Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks - Remakes/Sequels/Reboots Of A Movie You Want To See

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join in the weekly fun by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them!

Well, I suppose it was inevitable this topic would come up! Remakes and sequels and "reboots" are all the rage in Hollywood these days. To be honest, I am mostly not a fan. If a movie was good once, that does not mean that it will necessarily be good again with a different team, as movie after movie after movie has proven.

HOWEVER. There are some films that have great concepts that resulted in mediocre-to-bad movies, and that's where I think Hollywood should be focusing their remake/reboot energy. Movies, perhaps, like these.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Stephen Norrington, 2003) This is as great a premise as they come: A rogue's gallery of sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure characters (Captain Nemo, Tom Sawyer, Dr. Jekyll, Dorain Gray, etc.) team up for a secret mission. Unfortunately, the film absolutely squanders this great premise with a director who didn't seem to have any clue what he was doing. The comic books the movie was based on had a sort of deadpan fun with the audacity of the concept, but the film takes it at face value. In fact, Showtime's series Penny Dreadful does a much better job of this, going full-on melodramatic Victorian Gothic horror show, but you don't even have to go that route. Just infuse the concept with some of the audacity and fun of the comic books and it could be really great, instead of just fine.

The Brothers Grimm (Terry Gilliam, 2005) Look, I LOVE me some Terry Gilliam, and I LOVE me some "fairy tales are real" nonsense. But this is an unholy mess of a movie, in part because it's too focused on plot, which has never been Gilliam's strong suit. He's great at creating worlds, and does a fantastic job of that here, too. But after that, the whole thing falls apart, from the script to the casting to all non-design artistic decisions. Recast it and give the reigns to Guillermo del Toro. He'll know what to do with this concept.

The Happening (M. Night Shyamalan, 2008) You remember the trailers for this, right? INCREDIBLY creepy. And there's a whole lot of that creepiness in Shyamalan's first R-rated film, too. But unfortunately, it's also saddled with appallingly terrible Z-grade acting from A-list stars and an explanation (it's not even worthy of being called a twist) that is pulled out of nowhere, thus robbing the movie of everything it has going for it. Hand the script over to Stephen King and then give the director's chair to Bryan Bertino (The Strangers), and this would be much better. Oh, and maybe change that stupid title, too?


  1. I have a confession to make...I love the first 2 movies even though I know they could be so much better. You are so right about these films that could be made much better and I like it that you went the remake way where I went the sequel way. The Happening was such a hot mess and I felt robbed after watching this movie. I would love to see what Del Toro would do with the Brothers Grimm. I did always wish they would do something more with LEG if it was in bette hands

  2. Oh man, I so agree with you on The Happening, those trailers did not match the film whatsoever. The Brothers Grimm was messy, but I liked Damon and Ledger together. I know I saw LXG in theaters but I don't remember a thing about that movie. So yeah, it probably needs to be redone. lol

  3. Good suggestions for redos. League of X Gents was a disaster far beneath its cast. All I really remember of Brothers Grimm is how endless it was, I think Damon & Ledger had good chemistry but I've blocked the film so I can't attest to it. Everyone has said how dreadful The Happening is so I've avoided it. When I first heard the title before seeing the previews I thought they had remade the ghastly 60's Faye Dunaway/Anthony Quinn film of the same name. But at least we were spared any reworking of that dog!

    This was a fun experiment for a theme allowing a little latitude to the picks. I will be interesting to see the range of what people choose. Since we had multiple choice on the theme I went with the remake & sequel options. Sequel first:

    The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)-Sequels are tricky affairs usually a lesser shadow of the original but occasionally as with Aliens it works out well so I’m usually hopeful. Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a stylish, fast paced affair with a terrific vintage look and relaxed, enjoyable performances from the three leads and Hugh Grant as their wry boss. It didn’t perform as well as expected so this probably won’t happen which is too bad since it was a more realistic adventure with less reliance on CGI than most current actioners.

    And two remakes:
    Like you I’m not much for remakes of classics, what’s the point? You can’t improve on perfection so unless a new perspective or element can be added leave well enough alone. My first is an example of adding a different element. However sometimes a good idea receives faulty execution, occasionally even the best filmmakers stumble and then I say have at it. That would be my second.

    8 Women (2002)-This French musical mystery farce is a one of a kind concoction, wonderfully entertaining with a cast full of the best feminine Gallic cast of the day (Catherine Deneuve, Fanny Ardant and Isabelle Huppert among them). It would have been hard for it to turn out better. But since women’s films and musicals are thin on the ground despite the abundance of talent available an American remake would be great to see especially since the cast runs across all adult age brackets, hell it even has a custom made role for Angela Lansbury as the matriarch.

    Topaz (1969)-Every great director has a lemon in their filmography, this exercise in boredom is Alfred Hitchcock’s. Sluggish to the point of ennui and indifferently acted it was difficult to get through even once. The thing is the basic story, a Russian agent defects and during his interview tells of another supposedly friendly country’s spy ring that is selling high risk secrets to the highest bidder, is a good one and has great potential to be made into an excellent film. If the studios feel the need to remake the Master’s work than start with this fumble and not one of his successes.

    1. A week late, a dollar short, but I just had to say that I would LOVE a sequel to The Man From UNCLE, and that as much as I like the idea of a remake of 8 Women, I'm not sure if it would work. The idea of using French "chansons" is so culturally specific, and I'm not sure anything and American version would do would have the same feeling - even if they just did the original numbers in translation. BUT, it would be fun to cast and could be heaven if the right director took it on.

      I've never seen Topaz because everyone says it's terrible, so can't really judge.

  4. I haven't seen any of your picks, but it looks like they had potential.

  5. I have seen the first 2 and I agree they could have been so much better with different acting/directing. I have not seen The Happening, everything he does has been a disappointment since The Sixth Sense.

  6. Sure Penny Dreadful handles Victorian book characters' assemble better than The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Too bad the show is cancelled. Given the right budget, it might make a better film for sure.

    When I watched Tale of Tales, I remember Grimms Brother. Definitely need a remake, a much better one, with Tale of Tales' director possibly?

  7. Never seen the League of Extraordinary Gentleman because of the bad reviews but it does seem like something that would with a great ensemble cast. Ripe for a remake.

  8. I'm totally with you on the first two. Truth told, I haven't seen The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but avoided it because of how bad I heard it was. I did see Brothers Grimm, and it was just so bland. I'd welcome a reboot of both. I'd probably leave well enough alone with The Happening. Just so terrible.