Point Break and the Xerox Era of Hollywood

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.

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  1. #1 by 16miles on May 27, 2015 - 8:31 am

    Brett: “Hey guys, thanks for gathering for this production meeting of the Point Break remake. Where shall we start?”

    Brad: “…I have a suggestion.”

    Brett: “Thank you, Brad. Everyone, Brad has a suggestion.”

    Brad: “Well I was thinking we could take all the charm and character from the first film, and just strip that out to begin with. Just get rid of it all.”

    Brett: “I’m listening.”

    Brad: “Then we could replace it with stunts. People jumping out of planes. Guns. Motorbikes. More stunts. You know?”

    Brett: “I like it! What do you guys think? You like it?”

    Bryan: “I don’t know. Wouldn’t removing the character and charm diminish our ability to have any care for the danger these characters are putting themselves into by performing these stunts? Wouldn’t packing more stunts into the film diminish the overall impact of-”

    Brett: “Let me stop you there, Bryan. Who do you think watches these films?”

    Bryan: “Fans of the original film who came to see how badly we would fuck up something they loved?”

    Brett: “No. Idiots watch these films. Fat wallet idiots who only care about watching shiny things explode. That’s who.”

    Bryan: “I really think-”

    Brett: “That’s your problem, Bryan! Always thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Give it a rest. Production approved. God-damn it’s nearly lunch time and we still need to talk about the Speed reboot and The Last Boyscout remake.”

    • #2 by Bryan Caron on May 27, 2015 - 9:39 am

      Sounds like this could be for a lot of different production meetings nowadays.

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