I was looking online the other day for “Lost”, wondering when the new season would start (I never found out, exactly, though I seem to remember it’s January or February of 2009), when I came across the little tidbit that Land of the Lost is being made into a movie, coming out in 2009. I know this labels me as lame forever, and my brother was embarrassed at the time to be related to me, but I LOVED “Land of the Lost” when I was 8 years old. Oh Holly, how difficult to have to grow up without your mom, in a land of dinosaurs and Sleestack…the danger always present, the fight to survive strong in this small family.
I don’t know if this is a good idea or not. We won’t know until the movie comes out. I thought I might put together a Thursday Thirteen, though, about other remakes, and whether I think they were a good idea or not. I’m limiting my list to remakes where I’ve seen both versions, the original and the new. So though I saw Cape Fear in 1991, I never saw the original, so I can’t include it.
- Charlie/Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I didn’t think I would like the remake. Why try to improve on the genius of Gene Wilder in the original? He was crazy funny. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp succeeded by NOT trying to improve on the original, and instead re-imagined it, following the book much more closely, and making a Willy Wonka that reminds you of no-one so much as Michael Jackson, though not nearly as scary.
- Planet of the Apes
I thought I would like this one, because I like Tim Burton, and I liked the original so darned much. It was campy fun meets sci-fi at its best, so what’s not to love? Turns out, blah, boring, dumb.
- Father of the Bride
I liked the original a lot better than the remake. I liked all of the actors in the remake, but for some reason, the poignancy of Spencer Tracy’s fear of losing his daughter came through better than Steve Martin’s. I don’t blame Steve Martin. I blame the script and direction.
- The Wizard of Oz/The Wiz
Please don’t hate me. I really liked the Wiz. Better than the Wizard of Oz. Ouch! That brick you just threw at my head really hurt!
- King Kong
I didn’t see the most recent in this franchise, but I saw both the 1933 and 1976 versions. I don’t really like these movies. There’s a racial and mean undertone to them that gives me a bit of the willies. But it was fun watching the 1976 version while my mom was in the other room, also watching Fantasy Island. Flipping back and forth, and Richard and I confusing my mom about what stupid show we were watching. No, it’s really not that funny. But it was fun at the time.
This film gives me the creeps a lot more than the book does. Though the book is worse. The beauty of the writing kind of lulls you into a stupor where you start to perhaps maybe sympathize with Humbert Humbert, even while your skin crawls and your heart genuinely goes out to poor Lolita. The films never quite manage that. I don’t know that they ever can.
- Wings of Desire/City of Angels
I liked Wings of Desire. It had heart, it was beautiful, it meant something. I hated City of Angels. It was almost a caricature of Wings of Desire. When Meg Ryan is riding her bike on the side of a mountain with no hands and her eyes shut, I’m just thinking, “Die, you idiot, who rides a bike that way? No one with a frikkin’ BRAIN!”
- Shop Around the Corner/You’ve Got Mail
I thought Shop Around the Corner was cute, and I thought You’ve Got Mail sucked. I know, people loved it. But Meg Ryan bugged the crap out of me, and I didn’t think that Tom Hanks had any charm either. I loved them in Sleepless in Seattle. Maybe they work better together when they don’t have many scenes together? I don’t know.
- Against All Odds/Out of the Past
Out of the Past was one of the original film noirs, and it took place in my very favorite city, San Francisco. I want to love it. I feel like it will make me seem smart if I love it. But it’s kind of boring. But Against All Odds was at least interesting, and Rachael Ward was smokin’ hot, and I love me some James Woods in all his creepy ickyness. Loved it. I know, Out of the Past is better. I don’t care.
- Star Trek (from TV to movie to TV again)
This isn’t so much a remake as a sequel, so I shouldn’t count it. But it’s so famous, I’ll include it. Loved the original series, the movies were good (the even ones, the odd ones sucked), and the series were varied. Loved Next Generation, and they kind of got slowly worse from there, to the point where we got to Enterprise, which was just so-so and fairly boring.
We saw the remake of this, and it was actually pretty funny and cute. But there’s no way in hell anyone can top Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. No way.
- Henry V
I loved loved lurved both versions of this, both Olivier and Branagh. Maybe it’s the genius of Shakespeare. I suspect, though, they’re both gifted actors and directors. I loved them both. Glad it was remade so I could see another, excellent version of this wonderful play.
- A Little Princess
I liked the ’95 version so much better than the Shirley Temple version (though I love Shirley Temple, do not get me wrong). But neither one comes close to the compassion and depth of the book. The stupid dad in the hospital thing, which is in both movies, just ruins it for me. The whole heart to the book was that Sara’s father was actually dead, and that she was able to befriend and forgive the man who was (inadvertently) involved in his death. Also lost in the films is Sara’s strength of character in staying kind and giving no matter what the odds (starvation, neglect, cruelty, abuse), because of her desire to live her life like a princess. Hence the name.
How about you? What remakes do you love or hate?