It is no wonder to me why Hollywood has so embraced the “green movement” as they are bent on recycling every storyline previously put to celluloid. Check out these 40 Remakes soon to be at your local cineplex. While most of these attempts are simply a ploy to draw cash from a new generation of viewers ignorant of the original (or previous) work, some are reimaginings or reboots of old storylines (see the latest James Bond or Batman flicks). So, since this is not a trend that will soon be ending, I have a few proposals I would like to see get some of the new treatment on the big screen.
Before this character became the archetype for the renegade cop who disposed of bad guys like old chewing gum, Harry Callahan was actually an interesting and complex character. In order to get this you will have to forget everything past the first two films, Dirty Harry and Magnum Force. The idea of a police officer frustrated with the bureaucracy of the courts and taking matters into his own hands has been done to death since the original in the series. In order for it to be interesting (and profitable), a new story is in order and one that turns the clock back a bit. I am not interested in a reboot of a franchise. However a standalone film about the tightrope this character walks while on the case would be most appealing.
The right villain would also be important. The original story – a man terrorizing and murdering citizens (based loosely on the Zodiac killer) – deserves a fresh take without the dopey occult trappings or obvious node to real-life criminals. The actor portraying Callahan could not be a Clint Eastwood clone, but should be someone that can portray a range of emotions with believability. Ryan Reynolds would be a good choice; his performance in Smoking’ Aces and even the half-witted Amityville Horror remake are remarkable and his not-too-young, not-too-old face could work for a remake of this film. Couple him with a director like Michael Mann and Dirty Harry could live again in a most dignified way.
The Final Countdown
There’s a chance some of you have not seen this 1980 sci-fi history film about a modern aircraft carrier transported through a time warp to Pearl Harbor days before the fateful attack that propelled the U.S.A. into war with Japan. It is a brilliant mix of drama, action, science fiction, and revisionist history. The lead stars of the original – Kirk Douglas as the commanding officer of the carrier and Martin Sheen as a civilian efficiency expert – are well matched and make even the most tedious expositions ooze with the kind of confidence which makes it easy to suspend disbelief. While another re-enacting of the circumstances of the Pearl Harbor invasion is compelling American history and lore, I am more interested in seeing two top-notch actors square off in the battle of wills that serves as the crux of the story. Should the modern warriors intervene and avert the attack? Should they stand back and observe in order to not further complicate the grandfather paradox? It would take actors along the lines of Kevin Spacey and perhaps Edward Norton to do this justice. And while we are at it, nix the uber-lame special effects lighting used during the time travel sequences.
Halloween 3: The Season of the Witch
If a horror movie is going to make my list it will be one that never got a fair shake in the first place. H3 is largely disregarded by fans of the Halloween series as it does not involve the character Michael Myers. John Carpenter and Debra Hill had the novel idea of releasing a series of films in the series that had nothing to do with Myers, but would explore other frightful tales of wonder. On paper, this is a novel idea (at the time), but it failed for the same reason New Coke failed – the package is labeled the same, but what was inside was vastly unexpected.
As a standalone, H3 is a great tale of sinister magicians, Stonehenge, and moves at a very frantic and frightful pace. While the effects are indeed cheesy, there is a really good story here that deserves an update and a moniker all its own for the modern audience begging for a good scare. Tom Atkins was a great choice for his lead role as was Dan O'Herlihy as the villain. It will not be easy to find modern era acting counterparts, but as for director, entrust this to the Coen Brothers for a surefire hit.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
I begin the list with a Clint Eastwood film and I will end it with this classic of the spaghetti western ilk. This tale of three loners searching for lost treasure near the end of the American Civil War became the model for films that followed. From the scenery to the dialogue to the unforgettable musical score, this film is two smoking barrels of everything that makes the genre appealing. While film buffs may mock this choice, I will defend it by saying of all genres that get retread treatment from Hollywood, Westerns tend to fare well (Tombstone and the remake of 3:10 to Yuma were brilliant).
Finding a trio of actors to even come close to Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef is a challenge. Russell Crowe is an obvious choice for Eastwood’s Blondie (the Good) if he’d be interested in doing this type of thing again. If not, Matthew Fox would be good as he certainly has the brooding down pat. For Angel Eyes (the Bad), Wes Bentley (of American Beauty fame) could provide the hollow yet magnetic soul for the character. John Ortiz who was great in the Miami Vice remake would be a solid Tuco (the Ugly). For director, I say let Eastwood have a shot at recreating this masterpiece for the modern audience.
So, there you have my list of remakes I would like to see hit the cineplex. Here is to hoping when Hollywood hits the retread button in the coming years there is something fun and interesting receiving the treatment.