All too often we complain about how the culture of remakes is sucking the creativity out of Hollywood. For the most part, we do think that, to be honest. The lack of originality is stagnating the genre, creating an environment where new thinking is frowned upon for being fiscally unpopular, where in-built and existing audiences are a prerequisite of a budget award, and where recycled blood flows through the veins of the genre, where fresh haemoglobin once invigorated its capillaries and arteries. As we all know, a document can only be photocopied so many times before the quality degrades so much as to be unreadable, and this applies to all things in life, not just Xerox machines.
That being said, however, there are a few diamonds in the rough. Every now and again, it’s worth mentioning them and finding the glass half full for a change.
BSG has become the de facto benchmark for remakes, or to use the phrase popularised by the show, re-imaginations. Gritty, well shot and demonstrating post 9-11 angst with elan, the show won a Peabody and various Emmy awards for its efforts, and has gone down as possibly the finest full-on genre show of the new millennium. Mainly, we’re just in love with Edward James Olmos.
We know, not many of you liked this AMC/ITV co-production. And strictly speaking, we saw it as a sequel to The Prisoner (1967) as opposed to a remake or reinterpretation of McGoohan’s classic. We rather enjoyed it, though, and appreciated the more subtle surreality that was imbued through surrounding and mise en scène rather than out and out bizarreness.
Covering this film in depth from its announcement through to release, like many of you, we were anxious about JJ Abrams taking command of the Enterprise. We honestly though it would be a disaster, a Starfleet 90210 of terrible proportions, until we saw some advance footage in the December before it was released. Then we were fans, and we loved the final release. So much so that some of us saw it five or six times in the cinema.
District 9 was, in many ways, a feature-length remake/adaptation of Neill Blomkamp’s previous short ‘Alive In Joburg’. Acclaimed critically and commercially as well, the film more or less launched the career of the previously unknown actor Sharlto Copley, and drastically raised the profile of Blomkamp himself, already known to genre fans for his involvement with the proposed Halo film.
Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman film franchise proved wildly popular with the cinema-going public, spawning one of the highest grossing sequels of all time in the form of The Dark Knight, which also garnered dubious fame for being the last full film featuring the late Heath Ledger. A third is in the works, which will apparently round off Nolan’s involvement with the Caped Crusader.