Why is it that every Len Wiseman film is made on the assumption that an interesting backstory can make up for a total lack of non-trite dialogue, skilled pacing, original plot, intelligible editing, and coherent cinematography?
Because as long as people like you pay to see the films, the assumption is proven correct (at least financially).
Being fair, it’s ‘strong backstory and modestly potent aesthetic’. I’d only give it a 3/5 max for overall performance, for the reasons you described (1 point going to ‘this is more than just technically a ‘motion picture’ as there are moving pictures on the screen’, a qualification that not every film this year has managed), but yeah. The reasons you gave definitely left it firmly in the realm of the mediocre.
On the other hand, even if it had been stronger than the original, would anyone have admitted that the remake was better? It wasn’t, mind you. But it feels like it’s easier to be cynical than impressed in today’s mediascape.
I liked Live Free Or Die Hard, but it had more to do with Bruce Willis OWNING the role of McClane than with anything the director did.
Being fair, it’s ‘strong backstory and modestly potent aesthetic’
I wouldn’t go “strong” on the backstory, which is some interesting tidbits but a lot of stuff that makes no sense (why is the Chancellor also a commando-guy who leads the attack?). The original had a much fuller and more realized backstory than this one does.
As for the aesthetic – meh. Warmed-over Blade Runner castoffs and some touchscreens.
I think the issues with Total Recall can safely be considered to begin and end with a tunnel through the fucking center of the earth.
“Why is it that every Len Wiseman film is made on the assumption that an interesting backstory can make up for a total lack of non-trite dialogue, skilled pacing, original plot, intelligible editing, and coherent cinematography?”
It has nothing to do with “interesting backstory”, he’s hanging it all on his hot wife carrying the film on her hotness.
This isn’t disabusing me of the notion that movies were better when I was a kid. I know there’s nostalgia at work, but even objectively… I guess I can just say I like the old movies better, but what about when they objectively suck?
some remakes are better than the originals… but it’s rare.
the question here ought to be: was there an honest reason to remake Recall? I didn’t see it: other than changing the objective (stopping a brutal dictator on Earth instead of a brutal CEO on Mars) there wasn’t any real changes made. If they had done more internal character soul-searching, trying to argue the merits of memory vs. action, some other reason to deconstruct/reconstruct the character of Quaid, then they’d have had a good reason for a remake, and hopefully a better movie.
I agree with Christian. That giant elevator through the center of the earth is so mind-bogglingly stupid, blatantly ignoring every basic tenet of physics and showing an absence of even the most rudimentary knowledge of the composition of the earth, that it became pretty much unwatchable when they started hanging major plot points on it. They might as well have had Quaid take his own head off, beat up the badguys with it, then put it back on. It would have made just as much sense as what they actually did include in the movie.
Because Len Wiseman is a freaking hack?
Well, I liked Live Free Or Die Hard :T Actually, given the general state of the American action film, I thought it was pretty damn good, foremost because it was in fact coherently shot. It was the weakest of the series, definitely, but still a lot of fun.
That said, fuck this movie; you cannot hope to improve upon Schwarzenaegger and Verhoeven in their respective primes by going the same route with the source material they did. I like Colin Farrell quite a bit, but not even his presence could make me the least bit interested this.
I actually think Live Free or Die Hard isn’t as bad as it’s rap. There were several ‘fuck yeah’ moments, which is pretty much the best I’ve come to expect in typical action fare.
From all appearances this movie manages to both encapsulate almost shot for shot homages to the first movie while also NOT GOING TO MARS, and putting the stupidest concept on film since ‘The Core’.
That’s a hard combo to hit, so I suppose we should give them ‘kudos’ for that.
They might as well have had Quaid take his own head off, beat up the badguys with it, then put it back on.
I would watch that movie.
The fact there wasn’t a single character in the movie to really give two shits about was another reason why this movie failed. Quaid and Jessica Biel’s (I honestly don’t even remember her name) character seemed to have such an implied history, that at some point you expected to learn more about it, but you never do. You never see any of the implanted memories Quaid has with his fake wife, so you don’t care much that she’s trying to kill him. There’s a war between two colonies, that people visit everyday, and you never see this “war” being waged. You have these resistance fighters, that never resist anything. You never see them struggling to survive, so you don’t care about their war. There’s so much going on in this movie that there really isn’t anything going on. To further insult, the movie was FUCKING BORING! How do you make a special effects driven, action-heavy, summer blockbuster boring? You let Len Wisemen direct it, and hope his wife gets more people in the seats.
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