Friday, October 11, 2013

This is not a remake, just a re-imagining of the original post I wrote on the topic.

     So there's a remake of The Tomorrow People on The CW network. I'm really not sure how I feel about this, either, as I've watched approximately half the episode and don't feel terribly compelled to watch it further. It just feels like a rushed, poorly-paced remake of Mutant X; pretty, pretty people with superpowers and a government organization hunting them in a world where everyone knows martial arts. Which was fine in the 90s. Everyone knew martial arts in the 90s, and every gang was made up of middle-aged white dudes with receding hairlines and chunky sunglasses. The new version even makes a point of apologizing for its own name, which is far more shameful than embracing the corny sci-fi that birthed it. It was nice to see TIM again, though, as the first remake didn't have him. Big Finish's audio did, though, and I highly recommend anything they make.

Which brings me to remakes. Tricky business, remakes. A lot of people get all up in arms over them. How dare you violate my childhood, what was wrong with the original, all that. What purpose do they serve? When is it necessary, appropriate, acceptable to make a remake of something?

I know I've mentioned the Resident Evil series a few times in my past blogs, and for good reason. It stands tall amongst horror and gaming aficionados, and has changed and grown a great deal over the years. The first game is a classic, no doubt. That said, it hasn't aged terribly well. If we're completely objective here, the graphics are primitive, it has clunky controls, and the dialogue and voice acting is abysmal. 6 years later, a remake was made, which not only introduced the new face of Jill Valentine (which has been a consistent feature since in the series) but also had gorgeous visuals, some gameplay tweaks, and a mostly rewritten script with new voice acting. It probably would have been a smash if it weren't only released on the GameCube, a moderately profitable system (which in Nintendo terms means it was a dismal failure).

The next one is probably going to earn me some funny looks. I can't stand the original Total Recall. I'm sorry, I just can't. I don't like Arnold Shcaalkwwzrenger as an actor, the tone of the film was inconsistent, and the entire visual design just screams 1980s despite it taking place in the 2080s. That said, it's looked highly upon by a lot of people. The remake, despite its consistent tone, its slick visual effects, and its actors who were actually acting, it just felt... unnecessary. Personally, I liked it, but it just didn't need to be made.

And then there's Star Trek.

Star Trek's been around for almost 50 years now. It's so old that we've lost several of the original cast. The franchise has done everything, been everywhere. There's just so much lore and history that it's impossible for anyone to enter in fresh without being completely intimidated. The various series and movies stand on their own merits (well, except Spock's Brain. And Insurrection. And all of Voyager), but in order to bring new fans into the fold or give the old fans something fresh, that reboot/remake/re-imagining/re-whatever you want to call it (riversong.png) might just have been necessary. Yeah, it's a bit shallow, but Star Trek: The Motion Picture isn't exactly a stellar (sorry) example of paced storytelling. The first one and Into Darkness have given the new films a chance to flex their muscle and show us what they can do. Now all we need is a quieter, more introspective piece, and the new series of films can easily justify their place.

So, in closing, I'd say sometimes a remake is needed. Seeing something through a fresh pair of eyes, making something more accessible, or simply using better technology and hindsight to make a superior product is a good thing. Sometimes, it's a terrible, terrible thing that shouldn't have been done. Michael Bay, please stop this Ninja Turtles reboot.

I'm still waiting on the remake of Robot Jox, too.

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