Remake Room

From Hell’s Heart, I Remake Thee!

Since Star Trek Beyond is coming out in the next week, I thought it best to jot down a few thoughts on the reboot franchise as a whole and of Star Trek Into Darkness in particular.

In general terms, I’m a fan of the reboot franchise. I recognize it’s not as Trekky as the original films, but that doesn’t bother me. There hasn’t really been a proper Star Trek film since The Undiscovered Country.

And right here I’ve lost a few people. I don’t care for First Contact. It’s an okay film, but it’s not very good Star Trek. Oh, it’ll enjoyably entertain you for a couple of hours, but it’s an empty couple of hours. If I ranked all TNG episodes and films, I figure I’d list at least twenty episodes ahead of First Contact. (Just for kicks, I did it. Came up with 37 just on a quick glance. And at least ten of those are in a completely different league than First Contact.)

Why? It’s an action movie. A fairly slick one, I’ll grant you, but that’s not what we needed or wanted from Trek.

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Running Home to Mummy

I’m mixing things up for the next few entries here, so instead of analyzing existing films, I’m going to opine a bit on some proposed remakes. I’m generally sticking to Science Fiction here, but I also like to go with a wide umbrella for that term, encompassing not only hard SF, but also comics, horror, and monster films. And I’m starting with The Mummy.

I recently watched the original 1932 film, starring Boris Karloff, after I purchased a set including six of the original Universal Monster films. Partially it was just to get Frankenstein (and Bride of Frankenstein) for my podcast, but also partially because of Universal Studios’ announced intention to reboot their monster franchises and form a Monster Cinematic Universe (hereafter referred to as Monsterverse!)

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Reboot to the Head! (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)

One of the major failings of any given remake film can be that it tries to go back to the well and produce the same audience reaction from the same beats and twists as the original. How, exactly, is that supposed to work? The Tim Burton remake of Planet of the Apes is a great example, trying desperately to recreate the Statue of Liberty scene from the original, opting for the baffling Aperaham Lincoln scene. How’d that work out?

But I’m not writing about that film this time out. Feel free to check out my thoughts on it in my previous post. No, this time I’ll be tackling Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the first film in the generally well-received reboot franchise.

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Remaking Bad: Planet of the Apes (2001)

Though I argued in my first post that collective fandom should make (some) room for remakes, I should make it clear that just because I’m generally okay with remakes as a category, that doesn’t mean all remakes are created equal.

Case in point: the Tim Burton remake of Planet of the Apes from 2001. We’ll hit the reboot series in a future post, in an effort to keep these things only mildly TL;DR, and also to point out that some remakes are more equal than others. Read More

Make (some) room for remakes!

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that these days Hollywood does too many remakes. And while I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, my aim here in the Remake Room is to try for some introspection about the nature of remakes and how to tell if you should be okay with any given attempt at one. I hope to convince you that sometimes a remake can be necessary and/or better than the original. (Feel free to get the torches and pitchforks ready.) Read More

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