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Which SF classics need to be remade?

February 11, 2009

This news about the “Day of the Triffids” remake has got me thinking about the issue of remakes in general. There seems to be a lot of the everything-old-is-new-again bug going around. Recently, Hollywood inflicted a cinematic shitfest of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” against audiences. Not too long ago “Journey to the Center of the Earth” was redone (in 3D), and before that, “I am Legend”, and, of course, “Lord of the Rings” commanded the box office at the beginning of the decade, and the list goes on. Meanwhile, a re-imagined “Star Trek” is about to hit the screens, a new take on “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” is in development, the Harry Potter series continues, there’s talk of something based on “Rendezvous with Rama”, and so on and so forth – and that’s not even including the recent rash of inspired-by’s/related-to’s cropping up, like Straczynski’s follow-up to “Forbidden Planet” or the prequel to “The Thing”.

Putting aside the question of whether Hollywood ought to be doing remakes or adaptations in the first place rather than something original, or whether it’s capable of doing a remake without screwing it up (sometimes, like in the case of BSG or Jackson’s “King Kong” it does work out), I got to wondering which SF classics (from movies, TV or books) need to be remade or adapted for the screen?

The first that comes to mind is HG Wells’ “The Time Machine”. More than just a great adventure story, it raises questions about the consequences of social/labour class divisions as well as sexual politics. The novel has been adapted several times, with George Pal’s 1960 version being the best, in my opinion. But I think it’s time for a newer version, using the best of modern photo-real special effects – the kind of remake that the 2002 version should have been, that wasn’t because Simon Wells and his gang messed up the story.

I think it’s also time for Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” to get another adaptation. The 1980 mini-series was okay, but again, with modern visual effects I think an updated version would look so much better. To do it justice though, they’d have to tackle it again as a TV mini-series or, even better, a full season production.

So what classic SF book, movie or TV series do you think needs a remake?

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