Like it or loathe it, Hollywood keeps cranking out remakes of our beloved '80s films each year. Strong opinions surface on the net (sometimes including my own) about whether these remakes will be worth our time or will leave our fond memories of their original releases tainted.
I decided to compile a list of this year's remakes and give my two cents on each one. I'll also list a couple sequels and a few more movies that appear will be in production this coming year. Would love to hear your opinions in the comments on some of these films as well.
Robocop (Release Date 2/12/14)
History: The original Robocop is one of the most beloved action movies of the '80s. The film was a success at the box office but the two sequels films in '90 and '93 were financial underachievers that practically killed the franchise. Arcade games released during the trilogy era were well received, but the failure of both live-action and animated TV shows revealed that Robocop was made for the big screen.
My Take: I know many action movie fanatics that hold Robocop in high regard. I enjoyed the first two films, but not enough to keep me from watching the upcoming remake. The cast is spectacular with Sam Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton. The trailers point to the same realm as the Terminator Salvation sequel which I enjoyed. I think the potential is there for this film to give enough nostalgia and also point the franchise in a new direction to equal success. I'm looking forward to watching this remake.
About Last Night (Release Date 2/14/14)
History: The original About Last Night was released on July 4, 1986 and starred the Brat Pack duo of Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. It went on to gross over $38 million and was the #26 ranked movie of its year. The story follows the first year in a relationship between two Chicago yuppies. It was the first film directed by Edward Zwick whose other films include Glory, Legends of the Fall, and Courage Under Fire.
My Take: I've never seen the original so I can't make any meaningful comparison to the remake directed by Steve Pink. However, Pink's other film credits include co-producing High Fidelity, Grosse Point Blanke, and directing Hot Tub Time Machine which could give some hope to this remake. The new film is set in current time though.
Endless Love (Release Date 2/14/14)
History: The original Endless Love starred a young Brooke Shields and was released on Jul 17 1981, following up her breakthrough role in The Blue Lagoon. It made over $32 million at the box office which was good for 22nd place overall for the year. The film is probably best known for its theme performed by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie which topped the charts for nine weeks and became the biggest selling single of '81.
My Take: As the last film, I don't have much recollection of the original, so I can't say if the remake warrants a visit to the theater with your significant other on Valentine's Day. I can tell you that director Shana Feste other directorial credits include Country Strong starring Gwenyth Paltrow and Tim McGraw and The Greatest starring Pirece Brosnan and Susan Saradon. If any of those are in your wheelhouse then this remake might be for you. Props for the Robert Palmer cover song in the trailer.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Release Date 8/4/14)
History: What began as a comic book series in the early '80s and then a successful animated series in the late '80s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was then converted to the big screen for a series of live-action films in the early '90s. The three films would produce over $400 million at the box office, tripling their total budget. In 2007, an animated film titled TMNT was produced and also did well at the box office. Two other animated shows have been produced in the 2000s including the current series on Nickelodeon.
My Take: As much as I appreciate a franchise that I associate with my childhood coming to the big screen once again...I have major doubts. IMDB lists the plot as aliens coming to earth, accidentally create the Turtles, and then the Turtles battling the aliens to save the earth. (Sounds alot like the Transformers reboot, Mr Bay.) I doubt I will be seeing this in theaters, but will probably watch at some point on streaming or home video. I know the Turtles are still popular among several generations, but I just can't seem to think this film will be embraced by children of the '80s.
The Equalizer (Release Date 9/26/14)
History:The Equalizer was a CBS television show from 1985-89. The premise followed a former intelligence officer turned private investigator and his vigilante-type retribution as atonement for his past sins. The new film adaptation will star Denzel Washington.
My Take: I remember this show being one of my dad's favorites in its original run. It's been awhile since I've seen any episodes, but from the guest star list to the original music by the Police's Stewart Copeland, I needs to rediscover it in 2014. I think the story is potentially there for a good film and Denzell's films are typically successful at the box office. (Fingers crossed.)
Poltergeist (Release Date TBD)
History:Poltergeist was released on June 4, 1982 and was a major box office success. The PG-rated horror film would run for 19 weeks in theaters and earn over $121 million worldwide. It was the 8th most successful film in 1982 and would spawn two sequels in the '80s.
My Take: As with the aforementioned Robocop among of the action movie genre, I know a few horror movie buffs who are wishing this remake is just a figment of their imaginations. The remake is currently filming with Gil Kenan directing and Sam Raimi set to produce. Raimi's recent Evil Dead remake got pretty good reviews from what I have heard which might leave some hope for the Poltergeist reboot. Horror is definitely not my genre so will look forward to hearing comments from others on this one.
Sequels To '80s Remakes
22 Jump Street (Release Date 6/13/14)
My Take: I actually just watched the remake about a week ago and found it mildly entertaining. Favorite part was definitely the cameos of Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise, and Holly Robinson Peete from the original television series. The sequel features the crew graduating to a college assignment which of course should open the door for even more R-rated comedy. I'll probably catch this one again on home video or streaming.
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction (Release Date 6/27/14)
My Take: I own the first Transformers movie and felt more obligated to buy it than anything. Again, I appreciate anytime franchises from my childhood are being resurrected, but these films seem to move farther away from my childhood memories the more I watch. With Mark Walhberg taking over and recently promising a tighter stand-alone type script, I guess this film could potentially be worth spending my money to see in the theaters (plus, I'm kinda anxious to see how they use the Dinobots.) But I am still very skeptical.
Other Remakes Reportedly In The Works
Triplets (Sequel to 1988 film Twins)
- Arnold, Danny, and Eddie Murphy are listed as the stars on IMDB.
Escape From New York (Remake of 1981 film)
- Deadline reported this back in March. If the right star is picked, it might work.
Scarface (Remake of 1983 film)
- Announced by The Hollywood Reporter this past September. The video games have been popular, but not sure that will translate to box office success.
Wargames (Remake of 1983 film)
- Announced by Deadline back in June. Assuming a decent budget and modern tech, this might work. Short Circuit (Remake of 1986 film)
- Digital Spy put together a story back in July about original actor Fisher Stevens being contacted to possible reprise his role. Loved the original film, but can see this one flopping bigtime. Pet Semetary (Remake of 1989 film)
On Halloween this year, Variety reported the remake found a director. I think this movie is popular enough to create a good buzz and a suitable remake, but could equally be a huge letdown among horror buffs. Overboard (Remake of 1987 film)
- The most recent gossip is Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez to take over the roles of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. I really don't see this remake making any box office impact.