I’m not sure if it’s the rate at which remakes are being announced at the minute, or if it’s the source material that has me down right now*. It seems like every time you dodge a bullet on a remake, it bends around like something from Wanted and smacks you in the back of the head. Take Highlander for example. When I first read about a Highlander do-over back in October, I scoffed. I may even have chortled. “Ha!” I said. “It’ll never happen!” I continued. “Nobody wants to see that. Weren’t they still running around Vancouver in trench coats making straight to video sequels a year or so ago? Surely people haven’t forgotten the dreadful TV show already?”
Well shut my mouth and cover me with bees, because as I’m sure you’ve all read over the past couple of days, they ARE doing a Highlander remake written by two of the four Iron Man screenwriters. Now, I’d like to make it clear that I’m not against this new venture because the original is an unassailable classic or anything. But is there an angle on a dodgy accented ‘Scotsman’ cutting people’s heads off to the tune of Queen that the five previous movies missed? It is also more than a little funny that the first movie is the only one people generally like, so that has made it the candidate to be remade! The timing is a bit odd too. Usually, even Hollywood has the good graces to wait until a few years have passed before they try to dig something up and hump it. They tend to try to leave enough time for people to get the rose tinted glasses on about the name.
However, in the case of Highlander, they’ve decided to leap right in even though a new sequel was released only last year. And there’s no time like the present to start saying silly stuff like “as a brand it is hard to think of one which has greater worldwide recognition with audiences – young and old”as Patrick Wachsberger did at Cannes. I mean, come on Patrick. I can think of quite a few things with greater worldwide recognition than Highlander. This is the same Highlander so popular with audiences young and old that the latest sequel I mentioned premiered straight onto the Sci Fi Channel.
Maybe it’s just me but the idea of remaking something which just had a sequel strikes me as strange. It’s like if they announce tomorrow they are remaking the original National Treasure or something. And I find it amazing that they can get a project like this off the ground. Imagine going to a studio and looking for money to make a big budget Highlander sequel. I’m sure you’d be laughed out the room. But a big budget Highlander remake! Now you’re talking…somehow. I’m also shocked we’ve come so far along the remake list that we are up to the small successes of 1986 now. We are now up to movies I watched on UTV as a youngster. What’s next, Tango and Cash? Well if MGM get their way then Red Dawn might actually be next. I will only watch that film if Harry Dean Stanton is still inexplicably the father of one of the teenage boys or if C. Thomas Howell is leading the Al Qaeda invaders or whatever.
Every time negative talk of remakes comes up, some Basement Bazin always reaches into the Big Box of Daft Defences and mentions that the classic version of The Maltese Falcon is a remake, or what have you. While that’s almost true (an new adaptation of a novel isn’t the same thing as a remake), I’d like to remind those people that we aren’t talking Huston, Bogart and a great book here. We’re most likely talking about McG, Orlando Bloom and a Christopher Lambert film. All the excuses in the world won’t make you feel better when you’re in the cinema in 2012 buying your ticket to a 48 Hours remake starring Ryan Seacrest and Kenan Thompson.
*By the way, one movie is exempt from this rant. That is Werner Herzog’s remake of Bad Lieutenant. That makes me burst out laughing every time I try to say to it. It’s like the start of a great joke or something “So Werner Herzog is remaking Bad Lieutenant, right? And then Nicholas Cage says to the nun…”