There are some terrific films that have been made over the years that were actually remakes. Films like Scarface, The Fly, Lord of the Rings and Ocean’s Eleven are just a couple of examples that prove that remakes CAN work if done right…. just like any other movie project.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t mind the idea of remaking an older film. Yes, it has the potential of sucking… but so does every movie. However, when approaching remakes, I believe there are 4 “rules” or prerequisites that a film should meet in order for a studio to consider producing a remake of it. Here they are:
1) The original has to have a good story
I know that sounds too simple to even mention here, but you’d be surprised. What would be the point of remaking “Freddy Got Fingered”? Story is the base foundation of everything, if the original didn’t have it… then don’t bother.
2) Majority of current audience hasn’t seen the original
This is a big one to me. The strongest argument for doing a remake (to me anyway) is to bring a great story to a modern audience that otherwise wouldn’t have seen it. Yes, they could always go to the Blockbuster and rent it… but there is no debate that most people don’t do that… so why not bring it to them? That being the case, it makes no sense to do a remake if most of the current movie going audience has seen the original. Films like Godfather, Star Wars ect. have been seen by most people (although the number is dwindling now finally) so you wouldn’t be bringing them anything they haven’t already seen for the most part.
3) Original has to be at least 20 years old
I think before a film should be considered for a remake, a legitimate buffer of time between when the original came out, and when you propose to do the remake. This rule is related to rule #2, but if no one saw a great movie that was just out 13 years ago… then chances are you should just leave it alone for a few more years before remaking it.
4) The story would benefit from a modern telling
You have to adapt material moving it from one era to another. The question is can that adaption be made into a modern context, or in the same context but benefit from modern filmmaking techniques and technologies? For example, could the story of Ocean’s Eleven benefit be transporting it into a modern casino context? YES. Or Lord of the Rings. Could it benefit changing mediums from animated to live action utilizing today’s technology to enhance the storytelling? Obviously YES. On the other hand, a film like “The Three Amigos” shouldn’t be remade (yet) because the story as it is and the context in which it was told wouldn’t benefit from an update at all. Undoubtedly at some point it WILL… but not right now, even though it’s more than 20 years old, is a hilarious story and SADLY most people today haven’t seen it.
I think if a film meets these 4 criteria then it’s a prime candidate to be remade… hopefully for the better. Earlier today I wrote that the Hellraiser remake seems to be back on. To me, it meets all the above “rules” and therefore a good one to do. Does that mean it will WORK? Obviously not… but it does mean it’s worth the try.
So what do you think? Would you add any more “rules” or criteria to my list?