I think we’ve long moved beyond being surprised about Hollywood remakes. At this point, unless it’s a serious classic, it’s hard to get too worked up over them. In fact, there have been a few remakes in recent years that have managed to improve on the original (Fright Night, My Bloody Valentine, True Grit and Karate Kid — yes, Karate Kid), and it’s gotten much easier to think of them as cover songs, reinterpretations with modern actors, maybe even ones you like. We bitch, we complain, and more times than not, we attend. As long as no one touches the true classics, all the fuss is mostly unnecessary. Better a remake than adapting a board game, right?
With that said, there are five upcoming remakes that I find quite intriguing, and here’s why:
Carrie — I don’t see anyone topping Brian DePalma’s original adaptation of the Stephen King novel, nor anyone besting Sissy Spacek’s performance in the lead role, but I like Chloe Moretz. A lot. She’s shown an affinity for the dark and violent (Kick-Ass, Let the Right One In, itself a remake) and I think she’d be able to turn in a memorable performance. I also like the approach that Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry) is taking: She’s hewing closer to the source material, and turning it into a Black Swan psycho mindfuck. It won’t be a slick and glossy remake dominated by pretty, empty teenagers, either. Julianne Moore and Judy Greer have signed on. Plus, this movie poster (which I believe is fan made) totally sold me on it.
Evil Dead — In my book, you don’t get much more classic than Evil Dead; the second installment is my favorite horror film of all time and I’m not exactly keen on Diablo Cody messing with the best (Yo! Monistat. Let’s Tumble). But, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are behind the remake, it’s sticking to its low-budget origins (Jane Levy is its biggest star), Campbell will have a cameo, it’s expected to be “unbelievably violent,” and I am curious about how they’ll handle a tree-raping scene in 2013. “Is that a ficus, or are you just happy to see m … Hey! Back off, Mr. Barky.”
Robocop — Another affectionate favorite of mine, the original Robocop was very much a product of the time, and to be honest, it hasn’t held up terrifically. The special effects weren’t exactly Dalek-level, but they weren’t that much better. The new Robocop looks as though it will be a marked improvement in the acting category, it will amp up the violence even more, and perhaps manage to weave in some of the dark social commentary from the original minus the 80’s cheese. The script was good enough to initially attract Darren Aronovsky, so it makes sense that this lights-out cast has signed on: Joel Kinnamon (as Robocop), Gary Oldman, Sam Jackson, and Hugh Laurie as the lead villain.
Total Recall — Dont’ get me wrong. Paul Verhoeven’s original Total Recall was great, but this is another case — like a lot of Phillip K. Dick stories — where I feel like the movie could’ve benefited by waiting a few years for our actual technology to catch up to the imagination of Phillip Dick. I’m looking forward to seeing it done with an actor (Colin Farrell) with actual talent who is not a musclebound monosyllable, and I appreciate that Kate Beckinsale can do things athletically that Sharon Stone could not (also, has a better backside). Len Wiseman makes me trepidatious, but the presence of Bill Nighy and Bryan Cranston certainly helps me to get past it. I wasn’t on board originally, but the trailer has helped to sell me on it. It looks cool, and if a sci-fi film can’t provide the mind-candy, at least it can give us the eyegasms.
The Great Gatsby — I guess you don’t technically call them remakes when there have already been dozens iterations in film and on stage working from the same source material, and especially when Baz Luhrmann is involved. Luhrmann doesn’t remake anything; he makes shit his own. Literally. He could turn his own defecate into a rambunctious, glittering, eye-watering, sound-exploding celebration of poop. If he can do for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic what he did with La Boheme and Shakespeare, your eyeballs will dance out of their heads and he will leave a whole new generation of filmgoers confused about the hip-hop music of the roaring 1920s.