Spotlight On…Remakes part 5

Posted by David On January 29, 2012 ADD COMMENTS

This is the last installment of my current Spotlight On…Remakes series. I might return to this topic in the future but for now enjoy part 5!

The Time Machine

Released: 1960

Directed by: George Pal

Starring: Rod Taylor, Alan Young

Plot: H.G Wells creates a time machine that he uses to travel in time. After a couple of adventures he eventually ends up in October 12, 802,701 and meets the apathetic Eloi, and monstrous Morlocks.

For: Old school adventure / Rod Taylor is Australian! / The 2nd coolest time machine / the time lapse effect showing the world changing is awesome

Against: Some poor acting / Kinda racist – the Morlocks aren’t inherently evil, they just do what they do to survive. So why should they be wiped out? H.G laments the fate of the Eloi but doesn’t bat an eye to wiping out scores of Morlocks.

Favourite Scene: the Time travelling

Rating: 4 Lukes

The Time Machine

Released: 2002

Directed by: Simon Wells (and Gore Verbinski)

Starring: Guy Pierce, Samantha Mumba, Jeremy Irons

Plot: After his wife is killed, Dr. Alexander Hartdegen invents a time machine to go back and save her. When he is unsuccessful he travels to the future to find another means. There he meets the Eloi and monstrous Morlocks.

For: Guy Pierce is Australian! / Time travel sequences

Against: Simon Wells can’t direct (We’re Back!, Balto, Mars Needs Moms – case closed) / Samantha Mumba can’t act / Boring

Favourite Scene: None

Rating: 2 Lukes

Winner: The original classic by a long way

The Wicker Man

Released: 1973

Directed by: Robin Hardy

Starring: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Eckland

Plot: Devout Christian, Sergeant Neil Howie of the West Highland Police, is investigating the disappearance of a young girl on the island of Summerisle. Confounded at every turn, and appalled by the pagan ceremonies the islanders perform, he eventually discovers that there is no missing girl, and he is who they wanted all along.

For: Incredibly creepy / Lee is awesome / Nicely shot

Against: The plot becomes incredibly obvious by halfway and Neil’s inability to figure it out becomes quite frustrating.

Favourite Scene: The end.

Rating: 3 Lukes

The Wicker Man

Released: 2006

Directed by: Neil LaBute

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn

Plot: Policeman, Edward Malus, is asked by his ex-fiancee to find her missing daughter Rowan. He travels to an island where a commune of neo-pagans live and produce honey. He eventually finds Rowan and discovers that she isn’t in any danger. But he is.

For: Features some of the best over the top Nic Cage scenes ever – seriously, check out this clip (all Wickerman) and this one (classic Nic Cage moments) for an awesome laugh – ‘Not the bees!’

Against: Everything else. This film is a travesty of cinema and the perfect example of how not to do a remake.

Favourite Scene: Everything in the Youtube clip ­čśŤ

Rating: 0.5 Lukes

Winner: Although I don’t think that the original Wickerman is worthy of the high praise some people feel it deserves, it is a masterpiece when compared to its disgraceful remake.

The Wolfman

Released: 1941

Directed by: George Waggner

Starring: Lon Chaney Jnr, Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers

Plot: After learning of the death of his brother, Larry Talbot returns to his ancestral home to reconcile with his estranged father John Talbot. While there he meets and falls in love with antique shop owner Gwen. After saving Gwen’s friend from a wolf attack, Larry is informed that the wolf was actually a werewolf and now he is too. Struggling to retain his humanity, Larry eventually transforms into a werewolf and terrorises the village, until he is killed by his father.

For: Great SFX, atmospheric cinematography, Chaney Jnr gives it his all

Against: Can’t think of anything

Favourite Scene: The climax

Rating: 4 Lukes

The Wolfman

Released: 2010

Directed by: Joe Johnston

Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving

Plot: After learning of the death of his brother, Lawrence Talbot returns to his ancestral home to reconcile with his estranged father John Talbot. While there he falls in love with his brother’s fiancee┬á Gwen. After saving a gypsy from a wolf attack he transforms into a werewolf and goes on a rampage.

For: Great SFX, atmospheric, Anthony Hopkins is great

Against: This was a passion project for Del Toro, so you’d think he would put in a bit more effort, but alas no, he sleepwalks through this film / Direction is lazy / Tone flip flops all over the place

Favourite Scene: The Wolfman gets revenge in the asylum

Rating: 2.5 Lukes

Winner: The original is a classic for a good reason.

Now, while the next three are technically not remakes, I thought it would be interesting to compare them, especially considering our last podcast featuring the War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

Released: 1953

Directed by: George Pal

Starring: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson

Plot: In an updated version of H.G.Wells’ novel, the Martians land in 1950’s California, and Dr Clayton Forrester struggles to survive their attack.

For: Awesome Academy Award winning special effects / the ‘manta ray’ style Martian war machines look and sound very cool / fun adventure

Against:  The plot now includes a painfully obvious religious subtext, made most evident by the Martians beginning to die shortly after blasting a couple of Los Angeles churches.

Favourite Scene: Matian war machine first appearance

Rating: 5 Lukes

War of the Worlds

Released: 2005

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin, Tim Robbins, Miranda Otto

Plot: Dockworker and deadbeat dad Ray Ferrier struggles to keep his children alive during an invasion by Martians.

For: FX are great / some great action set pieces, including the ferry and harvesting scenes / tripods look cool

Against: How did Robbie survive? It makes no sense and throws the whole plot out the window / none of the characters are likeable so I had no desire for them to succeed or live.

Favourite Scene: The Martians arrive riding the lightning / the crashed jet

Rating: 3 Lukes

H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds

Released: 2005

Directed by: David Michael Latt

Starring: C Thomas Howell, Jake Busey

Plot: Astronomer George Herbert struggles to survive a world ravaged by invaders from Mars

For: Direct to DVD cash-in, that is surprisingly not total crap / more of a horror take / some ok action sequences

Against: Acting is terrible, especially Busey / tripods changed to 6 legged walkers / poster a blatant rip-off of ID4

Favourite Scene: Can’t think of one

Rating: 2.5 Lukes

Winner: The original wins it. One of my favourite films and a classic of sci fi cinema.

So, what do you think NCP fans? Agree / Disagree? Let me know ­čÖé

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