It’s summer movie season again *SIGH*. The time for pointless sequels, reboots and adaptations that no one actually asked for. Whether it be yet another Alien film or another Fast and Furious, we are bombarded with unoriginal efforts. So, when better to take a look at the worst and most pointless movies Hollywood has given us?
Generally speaking, I’m pretty anti-remake. The vast majority of the time they fall flat on their faces or offend the originals. This one is a mixture of both. The only time I ever think a remake is necessary is when either technological advances could enhance the dated original or if the original was bad to begin with. In this instance, this has got to be one of the most misguided efforts ever. Yes, because when I think of films that need a remake I think of the joint highest Oscar winner ever. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? Yes, the 1959 Ben-Hur was a remake itself of a film based on a literary work, but it managed to expand in every area and make something truly groundbreaking. I think the biggest offence from the 2016 effort was the use of CGI. The original had incredible practical effects, when you take these out, scenes like the chariot race just seem manufactured and artificial, completely losing any tension. This effort was doomed to begin with, and rightfully so. I hope whichever genius thought this one up was quickly out of a job.
What on Earth was Gus Van Sant thinking? This is, no joke, a shot for shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. What is the point? Why on Earth did one of the greatest films ever need this? Okay, it is an homage to the great, but it’s so unnecessary. It doesn’t improve in any way on the original, it doesn’t really serve to add a new spin on it as it’s literally the same thing. And on top of this, we get Vince Vaughn. I mean, yes, he hadn’t by this point properly established his ‘comic’ persona, but geez is this a bad piece of casting in hindsight. Because when you think serious, disturbed and ominous actors you think of a below average comedy actor. Honestly, Van Sant should never have made anything like this. If he had made a sequel or a prequel if would’ve at least been somewhat original and interesting, and not come as across as completely redundant.
Dumb and Dumber To (2014)
This film was atrocious. It’s not like the original was heralded as an outright classic of cinema, but it was a decent comedy, with some good laughs. A sequel, whilst not destined for greatness, wasn’t the worst idea in the world. The first film essentially came down to Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels dicking around, being kinda annoying. They are both still good at what they do, so there was no reason it couldn’t, on paper, work. Take the formula of the original, add a few new gags, and voila, you have an okay comedy film. But, NOPE. That was not to be. They defiled the original characters and took everything that made them funny and made it unlikeable. Yes, they were annoying, but it was endearing. Here it’s just downright irritating. There aren’t enough funny moments to make you like these characters. They are incredibly unrelatable, and the humour has aged so badly. A sequel should’ve been made off of the back of the success of the original. We’ve seen so many films in the Dumb and Dumber vain since, and this one was too little too late, failing to evolve for modern audiences. It’s a lesson in learning that you shouldn’t sit on a sequel for so many years.
The Wicker Man (2006)
No one asked for this sequel. Take a cult classic, known for its bizarre, surreal exploration of Catholicism vs Paganism, and then sanitise it in the normal Hollywood blockbuster manner, completely reinvent the central dynamic of the film, and then chuck in a wild Nicholas Cage. The original was dark, brooding and complex, with brilliant performances, directing and writing. Here we get awful pacing, bad character motives, characters who make no sense, awful lines (‘THE BEEEEES!’), and Nicholas Cage punching women in the face whilst in a bear costume. What an insult to the original. Every shred of tension is extinguished by the downright silliness and ridiculousness. Seriously Hollywood, leave cult classics alone. A film like Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man is not something you could or should expand on. It functions perfectly in its original form. No amount of bad CGI, big name actors or money could improve upon it. At the very least, this movie serves as so bad it’s good cinema.
The Time Machine (2002)
Based off of H.G. Wells’ novel and the 1960 film adaptation of the same name, this version of one of the sci-fi genre’s greatest tales, completely misses the point. Wells’ novel was a tale of class-divide. The poor, unprivileged members of society are represented by the ground dwelling Morlocks morlocks who take their revenge on the privileged humans living above ground, who represent the higher classes. Whilst on the surface a tale merely about a man visiting a futuristic society where humanity is itself endangered, it has deep political undertones. Whilst the 1960 version playfully explored Wells’ text, using charming and impressive miniature models and practical effects, this 2002 effort was a CGI snore-fest. It’s fascinating too, as director Simon Wells is the great-grandson of H.G. Wells. Surely he’d be the perfect person to translate his relatives novel in a faithful and respectful fashion. Nope, not this time. Bad pacing, acting, CGI, writing, characters and completely missing the meaning of the novel, meant that this was just another brain-dead big budget movie. What a shame. But, it goes to show you that some classics are best left untampered with unless you know what you’re doing.