At Big Hollywood, John Nolte notes that the Ridley and Tony Scott are each planning to remake an iconic motion picture:
Scott is a top-shelf filmmaker, the concept is sound and the source material as good as it gets. This one, unlike “Austin Powers 4,” feels right. The most positive aspect is that Scott apparently has a real fire in the belly for the project. He’s been fiddling with the original — director’s cuts, etc… — since the beginning of home video, which is a good sign the creative energy and inspiration are in plentiful supply.
Furthermore, Scott can do any picture he wants. He’s not some “auteur” on the downslide and desperate for a return to the glory days of yore. Translation: he’s doing this for all the right reasons: passion, love, creative energy…
Yep, this feels right.
On the other hand…
The original is not only a masterpiece, it’s a director’s masterpiece. “The Wild Bunch” IS Sam Peckinpah. You might as well remake the Mona Lisa. There’s no way this doesn’t turn out as flat and uninspired as Tony Scott’s remake of another lightning-in-a-bottle masterpiece: “The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3.”
There are films that transcend earthly constraints, that capture something unique — be it a time, place, feel, performance — that can never be recreated. Sure, the picture might make money, but as we saw with the remakes of “Psycho,” “The Longest Yard,” and too many others — just stop.
The Wild Bunch was also one of the last manly ensemble pictures Hollywood made before the 1970s Sensitive New Age Guy Syndrome took the blunt edges of its actors. Perhaps if the Coen brothers can successfully remake John Wayne’s True Grit, anything’s possible, but good luck trying to put together a cast today with the grizzled combined gravitas of William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates and Strother Martin.
As for Blade Runner, Ace of Spades wonders if familiarity will breed contempt for its cinematic replicant:
1. It was a neat-looking world.
2. The original was meh and still needs a story worthy of the look.
1. The original looked great because of the terrific model-work and innovative photographic effects. The new one will of course be almost all CGI.
2. The Seinfeld is Unfunny effect. Blade Runner has been so influential in terms of design and look of the future, it doesn’t seem as original anymore. Since so many ripped off bits and pieces of it.
I hadn’t heard of the “Seinfeld is Unfunny” meme before Ace’s post; but I fell victim to the same thing myself when I saw Citizen Kane for the first time, decades after it was originally released. It took me a long time, and repeated viewings to come to grips with what I was watching, and how it must have looked to 1941-era viewers — not to mention, the rest of Hollywood, which began to absorb its myriad lessons. Looking at something revolutionary through the rear-view mirror can be painful, because so many of its techniques quickly become integrated into the artistic language. The Blade Runner production design was — and is — awesome, but we’ve seen so it times since in the Batman movies, A.I., The Crow, Dark City, and a host of other movies.
Still though, it’s a helluva dystopia. I’d be willing to head back there for a visit once again. How ’bout you?