Friday, November 11, 2005

The Remake Rant

So there I am, minding my own business, watching Neil Marshall’s latest siege of flickery, The Descent (brilliant by the way), when suddenly I sense a rumbling in the ether. It’s my phone; it’s yelping beeps with relentless precision. Turns out to be a text message from The Duke. Between bouts of esoteric iambic prose he informs me of the latest piece of gossip straight from the leaves of the grapevine, turns out that Renee Zellweger is to be the star of the remake of The Eye. He was obviously desperately upset at this happening. As was I.

However, I was more upset at just the reminder of Hollywood’s annexation and subsequent perversion of all good, original ideas.

A spectre is haunting cinema - the spectre of Hollywood.

OK, so I hyperbole a little here, there are slight snippets of originality floating around the aura of Hollywood. But this remake business is really one that gets me down, specifically the recent wave of Asian remakes.

Now, I love those Asian flicks, from the gateway films like Ring and Battle Royale, to more obscure entities such as Bullet Ballad and Uzumaki. It honest to GG kills me a little every time one of these fine cinematic treats are transformed into some easily digested piece of Hollywood cack.

The main thing that leads to my extreme resentment is that they are pretty much remade exactly the same, except in English and with American actors. Am I the only one who sees the pointlessness to this?

Yeah, I know why the studios do it; they are catering to the ignorant masses, and by corollary endeavouring to maximise profits. Perhaps I’m being a cultural snob here, but if people aren’t prepared to go that effort to read the subtitles, and thus open themselves up to some of the best cinema on the planet (I’m not just talking about Asia here), then they deserve fuck all.

Recently I attempted to watch the Dark Water remake, the original was a fine slab of Nakata which I enjoyed. I got about thirteen minutes into the remake before switching it off, which is something I don’t like doing, but I really did not want to waste the next hour watching something I’ve already seen, and in better form also. That’s another thing, they copy most of the content but present it in a thoroughly Hollywood style, the film loses that unique atmosphere that the Asians are able to lather in there.

It’s not paradoxical that two of my favourite movies of all time are remakes, The Thing and The Fly. This just highlights the power of current studio executives to control the creative output of the studio and, perhaps, the ineptitude of the new batch of directors assigned to these projects. Sure, give a remake proposal to a Cronenberg or a Carpenter, and let them have free reign at it, and they’ll generate something interesting and original with it. Times sure have changed.

That’s the end of this rant; I make no pretensions to this being an in-depth polemic, simply a collection of thoughts. I'm sure there will (in true Hollywood style) be a sequel sometime.


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