Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Movie Remake Train just keeps rolling along

While I am willing to admit that some of the remakes that come out of Hollywood these days are not all bad,the true gems amongst those cinematic rhinestones are few and far between. Perhaps my take on this subject is too harsh,so let's look over a handful of upcoming new versions of old favorites and see how they stack up.

First up is Rise of the Planet of the Apes,which goes for the reboot approach. Instead of apes being the domestic servants of humanity,we have a scientist(James Franco)testing out a cure for Alzheimer's by injecting a chimp named Caesar with an experimental drug that dramatically increases his intelligence.

When Caesar grows up and becomes too hard to handle for his human keepers,he's dumped back into a lab with his fellow test subjects,allowing him the opportunity to stage a rebellion. This concept is not half bad but it'll need a solid script and a steady hand on the wheel to make it more than just another Planet of the Apes knockoff:

Moving from the seventies to the eighties,Fright Night features Colin Farrell as Jerry,the new vampire next door ready to school his nosy young neighbor Charlie about privacy issues the gruesomely hard way.

The most recent trailers showcase Peter Vincent(played by David Tennant and made famous by Roddy McDowell),the mentor for Charlie in his quest to save his girlfriend and mother from the clutches of Jerry. In this version,Peter Vincent is sort of a Criss Angel type of entertainer,not my first choice for vampire slayer there.

The only improvement that I can pick up on here is in making Charlie's mom a little bit more of a developed character rather than the absent minded ditz from the original(it helps casting Toni Collette in the part). Beyond that,this fear flick seems more like the Thunderdome of bloodsport instead of the scary silly thrill ride many of us fondly recall:

Speaking of being stuck in the eighties,Footloose appears to be a very dated film to revive for a new generation. Despite making the whole "dancing is against the law" a matter of public safety in the small town of Bomont than a religious issue,this is still pretty hokey material to work with.

The real selling power of the original film was the music,with such hits as "Let's Hear It(For the Boy)","Holding out for a Hero" and of course,the title song. While some of those tunes will pop up in this new edition,it'll be up to the fresher set of songs on the soundtrack to help this remake worth picking up your Sunday shoes for:

And we go roaring back to the 1970s,with a remake of Sam Peckinpah's revenge classic Straw Dogs. James Marsden and Kate Bosworth take the roles originated by Dustin Hoffman and Susan George,as the big city couple who moves out into the country and is forced to mount a defense against the vicious gang of rural locals targeting them for trouble.

One of the main differences from the first film is that the locale is set in America instead of England. Also,the trailer seems to be suggesting a twisted love triangle between the urban wife and the leader of the local roughnecks(played by Alexander Skarsgard). I hope that I'm wrong about the second part,considering the horrific acts of violence against the lady of the house from the first time around.

Straw Dogs was a controversial movie in it's day and many film scholars still debate it's merits and flaws even nowadays. This remake has a lot to live up and if this is just an excuse to crank out another cheap thriller,that will be quite a disappointment as well as a waste of time and talent:

Well,the critics will have their say soon enough on all of these films and whether or not their opinions will hold sway with ticket buyers remains to be seen. The critics aren't always right but when they are,it can be devastating. That never stops Hollywood from doing the same thing over again but it can slow down a trend in it's tracks on occasion. Then again, one of the most classic of tropes is to rise from the ashes of failure and achieve success,so stranger things have happened,even for remakes:

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