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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

April 5, 2011 at 9:43 AM

To remake or not to remake: “Arthur” and others

Went to see the new “Arthur” last night; review will wait until later in the week, but let’s just say I was underwhelmed. I am, alas, old enough to remember the original “Arthur” (just barely, mind you), which of course means that that damned song about the moon and New York City has been in my head FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS NOW AND COUNTING, which is not a pleasant state of affairs because this is not the ’80s and I am not wearing leg warmers. (Younger readers of P & P will have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. Never mind. I’m sorry I was shouting.)
Anyway. I suppose it’s not a terrible idea to remake “Arthur,” as it’s not as if the original movie was anything great. In general, that should be the guiding principle for remakes: You do one only if the new version has a sporting chance at being better than the original. Meaning that remakes of “Psycho,” “Sabrina,” “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3,” “Charade,” “Dial M for Murder” and others, all of which have been attempted in the last couple of decades, aren’t such a hot idea. On the other hand, Steven Soderberg’s “Ocean’s 11” is a fine argument for remakes, as is “The Thomas Crown Affair” (the remake’s pretty fun; have you seen it?) and . . . well, it’s hard to think of too many really good remakes. There is, though, a special category: the English-language remake of a little-seen foreign film, which sometimes results in two good films (i.e. “Insomnia,” in both the original Norwegian version and the Christopher Nolan remake).
Anyone have a favorite remake? Anyone excited to see “Arthur”? (Helen Mirren is splendid, of course, but is she ever not?) Anyone else stuck between the moon and New York City? If so, I sympathize.

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