Copy/Paste examines trends in the world of cinematic remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings. Whether we want them or not…
Every film, TV Show, Comic Book, and Video Game you love is under consideration for a remake. There have been a half-dozen attempts to mount a re-make of Casablanca. They’ve considered a prequel to Jaws. There was at one point serious consideration to making The Godfather Part 4. Nothing you love is sacred. Everything will be re-monetized. Your indignation is meaningless.
They will strip mine your past while your inner child dies like a canary in a cage.
This week the internet reacted poorly to the announcement that Big Trouble in Little China was getting a remake starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The John Carpenter film holds a special place in the hearts of middle-aged fanboys who hold the original beyond reproach, or in this case, ‘beyond remake’. And yet, here we are. Another ‘classic’ movie being remade.
There was a similar reaction to the first trailer for the new Point Break, another movie that didn’t exactly light the world on fire upon release. Like Big Trouble in Little China, the film had achieved cult status among the film geeks of the world. Kathryn Bigelow’s excellent thriller about the FBI investigating a series of bank robberies that may or may not be perpetrated by surfers.
The new version seems to take a lot of inspiration from the Fast & Furious films, which seems weird to me. Why? The original Fast & Furious movie was a copy/paste of Point Break, down to the ‘bro-tastic’, poor man’s Keanu Reeves, Paul Walker taking the lead role. So it seems odd to watch Point Break be transformed into a movie about globe-trotting extreme athletes creating financial anarchy as they take on ‘the man’.
The original Point Break was such a nice, tidy film. There were no lofty goals or moral lessons from Patrick Swayze’s Bohdi. He was just a dude who wanted to surf and financed his nomadic lifestyle by robbing banks. The new Point Break looks to become another Fast & Furious type series of high octane thrills and low IQ action.
The Big Trouble in Little China remake seems to be rubbing people the wrong way in a similar fashion. It’s a film that fans of the original don’t want, but that has almost no mainstream penetration. It reminds me of the furor over The Evil Dead remake. The fans of the originals, the ones who have bought 14 different versions of the DVDs and Blu-rays were up in arms (or is that arm), but most ticket buying movie-goes have never seen or even heard of them.
Part of our Copy/Paste cinematic culture stems from the reality that many of these good films being remade have never been seen by anyone under the age of 30 and by a vast majority of people over the age of 40. Point Break was not a big hit when it was released. Neither was Big Trouble in Little China. These films were, at best, marginal performers that never entered the cultural zeitgeist. Point Break was the movie you went to see after you’d already seen T2: Judgement Day five times.
The movie’s formula helped create one of the most popular franchises on Earth. So the idea of a remake is a foregone conclusion. I’m not sure what anyone expects of the Copy/Paste version of Big Trouble in Little China. It makes total sense for Dwayne Johnson who has built most of his career on franchises and remakes. He’s practically a franchise-freshener adding flavor to Fast & Furious, G.I. Joe, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Big Trouble in Little China 2.0 might not be a movie anyone asked for, but it certainly shouldn’t surprise anyone.
007 Shared Cinematic Universe
I had a random thought cross my mind while reading about the James Bond franchise moving to Warner Bros. after Spectre. With all these franchises being considered for an Expanded Universe, surely the world of 007 has to be next. Someone, somewhere right now has to be plotting out what a James Bond Cinematic Universe looks like. Skyfall made a billion dollars. Hollywood’s most enduring franchise has to feel like a major financial opportunity.
Years ago they talked about spinning off Halle Berry’s Jinx character from Die Another Day, so the idea of expanding the world of Britain’s Greatest Super-Spy isn’t exactly new. And with every other franchise getting annual, or multi-annual installments, how long before we see 007 getting his own Shared Cinematic Universe?
I posted this thought on Twitter where it was met with trepidation by fellow FM contributors Luke Owen & Rohan Morbey who posted the following opinions on the matter in their own 007 inspired way:
@RohanMM @AnghusFM Dr. No, thanks.
— Luke Owen (@LukeWritesStuff) June 3, 2015
@LukeWritesStuff @AnghusFM Goldmiddlefinger to that idea
— Rohan Michael Morbey (@RohanMM) June 3, 2015
Couldn’t have said it better…
What do you think about the idea of a James Bond Shared Cinematic Universe?
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker and the co-host of Across the Pondcast. Follow him on Twitter.