself, it brought down the respectability and relative enjoyability of the previous two movies by attaching itself to an otherwise unfettered pedigree of excellence.
This all makes me wonder what the fuck is going on over in the Library of Congress. Isn’t this what that whole institution was set up to do in the first place? They should be cataloging all these kick-ass movies and television shows and stopping people from making shitty remakes out of them. End of story. We have government positions for every imaginable act on earth and we can’t get a few lazy asses to screen new movies and bar the ones that desecrate the very story they seek to continue? How many people do you need to tell you the remake of War of the Worlds sucked ass? About one. Thank you. You might even be able to train some sort of primate. Congress should get off their lazy asses and start making a veritable contribution to society instead of writing checks for the war and sucking dick in the bathroom.
To summarize, when you start off with something shitty, and attempt to remake it, odds are high that it will remain shitty. So next summer when you see Panthro chugging a Red Bull and driving the Chevy ThunderTank across the field of battle, brought to you by Nextel, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Do yourself and all Thunderians far and wide a favor: get yourself a large box of Junior Mints and sit tight, because the end of shitty remakes and sequels isn’t anywhere in sight.