Remakes have been a part of cinema from the beginning—The Wizard of Oz is a remake—so I’m not going to waste my time complaining about their existence. Movie remakes happen, they’re part of the cinematic landscape. Fine. But if we’re going to remake movies, especially if we’re going to rely on them as staples of the studio slate and not just occasional one-offs, then we need some ground rules, because this sh*t is getting out of hand. The latest remake announcement is that Ellen Page is negotiating to star in a remake of the 1990 Julia Roberts/Kevin Bacon non-classic, Flatliners, about dumb horror movie people doing dumb horror movie things in an overly elaborate ghost story. If you haven’t seen Flatliners, congratulations on never seeing Saturday afternoon movies on basic cable between the years 1990 and 2003.
I presume Page will take on the Julia Roberts role, and Swedish director Niels Arden Oplev (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) is already onboard to direct, so already this movie is 27% better than the 1990 Flatliners. This is rule #1 of remakes—you have to improve on the original. If you can’t improve on the original film, then don’t bother remaking it—I’m looking at you, Point Break. (There’s also a condition that remakes offer a fresh interpretation of the material, like transposing Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai into a Western as The Magnificent Seven, but that’s not really about being “better” so much as having an interesting alternate take.) Flatliners is stupid as hell and you’d be hard pressed to make a worse movie than the original, but I don’t know why, of all possible remakes, no one is serious about Innerspace. Now there is a movie that could stand to be updated.
Rule #2 of remakes? Sorry, Ronda, but it’s DON’T REMAKE ROAD HOUSE.
Attached – Ellen at the HRC National Dinner on the weekend where she received the Vanguard award.