I saw a commercial today for the remake of “Arthur.” The commercial didn’t impress me much, but not because of the content. It just seemed like the studio wasn’t going to go big on this one.
I’m actually OK with a remake of “Arthur.” I loved those movies when I was a kid, even though I’m sure I didn’t get most of the jokes. I don’t know if Russell Brand has the same charm as Dudley Moore, or if his acting chops are up to par…or if he’s even an actor. Is he a singer? I don’t even know.
Anyway, maybe I’ve been beaten into submission with remakes to the point where I just shrug them off these days, but I really don’t mind that they’ve remade “Arthur.”
You’ve got an alcoholic playboy who builds a robotic suit to fight crime…I mean, an alcoholic playboy who has to settle down to keep his family’s money. That’s a good enough set-up for a dozen comedies. The original isn’t the be-all, end-all. And any remake might only need the set-up, Arthur, the Liza Minnelli character and the John Gieldgud character (this time around Jennifer Garner and Helen Mirren) and the rest just writes itself.
I’ve heard several people say (people ranging from Entertainment Weekly writers to my friend who puts peanut butter on his head) that they shouldn’t remake good movies, just bad ones. This is true. (Come on, people, remake “House!”)
If a move has a good premise, but flawed follow-through, then by all means, give it another shot.
Of course, some movies are dated and need to stay dated. “Casablanca,” “Citizen Kane,” and “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” popped into my head as movies that were indicative of their time. If you did remake them, they’d have to be period pieces.
Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”