Director John Waters a.k.a. the 'Pope of Trash' once said, "Why would you remake a great movie? You should remake the bad ones." This is a notion I can't help but to concur with. If a film's decent, and there's no creative remastering intended with the reboot then what's the point? Nowadays, remakes are fairly common. The final products are financially lucrative, but hit-and-miss with the critics. Remaking a "terrible" movie can be potentially risky (especially if it was a box office bomb), and is an incredible task to undertake. Yet, I believe if it's done right- and the movie already has admirable traits & an interesting setup- then it could be a huge success. Here are 5 remakes that have the potential to be extraordinary.
5. Cool World
Commonly referred to as the adult version Who Framed Roger Rabbit if Roger stuck his head inside a blender and pressed blend. This film was about a human detective called Frank Harris who's chasing down a cartoonist's gorgeous-but-volatile creation named Holli Would before she unintentionally cuts the universe in twain. The film made less than half its budget, and the majority of critics panned it. Currently it's rated 4% on Rotten Tomatoes and was given 1/4 by famous film critic Roger Ebert. However, it's gained a cult following over the years. With this information in mind, how could this stinker of a movie be redeemed by a reboot?
When director Ralph Bashki first pitched the film it was intended to be a 2D horror movie. Its original concept was about a toon/human hybrid who's disfigured as a result, and after her dad abandons her she goes after him to end his life. However, the son of Paramount Studio's president Frank Mancusco had the movie's script completely rewritten without Bashki's permission or knowledge. Although it ultimately depends on the quality of the screenplay, animation, acting, etc. I feel that if Cool World were returned to its initial state it could be a more entertaining movie-especially with the animated suspense angle. and otherwise suitable movie.
This surreal stop motion animated/live action interwoven movie was also about a cartoonist named Stu Miley who's trapped in his troubled subconscious after falling into a coma. He simultaneously has to fend off from the creations of his tremulous mind, and regain consciousness before his creation Monkeybone wreaks havoc. When it was released in theaters the movie received poor ratings and made only 10% of its budget back. While it was applauded for its impressive/innovative images, the dialogue, characters, and humor were all dismissed. Similar to Cool World, it has attracted a faction of admirers.
I personally think if the script, special effects and characters personalities were reworked, while its' defining abstract motif, intriguing premise and stop motion animation were retained it could be a congenial feature to watch. Another possibility could be adapting the comic Darktown which Monkeybone was partially based off of. The synopsis is similar in that a cartoonist also falls into a coma and finds himself in a obscure environment known as Darktown. However, it differs from movie in that there's no monkey and the lead character Jacques has a red suitcase that protects him from the terrors of the obscure city.
Interestingly enough, Catwoman began production during the '90s and actress Michelle Peiffer was intended to star in it, after she'd played the antihero in Batman Returns. Unfortunately, due to other work and personal commitments she had to pass. The film was in development hell for years and actresses Ashley Judd and Nicole Kidman were considered/slated for the role until Halle Berry took over the reigns. The movie was released in 2004 and revolved around its lead character Patience Phillips becoming Catwoman and bringing down a devious corporation. When it came out the general response was a big, whopping and overwhelming...
The screenplay, characters, acting, Catwoman's costume, special effects... literally every aspect was panned. It also won Razzies for Worst Picture, Actress, Director and Script. As a result it only garnered $20 million less than its overall budget of $100 million. Many comic book fans know of the complexity and intriguing aspects of Catwoman's personality. And if they were to reboot this film it'd not only be wise, but promising if it followed one of her more popular cannon story lines. Many fans would love to see her impoverished beginnings, familial connection with crime boss Falconey, friendship with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and her tumultuous/romantic relationship with Batman. There's so many versions of Catwoman that they could adapt.
2. Fantastic 4
Any film version of The Fantastic Four could fit into this category. The '94, '05 and '15 versions have all been criticized for lazy writing, mediocre acting, unbearable corniness, terrible special effects, and pacing. They're based off of a '60s Marvel comic of the same name about a group of four adults who become superheroes after being exposed to radiation during a space expedition. Despite restarting the same franchise twice the films repeatedly receive flack from critics and audiences. However, Fantastic 4 (2005), and its sequel Fantasic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) were fiscally successful with the former earning $330 million while the latter achieved $289 million worldwide.
It's clear from the previous films' mistakes that if a remake should occur, the screenplay, casting, effects and directing should be given a substantial amount of attention and care. By now it should be realized that story and characters are the only viable foundations that hold up. Even if a film is visually unimpressive, piquant dialogue, intricate plot, authentic acting and resonating characters will save a movie.
1. The Last Airbender
It's no secret that this film is despised by the majority of the human race (that last detail is maybe slightly exaggerated). Director M. Night Shyamalan developed this from the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Although it performed fairly in theaters, the general response was negative. Its current score on Rotten tomatoes is 6%, while it's rated 20% and 4.3/10 on Metacritic and Imdb.com, the movie has received criticism for its acting, casting mainly Caucasian actors in ethnic roles, sloppy visual effects, lack of humor (that was signature in the series) and dumbing down the characters themselves. The Last Airbender is so notoriously deplored that it's been regarded as one of the worst films in history.
If Avatar: The Last Airbender was to be given another go, and developed into a feature I think it's agreeable that there needs to be some standard guidelines. The basics being having a competent director (not that Shymalan's always been subpar, but his style has receded in the last decade), strong script, impeccable casting, charming characters(which wouldn't be hard if they follow the series). Above all, a remake must instill some of the series' hallmark elements; witty comedy, profound drama and adrenaline rushing action. As someone who loves and admires the series, and recognizes the tremendous effort the cast and crew put into making this show everlasting, it's only fitting that the film matches their energy.
As I've stated before, refurbishing a movie (especially a terrible one) can be a scrupulous challenge. Some moviegoers will preemptively be disenfranchised and cynical due to the prior film's rancid status, so there'll need to be robust marketing and varnishing to make it appear appealing to the masses. Yet, in the same way we witness a debilitated building being renovated into something new and better, the payoff is almost always gratifying and worthwhile.