People say Hollywood has a problem with originality. That’s probably true. But some narrative concepts are too good for just one film to hog. While originality certainly has its place, there’s something to be said for revisiting stories that work in hopes of reclaiming that glory or using it to come up with something new with a change of scenery. The following movies offer perfect examples.
No one should ever say no to more giant-monster movies, and Godzilla is the king of giant monsters. So why not have as many Godzilla movies as possible? They won’t all be good. Most of them won’t even be watchable. But every time a good Godzilla comes out it will be worth all the lame Godzillas we have to sit through to get there.
Few movie subgenres are as dependable as the siege film. You get a handful of great characters, put them into a desperate situation in a small, enclosed space, and then you just let it play out. Rio Bravo is one of this subgenre’s best entries. If you need to go a little more modern than that, try Assault on Precinct 13. If you want more of a horror tinge, try Demon Knight. They’re all good!
The Seven Samurai
Poor villagers need protection, but they have no money. So they hire a tough guy by appealing to his code of honor. He then finds more tough guys who are equally interested in doing something awesome for little monetary gain. They get to business and win the day, but not before most of them die. It’s a plot structure that pretty much never fails to entertain.
There have been two Blob films, and they’re both very different and great. There’s not a lot to get wrong, really. It’s just a huge blob of goo that eats everything it touches. You can go gory, but you don’t have to. It’s just fun to watch this viscous behemoth do its thing.
Death Race 2000
Look, people getting hit with cars in real life is tragic anytime it happens. In movies though, we have some wiggle room. And if you’re going to have fun with it, you might as well go all the way and award people points depending on who they hit. The original Death Race 2000 is a classic. The prison-based remake isn’t bad either. There’s no reason why we can’t have a ton of these low-taste B movies.
Body swapping is the kind of movie device that always leads to a fun time. Freaky Friday is the classic, but movies like Face/Off show the gimmick’s versatility. And it is better when a kid switches with an adult, anyway. You get to knock off two vicarious fantasies for the price of one and bring families together all at the same time!
Robots are fun. Movies are lousy with police officers no matter what decade we’re discussing. There’s no real reason why we can’t mix the two more often. Granted, the original RoboCop is an outstanding work of original tone and satire, but it will exist either way. We just want to see more robotic cops taking down bad guys. Preferably in R-rated action epics, but we’ll take what we can get.
There’s going to be a showdown. We know exactly when it’s going to happen. A good man will have to put on his guns and face his fate, good or bad. It’s a narratively perfect setup no matter how many times you see it.
America has never been invaded by a foreign army. But what if it were? It’s a question that deserves tons of examination. We have one great movie and one rather poor movie on the subject. There’s no reason why we can’t get another good one, so long as it has the guts to really follow through on the concept the way we saw with John Milius’ thrilling, slightly offensive original.
While undoubtedly gross, the idea of shrinking down to an atomic level and driving a spaceship through a living human body is a concept rife with potential. You can make it exciting, you can make it disgusting, and you can play with all kinds of physical comedy from the poor subject as battles rage in his lower intestines.
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