In a world where almost every film coming to theaters is some form of remake, reboot, or adaptation one may get frustrated by how Hollywood seems to have gone “creatively bankrupt.” The issue being that not many films you see in theaters today are truly original works. When we get films adapted from board games it’s difficult not to agree with those who claim every story has been told already. It becomes even more frustrating when films that, for all intents and purposes, don’t necessarily need a remake get remade anyways. The most recent film I can remember that was like this was Total Recall.
The Schwarzenegger classic is a prime example of a film that never needed a remake. Total Recall was a financial and critical success back in the day. The story was full of action and intrigue, the characters memorable, and the special effects have managed to stand the test of time (with the exception of those hilarious explosive decompression puppets). Though, from a business standpoint, remaking Total Recall actually makes sense based on these facts. People recognize Total Recall, it’s an identifiable product. However, that isn’t—in my opinion—what should make a reboot/remake necessary.
To elaborate, a remake can be good, or necessary, if it is an actual improvement on the original work. Looking back to Total Recall and its remake, it’s fairly obvious that the remake failed in this aspect. However, there are films out there that could actually benefit from a remake/reboot/re-imagining. Here are five such films that could make for great remakes.
5: The Fountain
Darren Aronofky‘s science fiction/fantasy film starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz is actually a beautiful film to behold. The story focuses on Jackman’s character, Tom Creo, in three different time periods. The first is set in the 15th Century where Creo is a Conquistador on a mission to save Spain by finding the tree of life in South America, the second is set in present day where Creo is a doctor searching for the cure to his wife’s cancer, the third takes place in the distant future where Creo is flying towards a distant star with the tree of life in tow. The film is considered to be one of those classic science fiction films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, and repeat viewings are encouraged as you always find something new to speculate on.
However, if you take a look at the production history for the film you will find that this small film about death and rebirth was originally intended to be far more grander in scale. Originally the film was to star Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in the roles later played by Jackman and Weisz and would have had a much more epic feel to it. There was even supposed to be a Lord of The Rings-esque battle scene between the Conquistadors and the Mayans as they fought for the tree of life. However, after Pitt left the film production ceased until Aronofsky was able to make the film on a significantly lower budget.
The film we have now is still great, don’t get me wrong, however I always thought it was a shame that the film was never “fully realized.” Seeing what Aronofsky intended the film to be it feels like we missed out on seeing something truly epic. A remake for this film should bring back the intended epic scale of the film while still utilizing the original’s interconnected storylines.
4: Alien vs. Predator
When fans of both Alien and Predator film franchises saw the xenomorph skull in the predator’s trophy case in Predator 2 the prospect of actually seeing these two iconic monsters battling on the silver screen became that much more realistic. Since then, the crossover series featuring these two icons has found success in numerous media from comic books to video games, so it only made sense that a film could achieve the same level of success. Then we got Alien vs. Predator in 2004.
The Paul W.S. Anderson directed film was seen as a disappointment to many fans for a number of reasons ranging from the fact that the film was rated PG-13 to the fact that a lot of creative liberty was taken with the established canon of both film series. The first AVP film attempted to tie itself into the Alien films by being a prequel set in modern times, and this undoubtedly hurt the credibility of both film franchises. In the end, AVP was, at best, an okay flick. Then we got its sequel, and it pretty much killed any love people had left for the crossover series.
However, since then, the Alien and Predator film franchises have seen some revitalization with their latest films Prometheus and Predators. It’s clear these monsters can still hold their own in their own films, but is there any hope that they could do battle once more with far more pleasing results? Anything is possible, and considering the fact that people still enjoy the comic books and games the possibility of an Alien vs. Predator film being successful isn’t that farfetched. It just needs to capture what makes the games and comics so appealing and adapt it into a feature length film.
Videogame adaptations are notorious for being terrible. Had I decided to go through all the films that have been adapted from games they all would probably dominate this list, or make it longer than it needs to be. It still vexes me how films adapted from other forms of media manage to be fairly good while videogames seem impossible to adapt. However, one videogame adaptation actually manages to be a fairly good film, yet still gets harped on because of how unlike the source material it is.
That film is Doom. It is true that the Doom film failed to be a great videogame adaptation, but it is far from being a bad movie. I actually enjoy the film very much, in spite of its flaws, however a reboot could fully bring the magic of the videogame to life. The first thing that should be done is bring back Hell, and make the monsters actual demons. If there was one thing the Doom movie was missing was a lot of fireball tossing imps.
2: The Relic
Authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s novel Relic was adapted into a feature film titled “The Relic” in 1997. The novel is notable for being the first in a long line of novels following the adventures of the enigmatic Special Agent Pendergast and his friends. In the novel a mysterious monster stalks the halls of the New York American Museum of Natural History. The film adaptation essentially follows the plot of the novel but with one very glaring difference: Agent Pendergast isn’t in the film.
Without Pendergast and his unorthodox methods The Relic is just another techno-thriller/monster movie. The character of Pendergast was so well received in the novel and its sequel Reliquary that he was eventually promoted to a primary protagonist and would go on to star in many great novels ranging from science fiction to thriller. A remake of Relic with Pendergast would be a welcome sight to many Preston and Child fans as we would finally get to see the notorious FBI agent in the flesh. Not to mention all the sequels that could be made with the character.
This beloved cult classic follows immortal Scotsman Connor MacLeod as he comes to terms with his immortality whilst dueling numerous immortals for the mysterious prize. Highlander would eventually make way for numerous sequels, all of which were disappointing and contradicted the original film’s ending. However, these horrendous sequels haven’t kept fans from loving the original film. So why does it need a reboot? Because at this point anything that can make us forget Highlander 2: The Quickening is good.
A reboot is already being discussed by Summit Entertainment and the film is supposedly going to star Ryan Reynolds as the titular Highlander. However, this shouldn’t worry Highlander fans all that much. Reynolds has proven to be a very strong dramatic actor in films like Buried, and we’ve seen him handle a sword as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. If he can pull off a Scottish accent I’m game to see him duel the Kurgan.
Another plus side to a reboot of Highlander is that, unlike the original, it can be planned as a film series. Wouldn’t it be great if the first Highlander film in the rebooted series delved into Connor’s history more than the original film did? Who wouldn’t want to see more scenes of him in World War II taking out Nazis while he hunts an immortal who works for the SS? If the reboot were to be planned as a trilogy it could potentially open up numerous story possibilities, with the final film culminating with the final battle between the Kurgan and Connor.
Despite the usual stigma attached to remakes, it’s always good to remember that remakes can also be good things. Take John Carpenter’s The Thing, which was a remake of the 1951 film The Thing From Another World. When a remake can make the original work better in some form it can be just as great, and valid, as an original film.