Speakers Corner: The LF Forum > Sequels, remakes and reboots

Hi there 'Liberated Irregulars'

In our next podcast, we will be looking at Reboots & remakes. The best, the worst... the ones that haven't been done but maybe should be! We are also compiling a List of the best and worst for our site.

Of course we'd like to consider the full range that's out there, so we are, as always, looking for input and suggestions that we can bring to the discussion table, so, if any of you - our listeners, friends & contributors - have anything you'd like to throw our way, please do. We will be recording the podcast one week from now (Thursday 15th) and as always anyone who contributes (whether we use it or not) will get big ups, props, and all the rest :-)

Things we will be talking about:

What's the difference between a remake & a reboot?
What's the best remake you've seen?
What's the worst?
Why can't Hollywood seem to come up with new stuff? what's with the remakes?
To Reboot or to Sequel?

September 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterDenis-Jose Francois

As far as I'm concerned, there's not a huge difference between a reboot and a remake. Essentially it serves the same purpose; studios can play it safe by using an existing name or brand that is commonly known and charge cinema goers again to see essentially the same film. The problem with remakes is that if they do anything too different from the source material they risk losing the audience who have gone to see it because of their love of the original film, but if they don't do anything new then what's the point in a remake? Remakes are often inferior to the original film they are based on because they either rely on VFX or try to modernise a story, usually missing the point that the original was making. VFX to the detriment of character development and modernisation to the point where issues are shoehorned in.

The best remake I think I've seen is the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead. It gave the character of Barbara an active role and added a more satisfying ending in my opinion and at the same time stayed very close to the plot of the original film. There might be other examples but I can't think of any just now.

The worst is probably the 2008 remake of Day of the Dead. It takes the names of the characters from the classic and the idea of a zombie plague but that's about it. You have to see it understand just how bad it is.

As I've said, Hollywood seems intent on playing it safe. With franchises it can milk and be confident about making a profit on, why would it take a chance on a new idea?

I'd argue that a sequel is preferable to a reboot. A reboot would imply that the original isn't good enough to merit a sequel being made or as mentioned before that Hollywood just wants more money for making the same film again.
A sequel, if deserved, has more change of being able to stand on it's own as something that adds to an existing franchise, further developing characters and bringing new stories. The first Alien sequel, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and the original Star Wars trilogy show that it can work. But equally if a simple cash-in is made, it can definitely taint the original. A sequel isn't always needed, but if it works it's something you never knew you wanted.

What I don't understand are English remakes of foreign films such as The Ring, The Grudge, Let the Right One in (Let Me in???) and Rec (Quarantine). Reading subtitles surely isn't enough of a problem to require remaking an entire film, and often making it completely different to the original version.

September 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris. S

some great points there chris.

A good example of a cash in would be the Highlander films. There should have been only one.

Not sure I completely agree about the foreign films though... I don't care for reading subtitles, as they are often badly timed, and just plain wrong! a good idea is just a good idea. why not make it in another language? Surely it can only boost the popularity of the original?

September 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterDenis-Jose Francois

Well Quarantine was at least a scene for scene remake of Rec so at the director kinda tried to be faithful to the original (the sequel and sequel remake were dire though). Let me in, The Ring and The Grudge were decent remakes that did right by the source material, The Ring was actually probably better than the original although the remake sequels of grudge and ringu were all straight to DVD toss.

I agree and I totally despise the need to remake successful foreign films because American's can't read though - i can't believe they are remaking Troll Hunter and have remade Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.

Chris i can't believe you have left out the remake of Dawn of the Dead - in my opinion the film that brought the zombie into the mainstream. Day of the Dead remake was shockingly bad.

September 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterDan Collacott

One of the things i've noticed is that everyone seems stumped as to why there’s a lot of these reboots, remakes and sequels.

The bottom line is: Hollywood is in the business of making money and it does so by giving the audience what it wants, and at the moment this seems to be reboots and remakes.
If the audience chose not to see such movies the production of these rehashings would be massively scaled down.
Take the Western genre, for example, which was so popular throughout much of Hollywood’s history, the gun slinging cowboy has pretty much died off.
Other than Cowboys and Aliens, which had to rely on another genre offering a unique mash-up of Westerner meets Sci-Fi, the last Western film to hit our screens that I recall was, The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008). It would seem that the audience has, for the time, ceased its relationship with the wild, wild, west.

There are a lot of complaints about the lack of originality within the Hollywood film industry (which I would agree with to a certain extent), that the Hollywood machine should put an end to its slothful ways and to take a gamble on original ideas.
Well, isn’t the onus also on the cinema-goer? What about the film fan taking a gamble on the seemingly obscure and not as heavily marketed, trinket hidden in the smallest auditorium. When was the last time that we, the ‘film fanatic,’ took a gamble on our £10 and dare walk in to see a film that wasn’t propelled by a £3m marketing machine? Get out and see the Indy films they are there; support them and more will appear at your local multiplex and for a longer period.

In my role within film exhibition, I see exactly what makes money and what doesn’t, and as a film-goer and fan it’s a bitter pill to swallow when the decision is made to cut short the life of a great film because the auditorium is empty.
One such example of providing specifically, and, more importantly, in response to demand can be found in the Senna documentary.
This was initially intended to be a small release, but due to high demand it stuck around for quite some time and went on to be screened in other parts of the country. This came about because of people power.
We need to realise that the relationship between the movie-goer and Hollywood is a symbiotic one and therefore leads to the inevitable conclusion: If Hollywood is lazy it is because the audience has grown lazy and the majority, seemingly, wants to be spoon-fed drivel at the expense of those who want an original, thought provoking, immersive cinematic experience. Thank god for Nolan!

Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, is about to screech its way onto our screens, this is a great indy flick that I urge everyone to see! This is my favourite film of the year so far and one that should stick around for ages.
So! If you want it to stay around and you want more movies like this, support it.

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNick Gordon

I think voting with our wallets is the only way. cos you're right, as long as people keep paying, hollywood will keep making.

Drive certainly has me intrigued. Hearing a lot of good things about it. Hope it's not being over hyped..

thanks again for your time on the podcast Nick!

September 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterDenis-Jose Francois

Good points Nick, although there have been a few westerns in recent years: The Assassination of Jesse James, The Proposition, Appaloosa (as well as a couple of remakes: 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit). If a remake is done well, I will watch it (True Grit for example), but I also believe there are some movies which I don't think should be remade - for probably the same reason films like Gone with the Wind and Ben Hur have not been remade (yet): the originals were good enough and can transcend the period in which they were made.... Highlander is one I can think of, not only were the sequels crap (as the original director never actually wanted to make a sequel anyway) but they are now remaking the original!

Looking forward to seeing Drive!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJono

going to see Drive tonight! Will report back!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDanandhismagictrumpet

Thanks Jono, but I believe you've missed my points.
I wasn't stating that Hollywood hasn't made any Westerners in the last decade, rather that this once popular genre that was so prolific throughout much of its history, has now been relegated to a release every once in a while because there is simply less demand for it.

And, I'm afraid to say, Ben Hur is a remake.

September 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNick Gordon

I'm not sure what the exact reason for the demise of the western is but it could be...

1) it's a very americo-centric genre.
2) it's been done to death. every possible story has been told and told well.
3) modern audiences know that the wild west is mostly fictitious. it wasn't like that at all, not even close. So there isn't even historical relevance (like pro-hibition, or war movies)

mind you, TV series like deadwood do show that there is some intrest in the setting for dramitc purposes.

Doesn't Rango count as a western?


September 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterDenis-Jose Francois

And all of your points highlight one thing:

The audience's appetite is no longer there, whatever that reason might be, and that as a direct result less Westerners are produced.

I was simply using one genre type to illustrate a point about supply and demand, which might explain the current proliferation of reboots, remakes and sequels.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNick Gordon

So... any thoughts on Total Recall?

Personally, I'm disappointing. I was hoping it would be a serious attempt at the Philip K. Dick Short Story. Unfortunately, it was just ham fisted,

September 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterDenis-Jose Francois