It seems that Warner Brothers has bumped up the priority on a number of the reboots and remakes hanging around the back burner for the last few years. In particular Lethal Weapon, The Wild Bunch, Westworld have gotten the nod.
I know that not a week goes by when I don’t say to myself, “self, why is it that I can’t just see the exact same movie over and over again with the actors changed out?” My self does not typically respond as long as I’ve remembered to take my medication. Movies are like the hamburgers in a school cafeteria. On the first day, they can be great, depending on the little things like actual quality of meat and skill of line cook. On the second day, the leftovers aren’t necessarily that bad, but on the third day and then the fourth day … just like sequels, the results get less an less appetizing with every iteration. Reboots and remakes are the equivalent of the cafeteria making hamburgers again on the fifth day of leftovers. They’re grayish facsimiles of the original, but damned if they aren’t going to be vomitous if not at least bathed in some cheese and condiments.
The Wild Bunch is a pretty obvious one to do, simply because of the success of True Grit. Of course they’ll give it to a some director who’s done three commercials and a Jay Z video instead of the Coen Brothers and that will be that.
Westworld is potentially not a bad one to remake, if only because it’s not exactly Shakespeare and the advances in special effects might really help out a science fiction film. And it’s such a fantastically new idea for today’s audiences to appreciate: a story about a futuristic amusement park in which the attractions turn against the visitors penned by Michael Crichton. No one in this generation has seen anything like that. The only thing that could make it better is if they tweaked the story to have dinosaurs instead of robots. That would be epic.
But Lethal Weapon? Come on, seriously? It’s just a buddy cop movie. Look, I loved Lethal Weapon. When I was nine my grandma let me watch it on a day I stayed home sick from school and got left with her. She reminded me that my mom didn’t need to know if I saw an R movie at grandma’s house, because as I’ve said before, my grandma is awesome. But that movie was a guilty pleasure exactly because it had Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, the sheer chemistry between those two, and a willingness to make the main character suicidal and freaking insane. Who are they going to get to fill the shoes of those two? Because if you don’t land the chemistry, there’s just no movie there at all. Look, some movies are set apart because of effects, plot, or story, but movies that are distinguished by the actors can’t really be remade. Sure you can use the same script and slap the title on it, but take out Gibson and Glover and you have any other R-rated buddy cup movie regardless of what label you toss on it.