Remake is a dirty word

Classic 1939 film “Wizard of Oz” faces remake doom

Yesterday on the radio, I heard Ryan Seacrest say that as a result of the success of “Alice in Wonderland,” Tim Burton was wanting to remake the classic, shouldn’t be touched 1939 “Wizard of Oz.”

I think this is terribly ironic because just last Friday I was watching the documentary “Memories of Oz” (2001) on Turner Classic Movies. The documentary was part of the annual July airing of “Wizard of Oz” to celebrate when it was released.

In this documentary actor/writer John Waters (who seemed rather bizarre) said that remaking the “Wizard of Oz” would be suicide and it would fail; the only way it would work would be with completely unknown actors, but that wouldn’t even be fool proof.

Well John, looks like they didn’t listen to your advice. However, as much as I want it to, I doubt Tim Burton’s movie will fail. Everyone seems to love his creepy, odd direction and films and they all do fabulous in the box office. I personally am not a fan, but it seems I am the only one who is not.

As for unknown actors, Seacrest said that it was rumored that Angelina Jolie would play the Wicked Witch of the West. He said she wanted to show that she wasn’t afraid to play “evil roles” and he also called her “the biggest celebrity in the world.”

Ok two things Ryan: 1.) Hasn’t Angelina already proven that (in film and real life haha)?  2.) I wouldn’t say Angelina is the “biggest star in the world.” All she does is adopt babies and occasionally act. I had forgotten about her until I saw a preview for “Salt.” She wasn’t even at the Academy Awards!

I don’t know about how many of you feel about remakes. I personally hate them. It usually seems I worry and worry and worry about them and then they fail in the box office anyway or you never hear about them. Examples of this would be: “The Women” (2008)-second remake of 1939 Joan Crawford film, “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” (2009)-remake of 1956 Dana Andrews film  or “Psycho” (1998)-remake of the 1960 Hitchcock film.

After I told my mother, she said, “Next they will remake ‘Gone with the Wind’!” I disagree, because it doesn’t seem that anyone is interested in the South except for we southerners. Also, “Gone with the Wind” has been dubbed ‘racist’ because it has slaves in it, so I’m not sure how current politically correct would tip toe around the historical fact that there were slave owners in the 1800’s in the south. However, Robert Osborne, prime time host of Turner Classic Movies and my idol, shakes his head when people call the film ‘racist’ and reminds his viewers that it was a different time in film and you can’t take everything from contemporary standards.

How do you feel about the remake? Do you think it will fail? What classic movie is next to go on the chopping block?

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7 thoughts on “Remake is a dirty word

  1. I personally am not a fan, but it seems I am the only one who is not.

    Nah, you’re not the only one who finds Burton’s work a bit too self-indulgent. I mean, I liked Beetlejuice (1988) because it had some wit to go with its special effects…but most Burton films nowadays have sort of abandoned that mix.

    An Oz remake is a terrible idea. As such, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that Hollywood is entertaining such a notion.

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    • I don’t like Tim Burton because I find him just plain odd. I don’t really go for creepy, odd and maybe slightly gross humor or movies. I guess I’m just old fashioned lol.

      I guess I’m not surprised that they are remaking it either. It seems that Hollywood has run out of ideas so they have to remake good movies. Their excuse I guess is to re-introduce them to new movie goers. Well if that’s the case…re-release.

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  2. A straight-up Oz remake would suck. I’ll tolerate prequels, spin-offs, alternate viewpoints, whatever, but a remake just makes my head hurt.

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    • I agree, prequels, follow ups…none of that bothers me too much. I wanted to be ill when dumb Ryan Seacrest excitedly announced this big news on the radio.

      It goes with the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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  3. Rather than a remake, I can think of two books that might make wonderful sequels to the Wizard of Oz.

    Magician of Oz & Shadow Demon of Oz. I believe a third volume is coming out called Family of Oz.

    Rumor has it the author is quite magnificent!

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  4. I don’t think I would mind that much as long as Tim Burton is making the film. What I don’t like is when a remake just tries to go and do what the original did with the intention of replacing the original. Burton is too much of an auteur to do just a carbon copy.

    Now the fact that they are remaking John Carpenter’s The Thing which was already a remake of Howard Hawks’ The Thing From Another World has me bothered. I am also not looking forward to the butchering of Dario Argento’s Suspiria.

    As for Waters, I can understand why he wouldn’t like remakes. His film Hairspray was turned into a musical and then remade as a film. At least the rest of his movies are way too strange to ever get remade.

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  5. Uh, the ’39 “Wizard Of Oz” was itself a remake, The book had been filmed a number of times during the silent era, and L. Frank Baum even produced a series of films (and stage adaptations) of the “Oz” books in the early part of the 20th century.

    I think doing an “Oz” film these days is folly, due to the status the ’39 movie has in our culture (no cinematic “Alice” ever grew to that stature), but we treat the film as if it were original or a first-time adaptation, which it clearly wasn’t.

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