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December 16, 2008

11 Sci-Fi Remakes in Development
Bonus: Wolverine Trailer Added

The article says 13 but at least two (Terminator and Ghostbusters) aren't remakes but sequels in the existing cycle. Among the more interesting ones: Logan's Run, Westworld, Robocop, and even Flash Gordon.

The supposed rule of remakes is that you're not supposed to remake a great film -- if the original guys got it right the first time, all you can do is screw it up. (Even if you do a nearly shot-for-shot "recreation," like that awful refilming of Psycho. Perhaps especially if you do that.)

If you're going to do a remake, remake a bad movie, or at least a movie that had potential but didn't quite come off.

Based on that idea, Robocop shouldn't be remade. For one thing, it's a good movie. For another thing, the special effects still pretty much hold up. Sure, you can do a CGI ED-209, but is it going to be any better than the old stop-motion double-exposure version? No, it's not. It will just be faster. A big problem with CGI guys is that they have literally no limits as to what they can do in animating computer generated characters, and they inevitably decide to show off by just making things move faster... which often doesn't work, as it just doesn't look right to see large creatures (Godzilla, the Scorpion King) moving at 140 miles per hour. Big creatures should be more lumbering.

But the others... well, there's a lot of room for improvement with Logan's Run and Flash Gordon. Both movies are remembered fondly by Geeks of a Certain Age, but not really for good reasons. For the camp of it, mostly.

Best bet? Flash Gordon. It's got a pretty nifty premise, there's no way in hell it will be compared to the 1980 film (no one could or would try to remake that strangely compelling mess), and we could use another sci-fi movie that's just a fun pulp ride. <>Star Wars was once like that, until George Lucas began conceiving of his prequels as Important, Adult Movies with Vital Messages About Present-Day Politics.

Westworld is kinda in the middle. The movie as a whole was very cheaply made, there wasn't much going on for long stretches of it, and the premise is pretty silly. On the other hand, they got the selling point of the movie -- the Black Hatted Cowboy Robot's long, silent pursuit of the hero through the ruins of the park -- pretty much right (how can you top Yul Brenner for laconic cowboy menace?). So they can make the bad parts better, but they'll make the good parts worse.

Another movie in development is a Forbidden Planet remake. I know that's considered a big classic but I haven't seen it.

Oh: And Dune, yet again. At some point someone has to get this right, I guess. They've got actor-turned-pretty-good-director Peter Berg at the helm. I actually think he may get it right.

A lot of times directors who do this kind of movie are pretty jaded about genre films and so they lard them up with either auteur-like flourishes and pomposities (see, for example, Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula, or, actually, David Lynch's Dune) or insipid camp (see, among a whole host of others, Joel Schumacher's Batman gay fashion parade). Peter Berg is a good pick for this kind of material because he's a pretty good director but new enough at it that he's not jaded (yet), so he doesn't feel the need to either show off or spoof his own movie to demonstrate he's "above the material" and make it plain he's just doing it for the paycheck.

Wolverine Trailer: Allah's unimpressed, but I think it looks just swell.

Liev Schreiber as a bad guy. And, finally: Gambit. Who was the hot X-Man like, um, 15 to 20 years ago. But still. I remember him from when I used to care.


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posted by Ace at 03:59 PM

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