Time Warp

Did that MTV Rocky Horror remake ever get made? I'm guessing not - I would have heard the collective raspberry from the critics.

Did you know there were two remakes of Casablanca? And a TV series? All predictably dire and predictably forgotten. There were recently remakes of Get Carter and The Wicker Man, which everyone knew would sink without trace - everyone except those experts paid large sums by Hollywood to know what'll sink without trace.

I've actually seen the Stepford Wives remake - it was done as a comedy for no some reason, but without any laughs, even unintentional ones. I saw the Cohen Brother's remake of The Ladykillers, which would have been an okay-but-forgettable film if only they'd said it was "inspired by" the original, which effectively it was.

There was even a sort-of sequel to Rocky Horror called Shock Treatment - which has, shall we say, its own highly select cult following. Grease had a sequel and a remake, which is to say it had two footnotes even more embarrassing than the film itself.

There was a literal shot-by-shot remake of Psycho, which seems to be rooted in one of those pseudophilosophical ideas that only first year film students think is clever. I speak as an ex-film student.

Spot research for this post has reminded me of the 2006 Pink Panther movie with Steve Martin, which I'd mercifully managed to forget. And Posiden (2006), The Italian Job (2001) and the 2001 Planet of the Fucking Apes. So thanks for that, Google.

Returning to my own memory, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin sitcom has been re-booted twice - once as the American Reggie - remembered now because it was so execrable - and a more recent British remake that wasn't so bad in itself - it was just a completely pointless updating of something that didn't need any updating.

Michael Caine, commenting on the Get Carter remake, made the very valid observation that if you're going to have another go at a movie, do it with one that didn't work the first time. Though I'm not sure of the wisdom of remaking Battlefield Earth or trying I am Legend for the forth (yes, forth) time.

You could remake Mission to Mars a dozen times and eventually wind up with Red Planet...or you could just watch Red Planet. I'm perversely intrigued by how long it'd take to rehabilitate the piss stain of Black Hawk Down into the blood stain of Apocalypse Now.

Not all remakes are abysmal. Meet Joe Black was a remake of the 1934 Death Takes a Holiday, and wasn't amazing but wasn't horrible either. I'm told Battlestar Galactica was great and the 70's version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a good film in its own right. I quite like both versions of The Fly.

The Johnny Depp Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has its fans - though I confess I haven't seen it and hated the Gene Wilder version. The classic Victor/Victoria actually was a remake, as was Scarface. You could make a case that The Magnificent Seven is a direct remake of Seven Samurai.

But what do I know? I preferred The Icicle Thief to The Bicycle Thief.


  1. I watched Mission to Mars and Mission to Mars when they both came out and they both seemed mediocre to me. I was bitter about one of them (I forget which) because I saw it in the city and paid way too much for it.

    I love Battlestar Galactica and view it as far superior to the original. My dad disagrees. I read that they are going to do yet another remake, this time for the cinema.

    I was entertained yet disturbed by the new Willy Wonka. But then again, almost everything that is somehow connected with Tim Burton disturbs me.

  2. Sink without trace? I put it to you that The Wicker Man remake is a masterpiece of surrealist cinema.

  3. @David:

    Red Planet IMO scores over Misson to Mars in two areas.

    (1) The plot makes some kind of sense.
    (2) It doesn't end with the astronauts meeting spiritual glowing aliens in a giant face-on-mars.

    I watched the original Battlestar Galactica every week as a child - before realising I was rooting for the bad guys because the heroes were all so smug and annoying.

    I know what you mean about Tim Burton - but I've never had trouble with John Waters. Odd that.


    "Step Away From The Bike!"

    Yes, I think you're on to something there.

    But somehow I don't think the "accidental surrealist genius" defence will work for Showgirls or Santa Claus Defeats the Martians

  4. I wish you could you could have experienced the ride, Mission: Space ride that they have at Epcot, Walt Disney World, which is based on that movie. I went on it when it first came out. When we got off, I felt sick to my stomach and almost puked. Naturally, I got back in line... to see if it was just a fluke (it wasn't). Unfortunately too many other people got ill, and some died so they had to decrease the intensity. It's not as good any more. :(

  5. Remakes make me crazy!

    I’m struggling to think of just ONE that worked and so far, all I’ve come up with (and this is a matter of personal opinion), is Cape Fear.

    I wish Hollywood would come up with original ideas and forget all this nonsense about remakes.

  6. Luv the re imaged Battlestar Galactica! Way better than the original.

    I've seen both versions of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory...I like the Johnny Depp version because it's quirky and funnier than the original. I liked the Magnificent Seven because of Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen.

    Most remakes suck. I find spoofs, even porn ones, offer more imagination and better entertainment. My fave has to be Flesh Gordon, and I luv it just as much as the original, Flash Gordon!