Remakes come in many forms, there are the rare worthwhile ones, like Ocean’s 11, 3:10 To Yuma, The Departed, or Far From Heaven (and True Grit looks like it might fall into that category), the interesting, yet inferior, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Halloween, or Dawn of the Dead (The Manchurian Candidate just misses this category since the original, if you weren’t aware, is a diamond-cut masterpiece and should not have been tampered with). Then there’s the rest, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Mr. Deeds, Psycho, Rollerball (probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen) and any of countless others that continue to be made year after year.
Many see this as a sign of Hollywood’s flagging creativity and originality, however this is not a new trend, nor is it always a bad thing. Fistful of Dollars and The Magnificent Seven are classic westerns, yet are both remakes of Kurosawa films (Yojimbo and The Seven Samurai respectively), the Bogart version of The Maltese Falcon was actually the third version of that film, and His Girl Friday (one of my favorite movies in the whole wide world) is a remake of The Front Page. So there.
There are other things that get the remake moniker that don’t technically qualify, in my opinion. I’m talking about film adaptations of television shows. I don’t think attempting to bring something to a new medium should get derided as lacking in creativity. It’s doubly unfair since most of the “bad” examples are actually a ton of fun, Charlie’s Angels, The A-Team, and The Brady Bunch were terrifically entertaining (and I also didn’t hate The Dukes of Hazzard, but I’m not about to mention that here… shoot!).
This is kind of making it sound like I’m pro-remakes, all the time, and this is absolutely not true. There are several films which should never be remade, yet a lot of Hollywood-types are not on that same wave-length. Which brings me to the reason for this blog post: Johnny Depp wants to remake The Thin Man. My first response to that news (as should be yours) was a good, lengthy “Noooooooo!” Then I composed myself and am now prepared to give a more rational argument for why that shouldn’t happen, here goes…
Sorry, let me try that again. The Thin Man is an absolute classic, and in all respects should not be bastardized to satisfy Mr. Depp’s personal whims. Now, I like Johnny Depp, and objectively, he probably could do Nick Charles justice (he wouldn’t touch William Powell, but he would likely be passable). The bigger problem is finding someone who could play Nora. We don’t really have a Myrna Loy, someone who could play intimidating, yet naive, and be funny all the while. I’ve been racking my brain for a week trying to come up with someone who could do right by the character and I’ve got nothing.
The best suggestion I’ve heard thus far is Rachel Weisz. She could probably nail the character, but she’s just a little too old. That’s not ageism, I think Rachel Weisz is supremely talented and drop dead gorgeous to boot, but Nora needs to be in her late twenties at the most, which Weisz is just a bit too far outside of to play convincingly. So what about somebody more age-appropriate? Well, Kristen Wiig isn’t serious enough, Rashida Jones is too sweet, Carey Mulligan isn’t flighty enough, Natalie Portman seems like the obvious choice, but isn’t for reasons ineffable. It’s a serious problem.
Which is to say nothing of the fact that the film itself is damn near perfect and absolutely does not need a remake. Seriously, of all the lesser films that could be remade with few eyes batted, they had to hit upon a beloved classic, one that has already had it’s story expanded on several times. This is where I have to side with those decrying the lack of originality in Tinsel Town. And don’t even get me started on that Arthur remake.
Posted under Kyle's Adventures in Pop Culture
This post was written by Kyle on October 26, 2010