Friday, January 8, 2016

PREVIOUSLY, on Battlestar Galactica, or An Argument for Remakes

You should know by now of my passionate and vitriolic disdain for remakes, reboots and sequels, but then again some of my favorite movies, John Carpenter’s the Thing and The Maltese Falcon immediately come to mind, are remakes.  Yes, The Maltese Falcon was made twice previously, first in 1931 and then again in 1936 under the title Satan Met a Lady.  That version starred Bette Davis.
And I really liked, no loved, the Battlestar Galactica reboot.  I had absolutely no problem with casting a Lady Starbuck and this being 2004, nobody else did either.  I can’t really explain this obvious hypocrisy, other than cognitive dissonance.  I do think that most remakes are a cheap money grab but then again, I can and do watch John Carpenter’s The Thing over and over.  The 2011 prequel, also titled The Thing?  Not so much.  I was distracted by the CGI monsters in an inverse proportion to how fascinated I am with Rob Bottin and Stan Winston’s original space creatures created with latex, karo syrup and stop motion.
You could argue that every story is technically a remake, an endlessly reductive retelling of a universal story; the hero with a thousand faces.  Perhaps there are no original stories, only endless reiterations of the voices that echo within our collective consciousness.  If that is true it is our responsibility as artists and indeed, as humans to make those old stories resonate with a modern audience and tell them in new and creative ways. 
I think I take umbrage with this blight of modern remakes that seem unimaginative and desperate, banking on sentiment and a familiar name or theme to trick the audience into buying tickets.  I don’t mind being manipulated, provided the trick is entertaining, which requires actual creativity and effort, instead of just distracting you with CGI, adding younger stars and a “2” after the title.
All that being said, I have to admit I saw all 5 Paranormal Activities.  I’m pretty sure I saw all 12 Friday the 13ths, including the 2009 remake.  I saw Mission Impossible 5, Terminator Genisus (I really hate that spelling) & Jurassic World last summer.  And I just saw Episode VII of that space opera everybody can’t seem to stop talking about. 

I never said I wasn’t part of the problem. I love movies, I just want better ones.



my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.