It seems that for the last decade, a whole plethora of films have been remade when the original should never have been touched. Classic cult offerings such as Assault on Precinct 13, Cape Fear, Death Race 2000 and even Clash of the Titans have all undergone a reworking, which some might say was wholly unneeded.
Badly remaking a classic is one thing, but what about when films based on a story totally deviate from the original yet still retain the same title?
Having been an eighties kid that grew up on a staple comic diet of Judge Dredd and 2000AD, I was aghast when the first Judge Dredd film was released. Where was Judge Death and his compatriots, none of whom you’d invite over to meet your dear old granny; it’s considered bad etiquette for guests to set their host on fire, make them go through instant rigor mortis or literally scare them to death even in this day and age! Also, no mention of Owen Chrysler aka The Judge Child...really? And don’t even get me started on the missing Judge Anderson, every thirteen year old boy’s ultimate dream, rectified in the new Dredd, but somewhat diluted! (Judge Anderson was the ultimate teenage boy’s pin up on the bedroom wall kind of chick. Fictitious, hard as nails and telepathic!)
Films like this shouldn’t draw their title from the original name. The title should have similarities to the original, but its own deviation. Who wouldn’t love to see Reservoir Frogs, The Guns of Mascarpone or even Bar Wars – The Barman Strikes Back?
With that in mind, I would like to pay kudos to Peter Jackson. The Lord of the Rings was another such epic project but it did stay relatively true to Tolkien’s original story, albeit missing out a few chapters and characters such as Tom Bombadil and the amazingly named Ghân-buri-Ghân. In this case, it made sense to omit them from the final cut as the chapters involving them weren’t integral in the plot.
The Lord of the Rings was a benchmark film in terms of being as true to the story as it could have been and deserved to be named after the original book. I believe Mr Jackson will keep The Hobbit practically identical too as it is a much shorter story than The Lord of the Rings is.
Will we hear the line ‘Thief, thief, thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever?’
Let’s hope so!