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Starscream
2010-04-30, 02:51 PM
Well, they did it. They finally did it. They took my favorite horror film of all time and reduced it to garbage. Can't say I'm surprised. They did it to Leatherface, Jason, and Michael Myers. Freddy was inevitable. Chucky's up next. Wall of text follows.

Y'know, I really tried to keep an optimistic feeling going into this one. Even though the words "Produced by Michael Bay" echoed ominously in my skull, I thought this might work. I thought Freddy was unique enough a monster that he could pull off a remake. The trailer looked alright. I liked Jackie Earle Haley in Watchmen. Jason, Leatherface and Myers were basically just serial killers, played by a stuntman in makeup. They were more like events than characters.

But I always thought Freddy was something special. Even though the sequels got progressively sillier there were still flashes of brilliance, like parts 3 and 7. The evolution to a more comical killer was awkward, but it actually seemed natural. Because, see, Freddy was the star of his series. In each individual movie we had a different hero, but from the point of view of the series as a whole, Freddy was undoubtedly the protagonist. Each film brought new revelations about his past, and new quirks to his character.

I watch Friday the 13th films for the creative, almost slapstick quality of the violence, the easily snarked at script, and the occasional bits of comedy gold (Crispin Glover dancing in part 4 is still the funniest thing ever captured on film). I watch Elm Street films for Freddy. He always had the same actor, the same MO (part 2 didn't happen), and a real personality. He was a character, one of the greatest screen villains ever. I rank him up there with Dracula and Hannibal Lecter. I thought if any horror icon was awesome enough to survive a modern reinterpretation, it would be him. Jason and Michael are something to fear. Freddy is someone to fear.

But yeah, this movie sucks. The makeup is alright. The voice is okay. Everything else is lame. Wes Craven's intelligent script is now bland expository garbage. The previously likable characters (including Johnny Depp in his first role) are idiots you can't wait to become Freddy's victims. Or would if you were at all excited to see Freddy. He's boring. Not scary or charismatic in the least. The 1984 film scared the living daylights out of me when I saw it as a kid, but even then I liked Freddy. Robert Englund really sold that character well.

And the special effects stink. Honestly, that's the one thing I thought they would be sure to do right. That's the entire point of a remake, right? To show how scary the original would be with modern technology? All the CGI (and believe me, it's all CGI) looks about ten years out of date. In fact, a lot of the stuff looks worse than what was in Freddy's other films, and most of those are 20+ years old now. I'm not one of those guys who claim that CG always looks awful and practical effects are always better. I was genuinely looking forward to what Freddy could do with the wonders of modern digital effects backing him up. And it blows.
Bottom line, they ruined it. It's just another cynical cash-in, with no love or respect for the classic that inspired it. Not worth the eight bucks to see it in the theater. Probably not even worth two to rent it.

I guess I wasn't expecting much else, but optimism springs eternal. Child's Play is getting the next remake. Once again, I'm trying to keep an upbeat attitude, this time because the writer/director of the original will be making it, and Brad Dourif will still be Chucky. Seems that if anyone can do a justified remake it's be the guys who originally made it, right? I guess we'll find out.

Dienekes
2010-04-30, 03:05 PM
Poor Starscream, optimism get's you a kick in the crotch when it comes to remakes (in general don't need to go digging up a good one to prove me wrong).

But really that bad huh? Wow, I was expecting idiocy from it but they screwed up the killings too? Pathetic really.

warty goblin
2010-04-30, 03:38 PM
I've got no love for horror movies, but I've gotta say I admire the tenacity of anybody who manages optimism for a project involving Michael Bay post Transformers.

Mauther
2010-04-30, 04:23 PM
Re: CGI in horror. I know there are people who think that CGI is the greatest thing ever and people who resist are the Luddites of the entertainment world. But I for one think horror is probably the last place CGI should be used. In any other genre, the audience is willing to suspend disbelief. When CGI Ironman flies past an F22, the audience is willing to go along with the illusion because we want to see Tony Stark fly. When Harry Potter casts a CGI spell the audience goes along because we want to see the magic. In horror, the joy of the film is the filmmaker making you see what you donít instinctively want to see. So healthy people donít want to see a head pop off, or want to see a deranged killerís face materialize out of a wall. Because of this reluctance, our mind automatically looks for flaws to reassure itself that what we are seeing isnít real.

Now die hard horror fans are willing to accept unrealistic special effects, but they generally do so for the love of the craft. So while Tom Savini pretty much always goes waaaaayyy over the top with regards to blood and gore, horror fans forgive him for the love of the craft he demonstrates. Its hard for CGI to generate that, CGI largely resides (fairly or unfairly) more in the perceived realm of science instead of art.

Avilan the Grey
2010-04-30, 04:31 PM
Personally I don't see much point in remakes at all. Of course I realize the only real reason they are made (95% of the time) is the combination of laziness and greed, no matter how much the people involved insists "I wanted to make MY version of..."

Starscream
2010-04-30, 04:49 PM
Re: CGI in horror. I know there are people who think that CGI is the greatest thing ever and people who resist are the Luddites of the entertainment world. But I for one think horror is probably the last place CGI should be used.

I kind of agree. Personally, I'm fascinated with good CG. I'm both a) a computer scientist and b) an animation fanatic. When I watch stuff like a Pixar film or Iron Man, I'm even more impressed because I know how it was done, and I understand just how difficult it is. Anyone who thinks CGI is easy has never been up all night rendering a scene frame by frame with a hundred different things that can go wrong with each one. I took a computer animation class in college, and it combined drawing, sculpting, cinematography, programming, physics, and math in the most patience testing manner possible.

But one of the things that made Elm Street great was that the effects were primitive even for 1984, but still worked. There were only two optical effects scenes in the entire film (Freddy walking through the bars, and the scene where he attacks Nancy's mother). The rest were all physical. The extra long arms were inflatable, his appearing from behind a thin pole was done with mirrors, the wall he pressed his way through was spandex, the bathtub was built over a swimming pool, etc. And it all looks great!

Special effects evolve so rapidly that the old ones start to look primitive pretty fast. But when used in the service of a memorable story they still work. Because they are being used to help the story. With modern FX films, the story is too often there in service of the effects, so when the effects look dumb the story does too. Compare two James Cammeron films; T2 and Avatar. The early CG used for the T1000 looks primitive today, but it's still a great story and fun to watch. Avatar looks beautiful, but the story is mediocre so as soon as a better looking movie comes along (won't take long), it will seem lame.

Horror is particularly susceptible to this because many horror films intentionally try to get scares simply through the use of gory and visceral imagery. As soon as that imagery looks lame the fear is gone. So Reanimator still looks as good today as it once did, because the science of throwing Karo syrup everywhere hasn't changed very much. But the CG zombies from I am Legend already look like bad video game graphics.

purple gelatinous cube o' Doom
2010-04-30, 05:09 PM
Indeed, I can't fathom why people feel they need to remake a movie that's not even 30 years old. This infatuation with remaking 80's horror films just baffles me. Especially since the ones that they're remaking don't need being remade. Sure some of the effects will be niftier than their older counterpart, but aside from that, nothing else is different or better (likely worse in most cases. But I wouldn't know since I don't go see them, and if I did, I'd go rent to originals).

Muz
2010-04-30, 06:29 PM
Easy marketing. It's a pre-built audience who already knows what you're serving up. They'll go to see it because they want more of a franchise they remember, or they'll go to see it because even though they expect it to be bad, they still can't suppress their curiosity to see how bad it is and fuel their ability to complain about it on the Internet.

(No offense meant to the OP with that last comment. I fall victim to the same thing, myself. *holds up Clash of the Titans ticket stub*) :smallwink:

Bhu
2010-04-30, 08:40 PM
I pretty much agree with Muz. Rotten Tomatoes gave the new Nightmare a 15% so far. That's a heavy ouch. That means out of all the critics on the site, 15% gave it a good review. The only thing doing worse is the new Brendan Fraser movie at 2%.