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February 04, 2009

Now Predator to Be Remade/Rebooted, with Robert Rodgriguez Attached

Whichever. Not sure.

Fun fact you probably already know: Jean-Claude Van Damme played the Predator originally. They had in mind a small, agile predator. Like space monkey Gleep.

But they realized it wasn't working -- the bad guy should be more imposing than the hero -- so they shut down production for like six weeks, redesigned the predator, cast a giant in the role, and re-shot the Predator parts.

The Trouble with Remakes: is this -- the filmmakers can't really simply remake the best, most memorable parts of the movies they're remaking. That would be "copying," and audiences would be annoyed at the re-do. So they do the good parts in a different way.

The trouble is, the original film got those parts right. And there are a thousand ways to screw up any particular movie but only one or two ways to get them right. So, the original film having gotten those parts right-- what do you think the odds are the remake will somehow manage to stumble upon the only other way of making it work at all?

Like, zero.

The awful Planet of the Apes remake tried to contrive a same-but-different "surprise ending" twist. They went through all this complex connivance of time portals opening at different times just to get the same payoff -- kinda -- as in the first one. Trouble was, not only had we seen that basic ending before, but we'd seen it simpler, starker, and more effectively once before; the new "surprise" ending was too cute by half and too complicated to have even 5% of the impact of the first. *

The Robocop remake won't remake the parts of that movie that really elevated it above the ordinary -- namely, Robocop's creepy-yet-understandable stalking of his onetime wife, and his ultimate recovery of his humanity with the simple invocation of his name, "Murphy" -- because that's been done. Instead they'll jigger up some obscure and complex emotional arc that's sort of like the first one but just different enough to leave the audience cold (and possibly scratching their heads).

I guess that's why they say don't remake moves that worked. The stuff you have to toss out in order to make the movie fresh is the stuff that worked the first time, and the odds of your coming up with something nearly as good are extraordinarily low.

* Charleton Heston really should have realized he was on Earth from the beginning. Not only was he in a world of horses and apes, but the apes spoke English.

Kind of a tip-off.

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posted by Ace at 02:03 PM

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