They just can’t leave the ’80s alone

Johnny 5 is angry, Hollywood. Very angry.

Listen, I know the ’80s are the laughing stock of pop culture, but today’s pop culture owes itself to triumphs and failures of that decade, not to mention many people hold ’80s movies and TV shows close to their hearts. With all that said, is there any reason to update and remake an ’80s classic?

The most recent movie to get remake treatment is now Short Circuit, the beloved E.T. meets Terminator meets War Games classic a.k.a this movie embodied the ’80s. It didn’t take long for the news to spread like H1N1 through the net news wire when Paul Blart: Mall Cop director Steve Carr signed on to the project.

I posted my review earlier today in light of this most annoying news. Short Circuit was actually one of the good bad ‘80s films. It was a culmination of Hollywood’s computers/future/alien fixation and it pokes fun at it. That’s half the film’s charm right there and by remaking it, you’re automatically downgrading.

And Dimension Films better not blame WALL*E for the reason this remake would have potential. I’m sorry, but you’re not Pixar. Plus, the comparisons that Johnny 5 will draw to WALL*E aren’t going to help this reboot. Johnny Five might have come first, but people are smart enough; they might not know who Johnny 5 is, but they’ll think this movie is just trying to exploit WALL*E’s popularity.

Oh, and another thing: if the way the U.S. Cellular dancing robot commercials have been received is any indication of how America feels about another scooter robot movie, then they should stop now.

I’m a very firm believer in not remaking a movie unless the original was somewhere between moderate and awful or the movie would resonate with us in a refreshing new way thanks to a modern context.

So you might be surprised to hear that I’m encouraged by George Miller’s announcement of a Mad Max 4. Honestly, I didn’t like the first two films Mad Max and The Road Warrior so I didn’t bother with Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. You’d think I wouldn’t care for a number four, but quite the contrary: I think the concept was great, I just didn’t like the execution. Read about that here.

I’m a huge fan of post-apocalyptic science-fiction and I feel like I know what makes for a good one. Conceptually, the Mad Max films are great: recycled materials, barbaric humans hording gasoline and a revenge-filled ex-cop taking justice into his own hands, but I was unimpressed with Miller’s execution. It’s likely he would still direct, but some modern special effects would do this film some good. It needs a more vivid imagination and 20 years of new minds working in the business might be all it takes.

Then again, many people loved these films and would disagree with me entirely on giving them a 21st Century look. I certainly can’t blame those who covet this franchise for feeling that way either. We need more novelty in the movies these days, stuff like District 9. Retreading movies barely 20 years old is stale thinking.

So, Hollywood, leave our ‘80s movies alone. Stop the Short Circuit, Mad Max and Conan the Barbarian remake/sequels/reboots and whatever else you have up your sleeve.


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