Ah remakes, the lazy way for Hollywood producers to recycle old movies into new profit. Remakes of movies have been a part of Hollywood for a long time, but it seems like the remake-machine really went into overdrive after 2000. Some remakes are not only unnecessary, but they mess with a sacred tradition the originals have established, like with Psycho, or Footloose. And don’t get me started on that Karate Kid remake that’s not even technically karate. Hollywood often aims for remaking known movies that seem to have a guaranteed fan base. In doing so, they also ignore many movies that would actually benefit from advancements in filming technology. Then again, there are also other movies that just plain miss the target on the first go. Here’s my personal wish list for nine movies I’d most like to see remade.
The 1950s were a great era for monster movies. Special effects were limited though. Them! is about giant, atomically-mutated ants. These things get huge too, far bigger even than a semi-truck. Yet, mayhem wasn’t necessarily at the forefront of the original. It was more about helplessness in the face of these behemoth ants, and trying to find a clever way to defeat them. There is also some irony in a story where ants become so big they can step on humans. An ideal remake would take a serious approach, and perhaps focus much on the investigation of the giant ants more than it would focus on action. But some updated action and giant-ant mayhem sure would be fun to see too.
Flash Gordon (1980)
The original Flash Gordon came from comic strips, with theatrical serials shown in the late 30s, and eventually run on TV before the character was somewhat forgotten. By 1980, space-themed sci-fi movies were all the rage. The 1980 Flash Gordon looks like it was made about twenty years earlier. Seriously, 1980 is the same year Empire Strikes Back came out, and Flash Gordon has special effects reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. It had a decent budget, but suffered from poor production decisions. The movie did a have a good soundtrack. Queen’s involvement is often cited as the best part of the movie. Sure, some people still love Flash Gordon in a so bad its good sort of way, but this story had much more potential. A remake has been in talks for many years, but unlike the rocket that sends Flash into space, so far the production of a new move just can’t get off the ground.
Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)
This one has become somewhat less known as far as Disney classics go, or as far as old Sean Connery movies go. Darby O’Gill is about Irish folklore, which sometimes seems like it doesn’t get much mention in popular entertainment. For a late 50’s movie, the handling of leprechauns interacting with humans isn’t half bad. There are also banshees and death coaches that look decent too, but modern movie technology would really open up more possibilities for this film. The original had some musical numbers, which most likely would be phased out in a modern movie. But a dark and creepy, yet still appropriate enough for kids modernized version could be really cool, and would match well with the overall tone of Irish folklore.
The 90’s Spawn was a welcome superhero film in an era when superhero films still weren’t taken very seriously. Spawn didn’t have a huge budget, and special effects were laughable, even for the time, but the movie took the characters seriously. It wasn’t ever critically praised, but the movie did okay commercially. When the 2000s hit and superhero movies became all the rage, Spawn was surprisingly never picked up again. Over twenty years later, a new movie, a reboot, is in early stages of production. But, it has been in the early production stage for several years. The budget is pretty small, and the creator and artist of the comic, Todd Macfarlane, wants to direct himself. This could be great, hopefully. With production still yet to begin, the Spawn remake remains in limbo. Let’s just hope a new movie can erase the original’s scenes of that literal hell out of our heads.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
There were many monster/alien films of the 50s. The Creature from the Black Lagoon stands out and holds up better than many. The story is fairly simple, relying more on suspense than spectacle. People go to South America to investigate a strange creature. The creature proves dangerous and smart. Since the 50s, the Creature has been grouped with other famous monsters like Frankenstein, Wolf-man, Dracula. It even became part of the 80’s The Monster Squad, and images of this anthropomorphic fish creature crop up with Halloween. There has been interest in a remake for many years, with big-names attached to the project. The recent, Shape of Water makes some pretty heavy references to the 1954 movie too. So why do a remake? Well, if the tone of suspense was kept, an update could offer underwater filming, and much more in the way of exploring the creature, and what else might be going on in that mysterious black lagoon.
Masters of the Universe (1987)
Out of all the movies on this list, this is the only one that has a certain remake coming. The release date is late 2019.He-Man, of the Master’s of the Universe, was a popular 80’s toy line turned into a comic book and cartoon. Financially motivated or not, this toy line had some creative folks working on it. Though stories weren’t groundbreaking, the setting and characters sure had lots of potential. The toys were meant to stir a child’s imagination after all. As the toy line waned in popularity, a He-Man movie went into production. By the time it actually came out, most kids weren’t interested. Good thing too, the movie was a big disappointment. Some of the more complex cartoon aspects didn’t translate to film well and were omitted. The story got way off track when it tried to connect He-Man’s universe back to earth. There was science fiction, fantasy, comedy, and explosive 80’s action, but everything came out like an under-blended smoothie, full of hard to identify chunks. The movie would have been far better if it stayed near the source. Ideally, this new remake will fix the grievous errors of the ’87 film, and if not, well, the need for another Masters of the Universe remake will remain.
Swamp Thing (1982)
Swamp Thing, despite the potential for seeming pretty cheesy, was really well made. Despite the age, it’s still watchable today. The movie had a sequel, and eventually got a TV series. These were okay, but nothing ever catapulted this character into mainstream media. As superhero films became popular since 2000, a Swamp Thing remake has been rumored a few times. Though the original is still good, there were limitations. Even Swamp Thing’s powers were leashed by filming techniques of the early 80s. It’d be quite a spectacle to see a Swamp Thing who’s able to move fast, and control the swamp around him. We’d also ideally see him fight a cool super-villain. But, and there is a big but on this one, we might not see a Swamp Thing movie remake for a long time. DC Comics is producing a series for their streaming network. This series might be good, but it probably limits the chances of a new movie being made anytime soon.
Harry Potter (2001)
The Harry Potter movies were great. But for anyone who has read the books though, they know that a lot of the storylines were cut from the films due to time restrictions. Each book was meant to roughly represent one academic school year at Hogwarts. Imagine an big-budget show that offered up to ten episodes or so for each school year. Viewers would really get to sink into the setting of Hogwarts, of learning of magic, and of the subtleties of side characters. There might even be options to explore brand new characters and expand the overall series. In fact, Harry Potter might just be one of many interesting characters present at the school. Who wouldn’t want to see more of the other houses, of teachers like Dumbledore and McGonnagal or Snape. Alas, a series probably will never happen. There might be little interest in developing such a thing, and it’s arguably unnecessary, but just imagine how great it’d be to binge watch nearly ten exciting hours of trouble at Hogwarts.
The Last Airbender (2010)
This movie had huge potential. Huge! The original cartoon series had a fantastic story, rich with culture, allegory, and charm. The movie version has been panned all over the internet for just entirely missing the point. M. Night Shymalan obviously made some stupid directorial decisions, like not even pronouncing the main character’s name correctly. Anyone who saw the movie, and then wanted to see if the cartoon was just as stupid, was probably absolutely delighted by the original series. The characters are just great, and there is a maturity in the philosophies that go far beyond most children’s shows. The sad thing is that Shymalan probably ruined any chances of Hollywood investing in this series, however, should someone wish to make a movie that’s more faithful to the show, audiences would likely love it. Just this time around, it should actually be called, Avatar: The Last Airbender. And for cripes sake, pronounce Aang’s name right.
Have some other suggestions. Please leave a comment. I’d absolutely love to hear of other movies people think about and harbor hopes for someday seeing remade.