[In lieu of actual content, for the next several weeks I will present, at least, one review of an upcoming film each week. These are scripts that I’ve been paid money to read, and many of them contain watermarking, identification numbers, password-protection, and other ways of tracking what company it was sent to; because of this and my desire to keep my job, I will not offer downloads for ANY of the scripts I review here. Don’t bother asking.]
First, a mini-rant about remakes:
Remakes have been around forever, and plenty of classics (The Maltese Falcon, Ben-Hur, His Girl Friday) were actually vastly improved remakes of films forgotten even in their own time. I never object to remakes if they improve on the original. The problem I have with the recent glut of remakes is that, instead of striving to best their source material, it usually turns out significantly worse (Alfie, The Amityville Horror, Assault on Precinct 13—and that’s just the A’s!). It’s not that the movies can’t be improved on; it’s that the filmmakers seem content with the notion that, hey, the original made money, and so will this one. They don’t have to make it good as long as they slap a familiar title on it.
More studios should embrace the idea of taking a mediocre (or outright bad) movie that didn’t make a huge amount of money. Many movies have a few great ideas buried in a mountain of trash; I’d need at least three hands to count the number of Mystery Science Theater 3000 movies where I’ve said, “Man, with a budget and a better script, this could be a great movie.” I know I should be ashamed of this, but I’ve always felt like I could make Soultaker into the great movie it should have been. Of course, certain examples suggest that throwing more money at a decent idea won’t make it better (1998’s Godzilla, 1976’s King Kong, 2005’s The Island), but in the hands of competent filmmakers, it couldn’t hurt (see also: 2005’s King Kong). At any rate, Ocean’s Eleven took a bland, poorly received Rat Pack vehicle and turned it into one of the better remakes—and better heist movies—of the past decade. Compare that to The Italian Job remake: the original is actually pretty great, and while the remake isn’t offensively bad, it doesn’t do much to better its source. So why bother? Oh right, there’s profit to be had.