I just viewed the trailer for the so-called remake of the 1991 classic, Point Break, and from what I saw — there are all kinds of wrong here that need to be addressed. Before I do, here’s the trailer:
This is a remake as much as the Teletubbies are role models. Other than using the names Bodhi and Utah, there is almost no resemblance to the original film. Now I understand that when remaking a film, especially a well-known favorite like this, producers need to not only pay tribute to the original, they need to update the film with something new. But when you alter the premise of the film so much that it becomes completely indistinguishable from the original, there is no doubt this is simply a cash grab. The studios are simply using the title to try and lure moviegoers. There is no heart behind the project, which is a major problem with not only all of the remakes and “re-imaginings” of late, but with most films that have been produced in the last decade or so. Filmmakers (with a few exceptions, of course) no longer seem to care for their product anymore… not like they did in the eighties (and when I say eighties, the era I’m describing is between 1977 and 1994), when you saw the love and the passion in every frame. This is why those films became the classics they are today — the filmmakers, the studios and everyone involved cared about the project they were working on and cherished innovation; they didn’t simply throw it out there to because they thought it might make money because people would be nostalgic. If the producers and the studios had any confidence in their product, and in the movie going public, they would have changed the names of the characters as well as the title and packaged it as something new. It’s clear this is already a different movie than what we remember, so why not allow it to flourish on its own merits? No, the studios are only thinking about the money, not the product, and so name recognition becomes far more important than producing a quality film that they care about and nourish like a young newborn baby.
Speaking of which, the title itself helps proves the point. A point break is a surfing term, so using that to name the film was a clever way to add depth to a movie about surfing bank robbers. So to make the team extreme sports nuts instead, it causes the effect of the title to become completely moot. Yes, Bodhi and and his crew also did skydiving in their spare time, but really, when it came down to it, for them, it was all about the surfing. Here, we only see a couple of clips of actual surfing, so there really is no point in calling the film Point Break if the focus is going to be more about mountain climbing and other extreme sports. They could have very well called it Extreme Gravity and gotten a much better response.
Not only that, but they make it clear that Bodhi and his crew don’t care how many people they kill to get what they want, which goes against everything Bohdi was in the original. Bohdi was not a killer; he simply wanted to live, and to do that, he needed to find financing for the summer. He never wanted to hurt anyone, so by turning Bohdi into a killer, the filmmakers are tarnishing Bohdi’s integrity and his overall character. We’re supposed to connect with Bohdi so that we can relate to the way Utah is drawn into his world, and I’m afraid if he’s a stone-cold killer, that connection and friendship will be lost in translation.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am a hard-core hypocrite when it comes to complaining about the slew of remakes in the pipeline in Hollywood, only to continue to support them by dishing out my cash to see them in the theater. What can I saw, I’m a movie buff and I’m always looking for the diamond in the rough. Suffice it to say, I will be seeing this film like any other. The biggest issue I already know I’m going to have when I do is having the original sitting idly in the back of my mind the whole time, as I did when I saw the Poltergeist remake (which I’ll go into detail in my full review, which will be published in the next couple of days). Instead of enjoying this film on its own merits, I’m going to hear the names Bodhi and Utah and constantly think of the brilliance of Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves (that’s right, I used brilliance in the same sentence as Keanu Reeves), leaving me no other option than to be reminded of what is no doubt going to remain to be a better film.
What I’m trying to say is if the filmmakers packaged this project as a completely different film with no connection to Point Break (which would have been easy to do), it’s entirely possible that I might enjoy it because I wouldn’t be going in with the expectation to hate on it. Unfortunately, big studios have no confidence in releasing new product anymore, and that is the real shame, because if the studios spent as much time developing fresh, new, exciting ideas as they do failing at emulating the eighties (which was full of fresh, new, exciting ideas), perhaps then today’s films would become the next golden age of cinema rather than simply being a mediocre copy of a far superior era.