With the launch of the new Robocop trailer, I thought I’d shed some light on a couple of strong opinions I share on the subject and on remakes in general. First, let’s make a few things clear. I’m not 100% against remakes. I’m not a complete hater. However, I am a purist, especially when it comes to my specific childhood nostalgia. Taking something that I grew up on, that shaped my personality and helped to form my interests in the years to come – taking that, and ‘redo-ing’ it, kind of breaks my heart. I remembered watching it when I was younger, not quite understanding what was going on, but knowing that I loved it anyways. The older I got, the more I loved it.
So, the idea of a new movie excited me at first. A new installment? How exciting! Then I realized that, in fact, it wasn’t a new installment…but a remake. Insert groan. Because I haven’t had such luck in the past when it comes to remakes, I was immediately on the offense and incredibly wary. Then I watched the trailer.
Okay, so. The trailer was awesome looking. It features an intriguing cast (Michael Keaton came back from the dead!), high intensity action and a new fun little story. A story in which, I WAS NOT THE LEAST BIT FAMILIAR WITH. Ugh. And a black suit?! No, just no. If the name wasn’t attached, I’d be incredibly interested. It looked neat! But it didn’t look like a Robocop.
Ultimately, to me, the trailer looked devoid of anything that made the first film so great. What made it so…Robocop. One of the best parts of the original is when, for one humanzing moment, Murphy takes off his helmet and revisits his past home. This trailer looks like he’s completely aware of both his ‘upgrades’ and humanity at once. Alas, I’m sure there won’t be any “Murphy, it’s you!” quotes.
It’s just near impossible to recapture the magic that some actors just bring to a certain character. Could you replace Han Solo? Ian Malcolm? The Terminator? I didn’t think so. And yes, I know there was a different actor for the third installment and Prime Directives, but that’s…different. This is a REMAKE, which means they are REDOING the original. And changing it to accommodate and serve today’s ADHD driven audience. I’m sure it’ll be fun and action-filled and pretty to look at. Doesn’t take away my hesitation though, and that’s because most remakes I’ve seen ended up being total disasters.
Case in point*:
1. Dawn of the Dead. I was EXTREMELY hesistant before this was released and even more adverse to liking it after a viewing. However, once I got past that it was a ‘remake’, I ended up having a lot of fun. It’s fast-paced, gory, and chock full of excitement. I liked it, I really did. HOWEVER. I absolutely do not like it above the original and the fact that it still exists as a remake to the One That Ruled Them All (in Melissa world) still irks me to this day.
2. Total Recall. I was a little excited when this trailer first came out. Horrified, yes, because once again the orignial remains one of my favorite movies of all time (my list is pretty big). But a little excited. Visually, it featured a neo-noir blade runner-esque style that obviously piqued my interest from the get-go. The cast seemed okay-ish, the music promising. Then….I saw it. Big. Mistake. Huge. I wish I could get that hour and a half of my life back. I really do. This remake alone is why I am so wary and worried and frightful for future ones.
3. Evil Dead: I didn’t hate it. In fact, I very much enjoyed it. Had lots of good, old-fashioned horror. HOWEVER; (There should probably be a drinking game every time I use this word by now) it lacked some of the kitsch and charm that made all the originals so much fucking fun. Bruce Campbell, anyone? THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.
4. Friday the 13th: NOPE.
5. Conan the Barbarian: Again, why remake anything originally starring Arnold Schwarzenegger? Don’t get me wrong; I love a good Drogo just like the rest of ’em. I just…fell asleep when I tried to get through it. Also, it’s in 3D.
*I’m aware that hundreds more exist; these are just the first ones that come to mind.
As you can tell, 90% of what I listed ended in a “UGH, WHY?” type reaction. Arguably, nothing good can come from remaking anything that you’ve once loved and treasured. Some things are completely irreplaceable. For me, it’s movies. I fucking love them.
I’m absolutely terrified for the new Terminators, Blade Runner, Princess Bride, and even Godzilla. I have hope in Godzilla, but I’m still a bit wary.
To me, most of today’s remakes kind of feel like someone taking an ancient relic and having their five year-old bedazzle on top of it. To the inexperienced, it may ‘look better’, but to those that treasured that original, valuable relic, it’s abominable.
With that said, I’m still going to see the shit out of it. Begrudgingly.