Monday, September 28, 2009
One, Two, This Remake Is Coming For You
I typically stay away from the online message boards - even those that tend to attract a smarter, more informed group of fans. Mostly because the comments are almost always slanted to the negative and to me that gets tired quickly. If I was as chronically disappointed in movies as much as some people seem to be, and if I discovered that I took zero joy in anticipating them, I'd just walk away and find something new to do with my time. I don't care how often I've been burned by lousy movies (and that'd be a lot, by the way), my enthusiasm for what's around the corner never dims. Call it a gift! True, there's plenty of movies that I end up disliking but I'm rarely down on a movie prior to seeing it. Sure to raise the usual advance ire among fans is the new trailer for the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.
Taking the positive point of view, I'm gonna say it looks damn sharp. But then, all of Platinum Dunes' films look sharp. There's some people who hate PD's string of remakes and on some level I can see the reason for the animosity. For me, though, the only one I've really and truly disliked has been The Hitcher (2007). I enjoyed their versions of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th but not so much as remakes but as new chapters in their respective franchises. I don't think either film holds a candle to the originals but I do think that they compare well to most of the sequels. Others may disagree but I can't go along with the idea that PD's TCM is so much worse than Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III or Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. And likewise, was PD's Friday the 13th remake a bigger blight on the series than Jason Takes Manhattan or Jason X - or even Freddy vs. Jason? It's faint praise to say so but I don't think so. My favorite PD remake to date has been their reworking of Amityville Horror - a film that's pretty cheesy to begin with and so in turn it didn't suffer much from the PD treatment.
As for A Nightmare on Elm Street, I rate the new film's chances of being good as fairly high. The original was one of the first R-rated movies I saw in the theater so I have plenty of affection for it but the series itself was never a big favorite of mine. After the buzz of Craven's film, watching Freddy get turned into a MTV-era icon wasn't so appealing. Of course, I have a soft spot for those sequels now but at the time each new Nightmare hit it was like "why can't they stick to making a serious Elm St. like the first one?" And with this new film, it looks like - if nothing else - that they're trying to make Freddy scary again. Is it too slick, is it too much of a retread of the original, is Jackie Earle Haley an effective Freddy? I don't know. I do know that it's an adjustment to see someone else as Freddy. Robert Englund truly owned that role so anyone is going to have a hard time replacing him. Even just to see Freddy standing in silhouette is to register something as being off about him. But I would hope that in the context of the film, Haley's portrayal will prove to be a strong one. Whether it is or isn't, though, the idea floated by some fans that they should've just brought Englund back is a pretty dense one. To relaunch a series for a new generation but keep the 62-year-old Englund in Freddy's sweater would've been a dipshit move.
And if this looks terrible to you, well, tell yourself it's only a dream.