They just don’t make them like they used to…

Brian Golden

As an avid movie-watcher, I’m certainly aware of the fact that Hollywood has always offered viewers remakes of popular, if dated, films. In many cases this can be a good thing (think “War of the Worlds”, “12 Angry Men”, “Cape Fear”, “Dawn of the Dead” and “The Fly”, just to name a few), but the recent outbreak of a slew of my favorite childhood movies has made me irritable, to put it mildly.

My first example is the soon-to-be-in-theaters, Harald Zwart directed, “Karate Kid”. The original Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita film was an all-time favorite of mine growing up, and the thought of Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith butchering this American “classic” has got me up in arms. There was a point in time in my life that I could literally recite the dialogue for this entire movie, from beginning to end, without missing a beat. If my memory serves me, the first line was spoken by Macchio’s mother in the movie, and went something like “C’mon, push Daniel push” and if I remember correctly the flick ended with Daniel (Macchio) triumphantly shouting “we did it Mr. Miyagi”. That’s what true fascination is all about, as disturbing as this now seems to me.

Next up, a truly foolish remake of the 80’s classic, “Red Dawn”, except this time in place of an invading Russian army, it’s an invasion by the Chinese. How original. This is one of those movies that has special significance to me, and many of the scenes are permanently fixed in my memory (Harry Dean Stanton’s emotional “avenge me boys” and character Robert’s final “Wolverines”, as he gets gunned down, stick out in particular). How they can even begin to capture the original flavor and pace of this movie is beyond me, and I honestly don’t think it’s possible.

The new version of “Clash of the Titans” is a tad different however. On one hand, being a big fan of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Special Effects genre, this remake has possibilities. While nothing will ever compare to the genius of effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, today’s digital magic should do wonders for Perseus’ encounters with the Medusa, Pegasus and other creatures making a return appearance. So for the time I’ll withhold judgment.

Now I can complain all I want, but chances are I will take a chance on all three of these movies (yes, even “The Karate Kid”), and I’m definitely not going to miss the “Tron” sequel, due in theaters in December of 2010, but it’s really only “Clash” that I’m interested in. I suppose my major beef is the lack of originality in today’s motion pictures. While I’m all for rethinking story lines (”Tron: Legacy”, “Star Trek” and the recent “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” come to mind), I’m personally a little tired of the entire concept of remakes. But as usual, Hollywood will continue to produce drivel for as long as people keep dishing out the dollars. Such is life, but I would love to see something truly unique come out at a theater near me in the near future, and don’t even get me started on the new “Smurfs” movie. I think I’m going to be sick.