Jonathan Melville: Remakes can’t kill originals

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HOLLYWOOD is at it again with this week’s release of Footloose, plundering their back catalogue to remake films we could probably have lived without.

For those not old enough to remember it first time around, 1984’s Footloose starred Kevin Bacon as a music-loving Chicago teenager who moves to a small town with his mother, only to discover that the council has banned rock and roll.

In the 2011 version, Bacon is replaced by Kenny Wormald but the basic plot remains the same. Will fans of the original be tempted to watch this one or do film executives expect a new generation to cut loose instead?

Recently we’ve heard of remakes of 1980s horror films The Evil Dead and Child’s Play; perennial fantasy favourite Highlander; sci-fi flicks Total Recall and Robocop; French thriller Tell No One; and Spanish time travel mind bender Timecrimes.

We’ve already seen the trailer for David Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which, along with some moody publicity photos, seem to have changed many fans view that the Swedish version shouldn’t be tampered with.

There are precedents for successful remakes. Back in 1941, John Huston remade 1931’s The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart; the latter was nominated for multiple Oscars and few recall the first version.

In 2001, Steven Soderbergh brought 1960’s Ocean’s Eleven out of mothballs for a classy remake, while last year’s True Grit from Joel and Ethan Coen hasn’t annoyed too many fans of the 1969 original.

I’d like to think that some films, such as my favourite The Third Man are safe, but I won’t hold my breath.

If studios want to remake movies then let them get on with it. We’ll always have the originals to cherish and, if we’re very lucky, we might even get a few new classics along the way.