Remakes I’d Love to SeePosted: January 28, 2013
So I’ve noticed a trend in Hollywierd lately of remaking all the things from my childhood, usually making it worse rather than better (Dukes of Hazard, I’m looking at you), although the occasional Michael Bay Giant Robot SmashFest Round IV manages to put a small smile on my face.
I was originally planning to bring to the attention of you, my loyal readers, some of the best movies you’ve probably never seen, when it occurred to me I could do so much more: I’ll let all the world know how these movies could be revived, remade, and (hopefully) not allowed to suck too much in the process.
Flash Gordon (1980) – Let me start by saying the following: this movie was made in 1980, it’s based off a 1930s era sci-fi comic strip and it has a soundtrack by Queen. I’m not really sure if there is any way it could be made better. Then again, in the movie Flash is the quarterback for the New York Jets, so I don’t know that it could be worse. There’s a certain way of looking at it that says “you just can’t do this without being campy”, but apparently as of a few years ago they were looking at doing just that (way down at the bottom of the interview).
For myself, I’d like to see some of the same camp, but with a little more balance toward hard sci fi. Something like what Cabin in the Woods did with horror; it had a bit of humor and campiness to it, but only as much as it needed. Considering there are plenty of real world companies pushing to get into space, there’s lots of room there for “Flash” Gordon to be a pilot with a private company pushing the boundaries, and Dale Arden can go from being a helpless maiden (in whatever guise to a lesser or greater degree) to a bit more useful partner, perhaps even as a copilot. Besides, wouldn’t it make it that much for fun for Ming the Merciless to try to enslave her (the guy is a psychopath, after all). With a soundtrack by The Killers, Fun., The Airborne Toxic Event, or possibly all of the above and more, it would be everything the 1980 movie was and better.
Pump Up the Volume (1990) – If you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend it. It sits somewhere between comedy and drama as most teen movies from the 80s into the early 90s do, but this one went a slightly darker route (which is not surprising considering just a couple years earlier Christian Slater had been doing the dark comedy Heathers). It covers teenage angst and rebellion through the lens of pirate radio and public school, and considering the political climate of youth rebellion and schools today this one seems a perfect fit for a modern take. The existence of internet radio, satellite radio, and all the other easy to access entertainment options today almost makes pirate radio seem more interesting, sort of a “guerrilla entertainment” that would be very appealing to those looking to rebel against the corporate masters. Change it up a little bit to make it a podcast or some other form of hacking and suddenly SOPA and PIPA become an issue. BAM! Instant social relevance.
In addition to being a great vehicle for small, unknown bands, it would also be a perfect opportunity to bring back some classics. I’d love to see the Pixie’s “Wave of Mutilation” show up on the soundtrack again, and it just wouldn’t be Pump Up the Volume without Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows”. For a delightful Easter egg I’d love to see Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis as the parents of our new troubled teen, and if they wanted to make it a direct sequel we could even see them reprising their original roles (and can you imagine the scene where our protagonist finds out her parents are the legendary Happy Harry Hard-on and The Eat Me Beat Me Lady? Do as I say, not as I did!) For an extra twist, don’t make it a public school, make it a charter or private school the kid is rebelling against. Can they actually do what they are doing? It may be wrong, but is it legal?
Finally I’d like to suggest Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985). For those of you who think this movie is nothing but a cheap action/adventure/comedy from the mid-80s, you are so very, very wrong. Not only was it nominated for an Oscar (Best Makeup, Carl Fullerton), but the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films nominated it for a Saturn Award for both Best Fantasy Film and Best Supporting Actor (Joel Grey). Before you sneer at that one, let me note that Mr. Grey also got another nomination for Best Supporting Actor that year – a Golden Globe nomination (and he deserved it).
The fact is, this movie had a lot more style, story, and general “cool” factor going for it than the special effects of the time (makeup notwithstanding) could keep up with. It was also clearly the first in what was meant to be a series (note the subtitle), and there was a lot of room to grow. Either a complete remake or “many years later” sequel would be awesome (I would pay large sums of money either way to see Joel Grey reprise his role as Chiun). This seems like just the sort of vehicle that would work well for some of the current martial arts action stars, such as Jet Li or Jackie Chan, or perhaps another as-yet unknown to American audiences star, to serve as a serious villain (rather than the slightly silly and pathetic one we had in the original). Jason Statham could fill in as a suitable Remo Williams.
Hollywood, please, take these ideas. Make them. The only thing I ask in return is to be there for the big premiere. That’s not so much, is it? (Oh, and if you can get Christian Slater to sign my copy of Pump Up the Volume that would be awesome.)