Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Am I Going To Have To Choke A Studio Executive?

A few days ago, Slash Film reported that David Cronenberg's classic sci-fi horror film Videodrome was set to be remade by Universal.

Yes, you are about to read another of my anti-Hollywood remake rants. As long as they keep doing this injustice to cinema, I will keep complaining.

It's a shame that the people who make decisions at the major film studios are presumably businessmen and women rather than fans or prodigies of cinema. Instead, they seem to mainly care about what will get them the biggest bang for the buck. A popular method to do this has been to either base a film off some sort of source material (The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Transformers -- while solid and respectable films, none of these are exactly original concepts or ideas) or to remake a classic film from the vaults (sometimes popular, sometimes not). Even this past week's highest grossing film, Obsessed, was just Fatal Attraction in new skin.

Finding truly original ideas in the big business cinemas is tricky. It's not that they don't exist, but go count all the hyped up blockbuster films for this spring and summer, you won't see many of them there. There's something about the way this all works that boggles my mind. How Hollywood and the film studios manage to pass these creations off as must-see pieces of work is a marketing phenomenon of its own. Nothing outside of the fact that these films are based off of legendary source materials (Wolverine, Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation, etc.) gives the studio the right to tell us as consumers that this is their big film of the summer. You'll never find them caring that way about a smaller independent picture until it wins a boatload of Oscars.

Maybe only in my strange mind does this all come full circle with the concept of remakes. Sure, there have been good remakes. John Carpenter's The Thing and David Cronenberg's The Fly are two that always immediately ring a bell. Unfortunately, most filmmakers that do remakes these days don't come close to having minds as brilliant as those two do. Carpenter and Cronenberg are visionary filmmakers and have been able to completely separate themselves form the rest of the pack because of it.

This leads me to my next point. Videodrome without David Cronenberg is a disaster waiting to happen. The original film (ugh, I hate having to call it that!) is an absolutely brilliant film and screenplay, a true sign of a modern day auteur. The film is his vision. It was all carefully crafted by Cronenberg. Videodrome is one of the strangest, weirdest and most unique films to be released in the past few decades. It's a film that has a very strong following, but is still somewhat unknown to the average puppet of the mainstream.

This is why when I read that Ehren Kruger is set to write the remake, my head starts hurting uncontrollably. Kruger has experience in writing screenplays for remakes. He was responsible for the American versions of The Ring and The Ring Two, as well as The Skeleton Key. Interestingly enough, he is one of the main screenwriters for the upcoming Transformers sequel. Lovely.

To add to the pain, a quote in a Variety article announcing the remakes, claims that the remake will “infuse it with the possibilities of nano-technology and blow it up into a large-scale sci-fi action thriller.” I want to fucking kill someone after reading that state. A large-scale sci-fi action thriller? Are you fucking shitting me? Excuse my language, but this has really got me heated. I can see it now: Roland Emmerich will be hired to throw in some of his tired destructive sequences that has built his career and he's glamorizing in his next film, 2012. And I haven't even touched on the stupidity that is nano-technology yet.

A large-scale sci-fi action thriller? ARE YOU STILL FUCKING SHITTING ME? Ugh. This has pointless written all over it. At least hold on to some artistic integrity if you're going to remake such a film. Videodrome is seen as one of the greatest films in the genre to fans alike. It is one of my personal favorite films of all time, so you can understand how such an injustice pains me. I know what you might be saying. This film doesn't even have a director or cast yet and it isn't even close to being started! I understand, trust me. But judging from the quality of remakes released in the recent past, the writer behind it all, and that god-awful quote about it being a large-scale action thriller, I don't need to wait to know that this film will suck.

Each and every time a new remake is announced, I wonder how far Hollywood will go promoting this scam. This pretty much answers it. They aren't afraid of anything. When's that Citizen Kane remake starring Nicolas Cage due out?

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