August 3rd, 2012
01:19 PM ET
“Come on, Cohaagen! You got what you want. Give those people air!” – Douglas Quaid, "Total Recall" (1990)
Along with dozens of other classic one-liners like the one above, the original "Total Recall" was a sci-fi trip to Mars starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was at his peak of action-film stardom and helped make this movie an instant classic.
Colin Farrell will fill Arnie’s shoes in 2012's eagerly awaited remake, which opens in theaters today.
Generally speaking, the quality of remakes can be unpredictable. Last year's "Footloose" seemed like a good idea, but it received mixed reviews from critics and fans. We do seem to get more misfires than big hits when it comes to remakes, but it’s also undeniable that they tap into our culture’s collective sense of nostalgia.
Moving forward, let’s make one thing clear: Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and "The Amazing Spider-Man" are not remakes, they’re reboots. Remakes rely on the original films’ stories, whereas reboots start fresh.
The latter category has become increasingly popular, particularly when it comes to resuscitating franchises, with studios going back to the drawing board and producing a new creative direction rather than continuing where the previous sequels left off. (Or, in some cases, before they began, i.e. prequels like "Prometheus," "Star Wars" 1-3, "The Hobbit," etc.)
And for what it’s worth, even my 3-year-old has figured out the reboot formula. After watching trailers for the "Amazing Spider-Man," she instantly referred to it as “Different Spider-Man.” With this distinction out of the way, we can focus on remakes.
It’s clear that Hollywood will remake just about anything that they think will make money, and I wish that studio research teams would survey audiences to find out what we’d like to have remade.
Personally, I’d love to see a remake of "Romancing the Stone." I could see James Franco or Ryan Gosling playing Jack T. Colton, and perhaps Amy Adams could play “Just” Joan Wilder. A remake of "Big Trouble in Little China"would also be amazing. Jason Statham as Jack Burton taking on the Lords of Death and Lo Pan would be perfect, don’t you think?
Hopefully the new "Total Recall" will be an exciting, action-packed thrill ride, and just as good as the original. To help celebrate this remake, I thought it fitting to "recall" other notable ones. If you want to go the extra mile, share the classics that you think are just waiting to be remade and tell us who you would cast in the key roles.
1. "Scarface" – This pick may surprise fans who weren’t aware that this film was a remake. Just refer to the dedication in the closing credits, which calls out the director and writer of the original film that inspired the contemporary remake. It wasn’t about Cubans and cartels then but about wiseguys and bootleggers.
2. "Cape Fear" – Elmer Bernstein’s musical score is a subtle homage to Bernard Herrmann’s original, but the most obvious reference was casting the original cast members, Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, to play supporting roles in Martin Scorsese’s version.
3. "Oceans Eleven" – This remake must have been a casting agent’s dream job. Their mission was to find the highest-profile acting talent of their generation to replace the original Rat Pack.
4. "Father of the Bride" – Perhaps the best contribution to this remake was Martin Short’s role as wedding planner extraordinaire, Franck, and Steve Martin’s grocery story rant about superfluous hot dog buns.
5. "3:10 to Yuma" – This remake captured every mythic motif of the Western film genre: bordellos; outlaws; lawmen; gunfights; building the railroad; and the frontier - and the tumbleweeds are especially dusty. (It was a toss-up between this pick and the Coen brothers' "True Grit," which was also a stellar Western remake).
"The Magnificent Seven": Feudal Japan from the original Kurosawa classic was reset against the backdrop of the Old West with six shooters replacing swords in the hands of the hired warriors.
Original ("Seven Samurai," 1954):
"Little Shop of Horrors": Roger Corman’s original featured a young Jack Nicholson as the masochistic dental patient. The remake’s soundtrack alone upped the ante along with Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops serving as the voice of Audrey II.
"Red Dragon": Although it didn’t compare to the original in style or cult status, the remake was an obvious vehicle for Anthony Hopkins to reprise his role as Hannibal the Cannibal.
Original ("Manhunter," 1986):
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