The cinematic remake: between cult and failures - editorial

The cinematic remake: between cult and failures - editorial

The cinematic remake

There are many reasons to remake a film, a phenomenon so widespread that the term remake has become familiar even to those who are an occasional film user. Our reflection began a few days ago, when the trailer for the new West Side Story was released, a remake by Steven Spielberg of the unforgettable film shot in 1961 by Robert Wise, awarded 10 Oscars for the original racial reinterpretation of Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet, for Leonard Bernstein's soundtrack and for all the revolutionary choreographic part, for which co-director Jerome Robbins was responsible, a magical combo that made the film an immortal masterpiece, allowing it to cross the decades almost intact.

We are waiting to see him to express our opinion, even if some details already did not convince us, among all the choice of David Alvarez for the role of Bernardo, who at the time was the most charismatic George Chakiris, Greek who stepped into the shoes of a Puerto Rican, in spite of political correctness, which had not yet arrived at the time. So we compiled a quick summary, asking what our readers-viewers think.

Watch on YouTube. To justify the resumption of a story already told, the lack of new ideas is often accused. But there is no doubt that some very old films can arouse the interest of today's public only if they are re-presented with more current actors and technical equipment (and here we are approaching the dividing line of the "reboot" the relaunch of well-known stories but to be rejuvenated). Let's start with a film that has just been released, that Godzilla vs Kong, where it was mandatory to give a more updated version of the famous reptile, compared to the original of 1954. There have been many reinterpretations, ending in the first reboot directed by Garth Evans in 2014 .

But even for the gorilla King Kong (which has nothing to do with the Kong of the film just mentioned) a more modern make-up was needed and after the 1933 film we had the 1976 version with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. Then in 2005 Peter Jackson took over it with the technology of his Weta and Andy Serkis to make his expressions. With Serkis we move on to another important remake, that of the saga of the Planet of the Apes, whose original film, however, was unrepeatable for us. And from that film through the actor Charlton Heston, its protagonist, we think of another famous remake, that of 1975: White eyes on planet earth, which became I am legend with Will Smith (original title of the novel by Richard Matheson from which it is based ).

There are also some classics so great as to be untouchable, such as Gone with the Wind, of which we could never accept a remake, even politically correct perhaps. A separate case is Disney, which has filmed its films several times, to remake them, from "flat" animation as they were, in increasingly sophisticated computer graphics (see Lion King) or in live action (The charge of 101 / Cruella, Mowgli, Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Alice, Dumbo, Aladdin, Mulan).

Departed remake of author but even the original was not joking. But with regard to Psycho remade in 1998 by Gus Van Sant, who could have thought of reworking a classic of classics like the Hitchcock movie? Willy Wonka (better Wilder or Depp?), Was Mitchum or De Niro scarier in Cape Fear? As for Beauty and the Beast, in the live action versions was Jean Marais more fascinating in the version of Cocteau or Vincent Cassel in 2014 or Dan Stevens in the recent Disney version? Several treatments have also been made of the Phantom of the Opera (also by the hand of Dario Argento and Joel Schumacher) but the most beautiful was the most original one, The Phantom of the stage, directed by Brian De Palma.

Who appreciated the couple Luke Bracey / Édgar Ramirez instead of Keanu Reeves / Patrick Swayze for the unnecessary remake of the poignant Point Break? And Total Recall, better Arnold (Schwarzenegger) or Colin (Farrell)? In her videogame transposition, was Angelina Jolie better, then almost oversized, or the slender Alicia Vikander? And Nicole Kidman, always a bit 'broomstick, beautiful of course, was in other ways suitable for the remake of Bewitched (even if it was a TV series, very famous though)?

Was Sissy Spacek's unfortunate Carrie scarier in '76 or was Chloë Grace Moretz better than the 2013 version? And the same for Pet Sematary. For us the original versions are better, for both and so also for Robocop, much more touching in 1987 with Peter Weller, compared to the remake of 2014. Did Dario Argento's Suspiria or Guadagnino's film more disturbing? A rhetorical question because these are two films so different that it was not even necessary to pay royalties to the original author. A remake also serves to relaunch a story thanks to highly appreciated actors in the different historical period, such as A Star is Born, the fifth transposition after the first film of 1932 and the second to transport the story in the musical field. Better then Barbra Streisand / Kris Kristofferson or Gaga / Bradley Cooper?

Streisand / Kristofferson, before Gaga / Bradley. Another category are "foreign" films with respect to American cinematography, shot to make them more appealing to their audience (from the Spanish horror Rec that has become Quarantine to the Nolan of Insomnia and then on citing Vanilla Sky (Open your eyes) with the star Tom Cruise, the Korean Old Boy remade by Spike Lee, Funny Games whose remake was always directed by Haneke himself, the beautiful vampire story of the Swedish Let me enter which has become Bloody Story, the dark thriller of the Millennium series, in which thanks to David Fincher the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" from Noomi Rapace became Rooney Mara and Michael Nyquvist assumed the face of Daniel Craig, so the eye also had its part. In this list it is improper (sacrilegious) to consider Coppola's Dracula remake del Nosferatu with Kinski, which in turn was a faithful remake of Murnau's 1922 film.

Then there are the author remakes, which cannot be shot, but Martin Scorsese's The Departed, although a beautiful film with excellent performers, it had not hit as much as the original Infernal Affair series, a splendid trilogy from the 2000s that still has a life of its own. Also illustrious is the precedent of For a Fistful of Dollars, which was so heavily inspired by Kurosawa's The Challenge of the Samurai (cult but not mass director), but without declaring it, as to condemn the production for plagiarism. entered the collective imagination. Staying in the East we think of the series of Japanese films The Ring, the original one that came to us after the remake directed by Gore Verbinski, as well as the other famous horror The Grudge, of which we clearly prefer the original over the version with Sarah Michelle Gellar, although directed by Takashi Shimizu himself.

Some remakes are so hopelessly bad that we don't even ask for a vote. Things like Overwhelmed by an unusual fate, the legendary film by Lina Wertmüller truly devastated by Guy Ritchie, then at the service of the icy consort Madonna. We wouldn't even want to talk about Ben Hur, bad 2016 version, hands off the '59 version with Charton Heston. We were not moved by Jason Momoa's Conan from 2011, as much as Schwarzenegger directed by John Milius did back in 1982 and we were also disappointed by the female version of Ghostbusters (we drop a pitiful veil on Ocean's Eight too).

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As for westerns, let's think of That Train to Yuma from 2007, a good cast (Bale, Crowe), unfaithful but not despicable remake of the '57 film. Just as different but for us appreciable was the remake of one of the most iconic films for John Wayne, The Grit, remade by the Coen Brothers with a splendid Jeff Bridges. How many times have we reviewed the story of Murder on the Nile (2 remakes) and Murder on the Orient Express (3 versions) even knowing who the killer was? The new Jumanji (original from '95 with Robin Williams) is saved only thanks to the presence of Dwayne Johnson, thanks to superior technology and also because the story has been rewritten in an acceptable and fun way.

But there are They have also been remakes that have made the original story much more exciting such as Scarface, The Thing, The Fly, Ocean's Eleven, all very successful films, some of which have become classics themselves, which makes you forget that they are not original subjects. This is just a short list but, fishing in your memories, what are the untouchable films for you, inextricably linked to moments in life for which a new face, a shifted comma, a changed note could cause nervous breakdowns? If you feel like it, let off steam.

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