Films are always being remade with often horrifying effect. Some, admittedly, buck the trend. In recent years we at Wants have enjoyed new versions of Carrie and The Omen; two films that went a long way to defining our earliest experiences in horror.
So with a bunch of high profile films due to air in the coming months, I thought we’d take a look at some films that I’m fairly sure will never be remade. You can also pretty much switch the word ‘will’ with ‘shouldn’t’ depending on how strongly you agree with my selection.
The Godfather (1972)
Some films really are indelible. The Godfather shone for so many reasons upon its release, not least through the remarkable and Oscar winning performance from its lead Marlon Brando.
But there’s more to the appeal of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece than the superb performances from its numerous stars. There’s something about it being a gritty 1970s production that adds to the mystique and brutality of it. Though the story is set some time before it’s the unmistakable 70s feel of the film that endures. To recreate the film and match its charm any director would surely have to embrace the era of the original.
For me it would be like playing Led Zeppelin 2 in digital and losing all the appeal of the original vinyl – crackles and all!
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
We’ve had Return to Oz and a decent enough Oz: The Great and Powerful but surely the original is untouchable. Surely.
As cinema spectacles go this one is right up there with the biggies. A film that urges the audience to view it in its original projected format. A 30 foot wide screen with proper audio facilities is the only way to experience this one. Trust me, it’s an experience you’ll not forget in a hurry.
But of all the films on the list I would suspect that somebody, some day, may well pick up the rights to give it a revamp. A CGI extravaganza that immediately destroys the charm and wonder of the original.
I do hope I’m wrong.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Sergio Leone’s passion for intensity in his films is well known. His ability to build that intensity through lingering shots and beautiful music (courtesy of Ennio Morricone) is the stuff of a director’s masterclass. Tarantino can only dream of having this kind of an effect in cinema.
What sets Leone’s spaghetti trilogy apart from the rest is what he doesn’t do. The dialogue is succinct (unlike Tarantino) and the music fills in the gaps. We can at times appear to be staring at a rugged, unshaven face for far too long. But it’s with great purpose that the director has us focusing with such intensity. Every shot is perfectly framed to add significant gravity and clout to the story.
It’s not just that this film shouldn’t be remade, it’s more that it couldn’t. Like a number of others listed here it’s very much of its time and any attempt to reproduce the impact would be killed before the opening credits have rolled.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Tim Burton is a director. He can be a very effective director. Some of his directing has yielded some wonderful cinema. For me Batman was a success. As were Ed Wood, Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow. But it’s his visual style that is hard to mimic. His quirky, gothic and whimsical take on a character is instantly recognisable.
Edward Scissorhands is, of course, autobiographical. The weird outsider with a gift for the creative who somehow endears himself to a world geared to resist non-conformity, plays out beautifully against the super sterile (and deeply paranoid) world of a 1950s-esque suburbia.
What Burton does best is take equal parts warmth, horror and humour and blend them into something that is instantly engaging.
In order for Edward Scissorhands to be picked up by another studio and remade it would surely need Burton’s intervention somewhere along the line.
The Lord of the Rings (2001 – 2003)
Surely these films will stand the test of time for many a year to come. The Fellowship of the Ring is already 15 years old and still looks every bit as wonderful now as it did upon its release.
My personal view is that any film where the producers are happy to have men or women in suits rather than a screen full of CGI is a winner.
The film that spawned many films. Ridley Scott’s wonderfully executed take on Dan O’Bannon’s terrifying tale of a deep space vessel exploring a perceived distress call, properly shocked audiences back in 1979. Pitched as Jaws in space the tension, lighting and sheer horror of being stalked by a xenomorph proved too much for many a cinema-goer.
Though the Alien franchise has expanded enormously over the last few decades it’s the original that, for me, remains the most intense and satisfying. If this one was ever remade, well, I guess they’d have to re do the lot!
Star Wars (1977 – Present)
So much has gone into the Star Wars franchise over the years it seems like the most unenviable task in filmland to even entertain remaking this one.
Sure we’ve had the original films polished, buffed and sent for a clean up but replacing those iconic settings, characters and, of course, actors just can’t happen. Not in a million galaxies, no matter how far away they are.
Not only that, who in their right mind would want to challenge Disney for the rights and risk the wrath of millions of Star Wars nerds of all ages.
Nope. It’s just not going to happen.