From updates of the classic Stephen King horror film “Carrie” to the Cold War invasion flick “Red Dawn” to sci-fi favorite “RoboCop,” Hollywood’s line-up of films seems to be including progressively more and more remakes and reboots. Although some of these films have been successful — the 2012 Spider-Man reboot is already getting a sequel, less than a decade after the original series wrapped up — many have earned criticism and haven’t managed to live up to the original movies they were based on.
It can be frustrating for film fans to watch studios try to recreate the magic of a well-loved movie, and there are some classics that shouldn’t be touched (i.e. it just doesn’t seem right to remake a movie like “Casablanca” or “E.T.”). However, instead of trying to remake movies that worked well the first time — as Hollywood seems to focus on — there are plenty of films that fell a little short of greatness that might be worth taking a second look at.
Here are several films I’d like to see remade or rebooted, and I’d also love to hear what movies you’d like to see Hollywood take another shot at someday.
“Green Lantern” (2011)
“Green Lantern” had a rough ride when it was released in 2011. In a summer that saw two successful Marvel movies — “Thor” and “Captain America” — as well as a well-made and well-cast X-Men prequel, “First Class,” “Green Lantern” was left as the odd man out. It floundered at the box office and all but killed Warner Bros.’ hopes for a new superhero franchise.
While “Green Lantern” didn’t completely live up to its potential, I hope film makers do circle back around to the character eventually, especially as Warner Bros. is looking to build up to a “Justice League” film. I like the idea of a superhero story set in space. It offers a different perspective than the gritty realism of Batman, or the more fantasy flavor of Thor. I think one of “Green Lantern’s” biggest downfalls was not truly taking advantage of the sci-fi elements of the story. Most of the action took place on Earth, and the film might have been more interesting if the plot had included more time on the planet and introduced viewers to a wider range of alien characters.
A stronger, more memorable villain character also may have helped the Green Lantern film, and a reboot could maybe tie the film more closely into the new DC Comics movie universe set up in “Man of Steel” and the upcoming Superman-Batman film. However, a challenge this reboot will face is the fact Marvel is coming out with its own sci-fi superhero movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” in 2014.
The “Twilight” series, which wrapped up last year, has been an interesting phenomenon. It has inspired equal amounts of devotion and hatred from different camps and brought renewed interest to the vampire genre. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the films, but I still think there are interesting places they could take the series’ premise. In the first movie, there’s a flashback scene that shows how Edward Cullen became a vampire in the early 1900s, and for the rest of the movie, I kept thinking back to that scene and imagining what the movie would have been like if it had been filmed as a period drama, rather than setting it in the modern day.
There’s probably no way this will ever happen, 😉 but I’d like to see someone recast the “Twilight” series and retell the story in the early 1900s. It would be interesting to see how the story would play with a touch of “Downton Abbey”: perhaps Edward could be a nobleman who is secretly a vampire, and Bella Swan could be a maid who works in the household. This would bring an element of upstairs/downstairs drama and class struggle to the film, in addition to the vampire/human dynamic. It also would be nice to see a film dwell more on the impact of Bella’s choice: should she become a vampire so she can be with Edward forever, or is losing her humanity too high a price for her to pay? I felt the original films glossed over this issue, and Bella never really reflected on what she’d lose by choosing to give up being a human. I also wouldn’t complain if they threw in a few sword duels or a slight touch of steampunk (and witty dialogue!) as well. 😉
“This Means War” (2012)
As I walked out of the theater after watching “This Means War” — an espionage-themed romcom starring Chris Pine and Tom Hardy — I remember feeling frustrated. Not just because the film wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped it would be, but because the concept had so much potential.
The film follows two spies and best friends, played by Pine and Hardy, who end up falling in love with the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). Needless to say, this drives a wedge in their friendship and distracts them from their work, including an international criminal looking for revenge.
Pine and Hardy had a great “odd couple” chemistry in the film, and their banter was the best part of the movie for me. However, their warring romance with Witherspoon’s character didn’t work quite as well. I felt like the film makers were trying to make her character ditzy and a “femme fatale” at the same time, and the tone seemed a bit off. Chelsea Handler also was a little too crude as Witherspoon’s character’s best friend, and the ending of the movie didn’t quite feel right either.
Still, the film definitely had a fun premise, and an espionage flavored romcom was a good idea. If the studio could remake the movie, it might have been fun to see more time with Pine and Hardy working together in the field. It also might have been interesting to have Witherspoon’s character — whom the friends fall in love with — actually turn out to be a double agent who’s been conning both of them in order to get information about the CIA. The friends are fighting with each other about her, and don’t realize until the end of the movie they’ve actually been duped.
“King Arthur” (2004)
The King Arthur story has been retold many times throughout Hollywood’s history. The elements of the legend are familiar: the knights of the round table, the enchanted sword in the stone, and the lady of the lake. The most recent film version I’ve seen is Antoine Fuqua’s 2004 version (starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley), which takes a more “historical” approach and leaves out the more magical/fantasy elements of the story.
While originally I thought it might be interesting to see a grittier, more realistic take on the story, this version lost some of the epic grandeur that’s always been part of the Arthurian legends. Another fairly recent “King Arthur” film, “First Knight” (1995), also left out the magical elements of the story.
Even though the Arthurian story has already been told many times on film, it’s such a rich legend I think there’s always room for another big screen retelling. The BBC has an excellent TV series called “Merlin” that does a good job blending the fantasy, magic, action and romance elements of the story, and I’d like to see someone try to bring this flavor to the big screen as a big-budget fantasy epic. I haven’t seen the 1981 movie “Excalibur” (which received a mixed reaction from critics), but the plot summary makes it sound like a strong possibility for a remake. I’ve always thought Ewan McGregor would make an interesting King Arthur. Or, a sci-fi version of the King Arthur story might be interesting, as well.