Remaking a Classic Movie: Hit or Miss


Remaking a Classic Movie: Hit or Miss

When any movie company embarks on a mission to remake a classic, they are treading on choppy water before they have even written the script, cast the actors or decided any of the detail. This is because remaking any classic movie will immediately ignite strong feelings amongst fans of the original.

Some people will be elated by the news that a film that they have loved throughout their life is going to be remade using modern techniques and visual effects. There will be an element of excitement and a buzz on online fan sites but, amongst this furore, will no doubt be the voice of dissension.

Many people who grew up loving a particular film will not want to see its memory sullied by a remake that, more often than not, does not do the original justice. So, when they hear that a remake is in the offing they straight away protest and decry the news. Often when the movie is released these same people will rush to give it negative reviews the day it hits cinema screens. Just look at the reviews for the recently released Bright, which had such high expectations.

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The reason for the above is that films play such a big part in our lives as we grow up. They become embedded in our consciousness and often ignite strong emotive memories of our childhood when we re-watch them years later. A remake is just not the same. It does not contain the familiar faces, the dated effects or the same place in popular culture as the original work.

Taking the 1981 film Clash of the Titans as an example, you can see that the original is considered a classic and was the last film with special stop animation effects made by the famous Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen was revered because of his stop-motion visuals that inspired some of the most famous filmmakers of the generations that followed him. His techniques in the film have lasted through the ages and the way he brought the Kraken to life in the 1981 version, as directed by Desmond Davis, is now iconic.

The film, starring Harry Hamlin, has found a place in popular culture and has had a number of successful spin-offs. The film has inspired clothing brands with t-shirts depicting artistic impressions of the creatures in the film; Halloween masks of the film’s villain Calibos are available from Trick or Treat Studios, as well as a multitude of online games which celebrate this mythical tale. The new film also spawned a video game of the same name that allowed the player to play through the story in a hack and slash style. The game was created by Bandai and was released on both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.

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“Uphill battle”

The remake of the movie, released in 2010 and directed by Louis Leterrier, was more loosely based on the Greek mythology than the original. In Greek mythology, Perseus, played by Sam Worthington in the remake, is the monster-slaying hero who defeats the Gorgon Medusa to give as a gift to Polydectes. Perseus was the most famous Greek hero before the time of Hercules.

The 2010 version was not well received by audiences even though it did reasonably well at the box office. On a budget of $125 million, it made a worldwide gross of $493.2 million. The main reasons that fans didn’t like it as much as the original was because of its weak script and watered down version of Greek mythology.

Another remake that didn’t go down well and that was always fighting an uphill battle before it was even released was that of A Nightmare on Elm Street. The 1984 original, directed by Wes Craven, is one of the most iconic horror films ever made and so it was a controversial choice for a remake. Many fans felt that the original should be left alone as it stood the test of time with many not seeing the point of remaking it.

“Fear factor”

The new version was released in 2010 and was panned by critics for a number of reasons but the main ones were that that the acting was poor and lethargic. The film also lacked the fear factor of the original and felt very much like a corporate-ordered remake rather than a standalone movie based on an original work.

The consensus was that it didn’t offer anything new so what was the point in making it? That is the main problem with remakes. It needs to offer something different from the original movie to make it worth doing but also needs to stay true to it as well. That is why remakes tread a very fine line. It is unlikely that the movie company New Line Cinema were too worried seeing as the film made $115.6 million gross on a budget of $35 million but fans will always remain sceptical when they hear one of their all-time favourites is going to be redone.


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