Where Will An Anti-Trump Film Come From?
Who will be the first to satirise this almost-unsatirisable change in America before Trump – who has already started banning reporters from briefings, so far CNN, the Guardian and the New York Times – starts the kind of censorship that always accompanies rising warmongers?
So far Hollywood appears toothless, although they require a lot of lead-time and someone brave enough to risk their career. Instead, in entertainment terms we’re heading into an unprecedented period of reruns, remakes and retreads of ideas we’re over-familiar with. There are around 30 film remakes coming our way, with new versions of everything from ‘Mary Poppins’ to ‘Don’t Look Now’ on the cards. I am avoiding any mention of Sherlock Holmes here, who was worn thin with overuse before I was born.
The 1960s and early 1970s produced a range of both serious and comic looks at the USA’s slide into disaster under Nixon. Surely it will happen again? TV is quicker to respond to the changes which are occurring in this lightning-fast administration, the first Twitter presidency in which real politicians are being replaced with Beverly Hillbillies. The Honeymonster President will scream and shout but he can’t shut everyone down.
This made me think about how remakes so often miss the point of the originals. Although nobody remakes SF movies well – The ‘Omega Man’ remake with Will Smith was a horrible travesty of the book and first film (see elsewhere on this site) – there have been a few decent remakes of horror films. Not that I’m thrilled to hear that there’s to be a remake of ‘Suspiria’, Dario Argento’s only truly perfect horror film. But ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Night of the Living Dead, both versions of surprisingly political ‘We Are What We Are’, and ‘Let The Right One In’ were all great, and very nearly every remake of Jack Finney’s ‘Body Snatchers’ has been worth seeing.
Now we have yet another pointless big monkey film coming with ‘Kong: Skull Island’ or whatever the thing is called, and frankly who cares? The reason why the original worked becomes clear when you see it projected. The ape, stop-motion puppet with wiggling fur he may be, is bigger than the audience – that’s where his power lies. But in successive remakes size is rendered unimportant or dropped in favour of fast cutting techniques. Check out the first and best in a rep house if you don’t believe me.
For now, though, it seems that original horror films and novels are dead, dystopic science fiction has been overtaken by world events, and we may all have to settle for upbeat lightweight comedies until Trump is impeached – assuming he is.