At the Observer today, Christopher Rosen, stimulated by the unfortunate new The Taking of Pelham 123, decries remakes of 70s New York classics. But his complaint is that “Only ’70s period pieces remain locked inside the isolation of past events… We want ’70s films to be something other than a history lesson.”
Actually, we just want remade 70s films to be something other than teh suck. But our hopes are not high for the upcoming do-overs of The Warriors and Fame. Look at the Fame trailer. The original was no Les Enfants du Paradis, but it at least it took place in a recognizable New York. The new one looks like it takes place on the set of American Idol. And we expect that, like Pelham 123, it is will be the ADHD version of the original, a characterless thrill ride with the name New York stuck on for cachet.
This horrible trend shows no sign of stopping, and we anticipate these nightmarish resuscitations in the near future:
Taxi Driver. Travis Bickle (Zach Braff), thrown out of his New Jersey home by his parents, falls into a job as a cabbie, in which he meets many quirky characters, among them an uptight political operative (Blake Lively) whom he offends by taking her to a midnight show of Donnie Darko, and a young girl (Miley Cyrus) who is being forced against her will to attend a Sylvan Learning Center and take piano lessons. Calling on his training as a film major (he is seen at one point saying “You can’t handle the truth!” into a mirror over and over), he confronts both the girl’s father and himself, and everyone learns something about life.
Mean Streets. Growing up in the upscale former Little Italy, Charlie (Zac Efron) has learned the importance of old school trance music, iced cappuccino, and loyalty. But he is challenged by his friend Johnny Boy (Jason Schwartzman), a wild man who is constantly reneging on his deals with venture capitalists. Charlie looks in vain for answers in the Buddhism of his youth, but in the end he, the woman he loves, and Johnny Boy are all doomed to careers in marketing.
The French Connection. This time Detective Popeye Doyle (Seth Rogen) and his partner Buddy Russo (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) play it for laughs as they try to recover a shipment of primo weed before international bad guy Alain Charnier (Robert Downey Jr.) can smoke it all up. Hilarious chase sequence under the L train tracks.
The Wiz. Similar to original, but with more CGI, modern orchestrations, an IMAX 3D version, and four new songs by the Black Eyed Peas. Dorothy will be played by whoever wins American Idol; Diana Ross will play Evermean, who will turn out to be not mean, but merely misunderstood, and who will reconcile with her sister Glinda.
>Death Wish. Traumatized by the violent death of his family, Paul Kersey (Ryan Reynolds) sets out to kill criminals — but instead of just gunning them down, he takes them to his underground lair and submits them to gruesome “tests” leading to bloody climaxes. Left open-ended to allow for a series of sequels.