Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Replanning of Plan 9

People find it easy to say that Edward D. Wood is the worst director of all time. While this is completely wrong, it's easy to see why such an assumption can and has been made time and time again.

Amusingly detailed in what I find to be Tim Burton's best film, Ed Wood, and in Wood's actual films, are the absurdities and absolutely painful choices made by Wood. Constantly strapped by a lack of funds or threatened by the scowl of a producer, Wood resorted to cheap tricks and went on with his business quickly. Spacecrafts held by obvious string and cardboard tombstones were just a few of the ways Wood went about with his craft. Continuity was not his friend.

But what Wood lacked in apparent talent and skill, he made up for in spirit. It was clear that Wood loved what he did, albeit in a somewhat delusional way. Failure after failure hardly dampened his spirits for attempting to make his horror or science fiction masterpiece again and again. It is for this, his guerrilla warfare and anything goes attitude that allows me to give Wood the absolute respect as a person as he deserves.

Every time I see the words "worst film ever" attached to Plan 9 From Outer Space, I cringe. Have the people spewing this claim seen any of the countless horror films from our generations, or the spoof comedies those two dolts have been passing off as comedy? I know some of them have, because those films make too much money for their own good.

Wood's creative Plan 9 falls short of being a good film, but to this day retains an admirable feeling that gives it the cult status that will only continue to grow as new generations discover Wood's material. Still, Wood's most popular film is a lovable and enjoyable film. Wood wasn't brilliant, but he had some ideas inside that head of his that can't be ignored. These films were his brain-children. Terribly disfigured, malformed and awkward children, but his nonetheless. No, Wood wouldn't go on to be the next Orson Welles, acting, writing and directing his own films, but he is still far from the worst to ever sit behind a camera.

Now what's the reaction when a remake (or reimagining) of Plan 9 is announced? Both sides have legitimate points. Those supporting the remake might make it aware that if someone can get Wood's story into the right hands, it might make for a great and campy b-movie. Those against the remaking of a film heralded as the worst film ever by people such as author Michael Medved might say the unique charm of Wood's original might be tarnished or skewed by an updated version being released to the masses.

Whatever your view is, it'll have to wait, because the remake has been gone ahead with, and the first trailer for the film has been released. View the trailer here, and join me right after with my thoughts.

Immediate reaction? This could be good. The film seems to retain that high level of camp but still might be able to combine a level of sped up terror, a sort of touch of our generation's style of horror filmmaking. From the looks of this debut trailer, the film also might have a nice apocalyptic feel, lending to the film an unnerving touch.

What remains to be seen is which direction the filmmakers actually decided to go. In the campy vein of Slither or more serious like 28 Days Later? As hard as it may be, I would hope for a combination of the two. That could be a serious match made in heaven if pulled off right. But with the chances that the acting will bite the big one, the film will most likely lean camp.

A lot is up in the air here though. Director John Johnson has never made anything worth mentioning, but in a weird way that might make him the perfect candidate to remake an Ed Wood film. Still, with a first trailer as intriguing as this one, I'll give Johnson a chance.

We normally see remakes of great films; classics that touched the hearts and minds of most of its viewers or cult classics that are held in a special place by its dedicated fans. This time its a bit different and to me, mostly welcome. I still cringe when I hear about a new remake, but I think it's about time to try and welcome them any way I can by giving them a chance for whatever reason possible.

No comments: