There was a collective, global sigh yesterday, when it appeared that hell had indeed frozen over and the inevitable had happened. Hollywood was remaking what cannot be remade.

Who would want to step into Dorothy's shoes?

If you hadn’t noticed, they’ve been working up to it for a while.

The Karate Kid (with Kung Fu), Clash of the Titans, A Nightmare on Elm Street, another Robin Hood (with a Robin and Marion surely too old to be climbing trees), more Predators, more Aliens, more Predators AND Aliens, Indy 4, Die Hard 4, Rambo 4, Rocky 6, and even news of Top Gun 2, set to take us back into the exciting world of… drone pilots.

Two guys and a joystick in an office? Not really mind-blowing, but at least there’ll be plenty of time for volleyball.

It’s fair to say that Hollywood is currently enjoying a creative phase where mostly everything that has been made is being rebooted, re-imagined, or remade (is there a difference?), and everything else gets a prequel or sequel.

The well of ideas may be running dry, but at least today’s filmmakers are not without a sense of irony. Remakes can happen within only a year or two of the original, while some sequels are so late there is the very real possibility you conceived a child in the back row of the first movie and they drove you to the cinema for the second.

So what are we to (re)make of the news the Wizard of Oz is to be remade?

To be honest, probably not much. The ‘original’ we all remember wasn’t the ‘original’ at all, but the third movie spin on a novel by L. Frank Baum, and there have been adaptations and spin-offs since. In my opinion, it’s a film without right of complaint when it comes to being redressed in today’s garb and flung to the masses at only fifteen bucks a pop.

Kristen Stewart as an angst-ridden Dorothy? The now obligatory Sam Worthington as a grouchy Toto? It could happen.

At the very least they’re looking for a talented director—Robert Zemeckis. Fans should be happy with that.

But still we ask: is this the beginning of the end? Is this the moment Hollywood realised that the classics were no longer untouchable?

Should we even care? 

There are plenty of bigger issues facing us than whether Muse will provide the soundtrack to the Casablanca remake (we can only hope), or if Lady Gaga will indeed sign up to play a hip, modern-day Mary Poppins, teaching children of a London council estate the benefits of safe sex while dressed as a giant condom. 

And remember, whatever new tricks Hollywood tries in order to steal our money out from under our noses, our classics aren’t going anywhere. A movie that captured a particular moment, an onscreen chemistry that will never be repeated, whip-sharp dialogue and a thought-provoking plot—these days we have the technology to replay it whenever we want, however we want.

So what if there’s a 21st century version of Charlie Sheen as Charles Foster Kane, spending a rib-splitting Christmas with his dysfunctional relatives the Jonas Brothers and his CGI monkey sidekick, Rosebud? Let the kids enjoy. We’re more than adult enough to simply avoid the movie and happily inform anyone who will listen that the original was better.

The old adage is that there are no new ideas. Hollywood is certainly pushing even that idea to its limits. But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the all powerful wizard of creativity thinks to grant them a brain, a heart and, above all, courage once again.

Until then, I’ll click my heels three times and hope to hell the all singing, all dancing Zac Effron as Han and Justin Bieber as Luke Skywalker never happens.

They wouldn’t dare…. would they?

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41 comments

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    • Patrick says:

      08:00am | 18/11/10

      The worst remake ever was still I Am Legend, the original, The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price was just SO much better.

      But seriously who actually watches any of the trashy remakes these days apart from kids anyway? I know I wouldn’t pay money to see any of them.

    • G says:

      08:42am | 18/11/10

      I agree with your comment re: I Am Legend.

      I discovered the novel a few months ago and was bitterly dissapointed with the direction that Will Smith took it.  I went back and watched the film and felt nothing for his character.

      I don’t mind if Lindsay Lohan does Dorothy or the Wiz, I can just imagine her waking up in Rehab at the end of the film saying.. “and you were there, and you were there, and you were there” only for the three doctors to say.. “increase her dosage, her withdrawl symptoms are quite severe”

      LOL ;p

    • dancan says:

      10:12am | 18/11/10

      Creative License G

      The producers will change the “Yellow Brick Road” to the “White Brick Road” and Lindsay Lohan will fit right in

    • G says:

      08:12am | 18/11/10

      Justin Beiber as Skywalker = Epic fail.

      But Star Wars failed a long long time ago (excuse the pun), when they cast Hayden Christianson to play Darth Vader and when they introduced Jar Jar Binks and then killed him to please hardcore fans.

      I wish Lucas would get darker with his films much like how Batman has evolved, the source material is definately there!

      It wouldn’t surprise me if Lucas brings out another clanger and makes back his budget, but I wouldn’t go and see it.

    • AdamC says:

      09:01am | 18/11/10

      Lucas lost it with Return of the Jedi. I don’t know why anyone thought the prequels would be any good after that disaster.

      I actully think a re-imagining of Star Wars would be a really great idea.

    • Dan says:

      09:38am | 18/11/10

      AdamC, I completely disagree. Return of the Jedi was terrific. It was a fantastic adventure film. The only reason it doesn’t get the respect it deserves is that it wasn’t particularly dark, and it came after The Empire Strikes Back (one of the few sequels to be better than the original).

      As for a re-imagining of Star Wars; the prequels, sure, but the originals? I think that would be a disaster.

    • Philip says:

      10:29am | 18/11/10

      What everyone seems to forget with Star Wars, is that it was made in 1977 with the target audience of kids… and we loved it. When the pre-quels were made, they also were made with the target audience of… wait for it.. kids! They weren’t designed for the adults who watched the originals… that was never George Lucas’ intention. You ask any kid what they thought of the new SW movies, and they will say they loved them (mine certainly do)... therefore, target achieved. Lucas was also in the position where we as adults would want to see more SW as well, but he still made the movies for kids… we were just Box Office bonus tickets basically.

    • AdamC says:

      12:42pm | 18/11/10

      Dan, I contend that the English-speaking world can be divided into those who thought Return of the Jedi was a worthy conclusion to the Star Wars trilogy and those who thought it stunk more than a fresh dig turd.

      I think the ewoks (Jar Jar Binks’ cutesy progenitors) lost it for me. That and the lame ending.

      Phillip, I don’t think you can blame the crumminess of the prequels solely on their being directed at kids. The original films, while ‘family friendly’ were just as appealing to adults as kids. The prequel’s main problems were poor dialogue and iffy plotting.

    • Darren says:

      12:50pm | 18/11/10

      “Zac Effron as Han and Justin Bieber as Luke Skywalker.  They wouldn’t dare…. would they?”

      Yes he would!!!  George Lucas would do anything for money and he has lots of it and wants more.  Something most people don’t know is that 20th Century Fox,  in one of the stupidest decisions ever made let Lucas own the rights to all Star Wars merchandise.  Lucas realised what a cash cow this was and the toy market dictated the tone of the last three (make that four) movies he made. 

      He would sign Effron and the Bieb in a heartbeat if it meant some more spaceship toys to produce & sell.

    • Paul says:

      01:36pm | 18/11/10

      I thought the South Park boys sorted out the Lucas/Spielberg problem after the last Indiana movie.

    • Dan says:

      02:59pm | 18/11/10

      AdamC, it’s all relative. Return of the Jedi doesn’t much compare to the first two Star Wars films, but it’s vastly superior to the prequals. For one thing, Mark Hamill arguably delivered his best perfomance in it, while the opening fight was superb.

    • Breke says:

      08:28am | 18/11/10

      Lindsay Lohan as Dorothy? It gives ‘there’s no place like home’ another meaning.

    • Alia says:

      09:10am | 18/11/10

      Oh god, I hope they never ever remake Star Wars, because I couldn’t imagine anyone playing Han, Luke or Leia than the originals!!!

      I don’t think George Lucas would allow it (especially now that he will make more money releasing it in 3D), and at the very least it won’t happen while Bieber is still at the age to play Luke!

    • Conrad says:

      09:37am | 18/11/10

      Josh Brolin - Han

      Topher Grace - Luke

      Zooey Deschanel - Leia

      Just a thought :D

    • Macca says:

      12:41pm | 18/11/10

      Josh Brolin would be interesting…

      Topher Grace as Luke, that’s a joke right, Skywalker was a punce, but come-on!

      Zooey Deschanel, now you’re talking!

    • R says:

      08:27am | 19/11/10

      Conrad for casting director!

    • Conrad says:

      08:34am | 19/11/10

      Topher Grace was the first puncy actor I could think who could slot into the role that Mark Hamill destroyed LOL… Besides, so long as Luke isn’t more manly than Han but is more manly than C3PO (which rules Bieber out) I don’t really care who sits in this spot.

      I’m glad that you like the other two choices, I think Josh Brolin would be ace as Han… he’s dark, broody and probably could deliver the role with more balls than Harrison’s portrayal.

      Zooey would be perfect IMO… She’s hot and has an intimidating side of her which would suit being Leia.

    • Dan says:

      09:46am | 18/11/10

      A remake of The Wizard of Oz doesn’t particularly horrify me. The film was wonderful, with Judy Garland truly superb, but I personally don’t consider it to be untouchable. Not just because, as you say, it wasn’t orgininal and there have been spin-offs and adaptations since then, but also because I don’t think any remake (no matter how bad) could threaten its cinematic and cultural status.

      A Casablanca remake, however, is something that does horrify me. For a remake could very well challenge Ted Turner’s colourization of it as one of the biggest crimes against Cinema.

      At the moment, however,  I’m still recoving from the terrifying possiblity that RoboCop could be remade. I first heard about the possibility earlier this year, and it still terrifies me.

    • Chris L says:

      12:59pm | 18/11/10

      I wouldn’t buy that for a dollar!

    • Dan says:

      02:53pm | 18/11/10

      Yes, good one. :D

    • Aidan says:

      09:49am | 18/11/10

      Justin Bieber should play Han Solo.
      And Kanye West should play Greedo.
      And they should both have loaded crossbows.
      And they should BOTH fire first!!!

    • Poppy F says:

      10:12am | 18/11/10

      “Solo, I’m happy for you and all, but Fett has THE best spaceship of the year.”

    • Conrad says:

      10:16am | 18/11/10

      Just as Vader is monologuing *BAM*.. “yo Vader, no disrespect, but Jabba the Hutt had one of the greatest monologues of all TIME”

    • stephen says:

      11:34am | 18/11/10

      The only remake I’ve seen which is reasonable - maybe even as good - is of a movie called Of Mice and Men. The original starred Burgess Meridith and the newie had Gary Sinise in it.
      1939 (?) verses about 1989. And I reckon not all the oldies were classics alone.

    • Markus says:

      07:33pm | 18/11/10

      The 1989 one had John Malkovich as Lenny yes?
      After reading the novel I found the ‘39 movie probably truer to the book but the remake had a great new direction.
      A lot darker and I found I enjoyed it much more.

    • Macca says:

      12:44pm | 18/11/10

      Speaking of Remakes / adaptations, I thought Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland was complete tripe. Other than Mia Wasikowoskiwiski ... it was rubbish.

      Johnny Depp went from being creatively distinctive to a complete weirdo and I felt like throwing Anne Hathaway through a glass pane after that mediocrity.

    • G says:

      08:47am | 19/11/10

      Totally agree re: Alice in Wonderland… how about the “battle scene” WHERE THE F**K DID THAT COME FROM??

      There’s creative license an then there’s Tim Burton.. At least Guilermo Del Toro’s stuff is viceral but Burton’s crosses over from “good concept to… meh”

      Anne Hathaway (ex-future Mrs G) looked as though she’d ingested enough valium to kill a Rugby League team.  Very disssapointing.

    • Jazz says:

      12:58pm | 18/11/10

      Remake the original Star wars trilogy: Nah, they won’t, it would cost too much and has too much of a trekkie style obsessed following to get away with it. Remake The Wizard of Oz: who really cares, liked it as a kid, don’t care for it now. Remake The Labyrinth however, and blood would be spilt. No one could ever possibly replace David Bowie as the Goblin King, not even Johnny Depp.

    • Matt says:

      01:16pm | 18/11/10

      “Zac Effron as Han and Justin Bieber as Luke Skywalker.  They wouldn’t dare…. would they?”

      Maybe not, but George Lucas has no need for remakes. He just tacks on a never before seen 41 seconds, and it’ll sell like a blockbuster. Why go to the trouble of remaking when you can do that?

      I disagree with the Bieber casting as Skywalker, I don’t think that would ever happen. But his hair would make a decent Ewok. smile

      Oh, and what was the deal with Indiana Jones hitching a ride on the outside of a German submarine? Wouldn’t it submerge? Can’t figure that one out…

    • Matt says:

      01:16pm | 18/11/10

      “Zac Effron as Han and Justin Bieber as Luke Skywalker.  They wouldn’t dare…. would they?”

      Maybe not, but George Lucas has no need for remakes. He just tacks on a never before seen 41 seconds, and it’ll sell like a blockbuster. Why go to the trouble of remaking when you can do that?

      I disagree with the Bieber casting as Skywalker, I don’t think that would ever happen. But his hair would make a decent Ewok. smile

      Oh, and what was the deal with Indiana Jones hitching a ride on the outside of a German submarine? Wouldn’t it submerge? Can’t figure that one out…

    • Human says:

      01:38pm | 18/11/10

      whats the deal with Indy surviving a Nuke blast inside a fridge?? That crossed the line of over the top stupidity

    • DH says:

      10:10am | 19/11/10

      Agreed, Human. But I quite enjoyed the image afterwards, with him and his hat silhouetted against the mushroom cloud. One of the few cool things about that movie, which lost me for good at the cgi vine swinging. Shame really, because seeing HF as Indy again after all that time was great and his age didn’t seem to matter that much in the end. It was just the lack of story, half-decent script and any sense of danger that was missing. Which, if you’re going to make any movie (be it a sequel, prequel or remake), I think you’ll agree is pretty essential…

    • Human says:

      01:36pm | 18/11/10

      You make some very valid points; “Let the kids enjoy. We’re more than adult enough to simply avoid the movie and happily inform anyone who will listen that the original was better.” - A lot of “older” “out dated” people (40+) are not adult enough and like to appear elite and knowledgeable when they get the chance to rip on a stupid young cat who has never even heard of the original, because it was made 30 years before they born. Why would they want to watch it? They cannot relate to it as much as the “outdated” people who have grown attached to it over the last 30 years. 30 years ago - puppets on strings were sufficient to provide scares and mind blowing visual effects. Today, it does NOT cut it. Having said that, there are movies 30 years old that are so original and creative, they have to be acknowledged and respected for inspiring today’s current film makers. To be honest, some remakes are better than the original, but if it was not for the original, the remake would not exist. I also believe remakes have also helped the originals A LOT, by providing interest for the younger cats (possibly potential film makers). Someone kill Bieber, he copied my hair and ruined it!

    • Markus says:

      07:48pm | 18/11/10

      “30 years ago - puppets on strings were sufficient to provide scares and mind blowing visual effects. Today, it does NOT cut it.”
      I’d have to disagree with that one.
      It may be the ‘old’ in me acting up, but I am yet to see anything CGI can do that can match the sheer eeriness that the Jim Henson monster factory produced.
      Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, and more recently the Aussie sci-fi Farscape, the monsters had such a dark edge to them that I’ve never seen matched with CGI.
      The same can be said of the puppet aliens in ‘Aliens’ vs the abominations generated en masse in ‘Alien v Predator’.

    • A-Dawg says:

      06:24am | 19/11/10

      Interesting comments about the special effects. You know what? I rewatched the Jurassic Park movies on telly the other week and the dinosaurs in the first one - puppets, animatronic all - look a damn sight better than the cgi versions in the later movies. In fact, the whole movie holds up surprisingly well, perhaps BECAUSE they didn’t mess around with cgi which dates and look horrible only a few years down the track. People should want to watch the originals not for their effects but for the decent characters - the original Star Wars trilogy had a script that had been proofread, developed characters and actors who did something with them (possibly Mark Hamill notwithstanding). The remakes barely bothered with a script, relying on special effects to save them, much to their financial gain, perhaps, but also much to their detriment as a thing of substance.

    • Fiona says:

      05:32pm | 18/11/10

      I agree Dan - they should just leave the classics alone. It seems Hollywood has just become lazy and cheap. They should be encouraging new writers and creatives to come up with new ideas and paying them accordingly.

    • Feral Wombat says:

      05:56pm | 18/11/10

      Han Solo - Robbie Williams

      Princess Leia - Justin Bieber

      Luke Skywalker - Sofia Vergara

    • G says:

      08:38am | 19/11/10

      Nice one Wombat!!

      Mine would be:

      Han Solo - Julia Gillard
      Princess Leia - Kevin Rudd
      Luke Skywalker - Bob Brown
      R2D2 - Wayne Swan
      C3PO - Tony Abbott

    • Feral Wombat says:

      02:46pm | 19/11/10

      G, my casting takes account of the new proposed script, which has Luke naked for much of the movie. Obviously The Bieber may need a stand-in for the 3-way love scene near the end.

      Assuming that you have been working from the same script, I would describe your casting as disturbing, provocative and inspired.

    • Russell Elliott says:

      02:52am | 20/11/10

      Great piece Dan.

      On face value, the practice of conceiving on the back row of a cinema to produce a chauffeur to drive you to the much later sequel, represents an excellent return on investment.

      Following the plot line may, however, prove challenging.  Apart from the passing of time, were you really paying that much attention to the movie the first time around?

      To get the most out of the experience, you’re probably going to have see the first movie again.  Although this time it will be a prequel. 

      By now you’re getting pretty old, so it may be wise to sit at the front next time you go.

      I hope this proves helpful.

 

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