LISA DE KLERK
Cinephiles often complain that Hollywoodis running out of original ideas – hence the torrent of remakes that flood the box office every year. Remakes, however, are part of a longstanding Hollywood tradition; Hollywood’s first narrative film was The Great Train Robbery (1903). The remake came out a year later.
These days, filmmakers are a bit more spoiled for choice. The most promising remake of the year is David Fincher’s English-language version of Stieg Larsson’s international bestseller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The Swedish version was released in 2009 to great critical reception from The Millennium Trilogy fans. Diehard fans have been sceptical of a Hollywood version, but its explosive trailer has silenced most cynics. Fincher (The Social Network, Fight Club) has promised a strict book-to-film adaptation and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor is back on board for another soundtrack collaboration. South African audiences can expect the film in December of this year.
2012 promises even more spectacular remakes, the most anticipated being Baz Lurhman’s (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s beloved The Great Gatsby. This will be the third film version of the book, and if casting is anything to go by it might very well be the best. Leonardo di Caprio will fill Robert Redford’s shoes as Jay Gatsby, while Carey Mulligan takes over from Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan. Di Caprio’s buddy Tobey Maguire, and comedic beauty Isla Fisher will also star in the film.
Another classic novel adaptation expected in 2012 will be a thirteenth film version of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Yes, thirteenth, although some previous versions have been in Russian and even Egyptian. Director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice) has once again cast Keira Knightley in this period piece as well as his other favourite, Saorise Ronan. Jude Law will play Knightley’s less-than-charming husband Alexei Karenin.
Unfortunately, Steve Martin’s versions of The Pink Panther are proof that not all remakes are a good idea. For instance, Perdeby is a lot less excited about the remake of 80s musical Footloose. The film’s tagline, “There is a time to cut loose”, has clearly been ignored by the filmmakers. Even lower on our list are remakes of horror films It and Child’s Play. There have already been four sequels starring the infinitely wicked doll Chucky, why reboot the enterprise? To scare a whole new generation of kids away from their toys? As for It, screenwriter Dave Kajganich promises the film will be “R-rated, gory and terrifying”. If other horror movie remakes are anything to go by (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Amityville Horror, Nightmare on Elm Street) then the prospects look dismal.