If I know my movie-buff friend, Danny, he has already complained about the remake of the perfectly fine 1981 comedy, Arthur, one of the most popular films from that decade. The story, about a happy drunk who stands to lose a wealthy inheritance when he falls for the wrong woman, originally starred Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, and John Gielgud.
The 2011 remake of Arthur stars Russell Brand, Jennifer Garner, and Helen Mirren. I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.
Danny is what film critics call a “purist.” He clearly doesn’t understand that time moves on, and the original Arthur is now 30 years old! I’m sure his own teenage daughter is as unfamiliar with the late Dudley Moore as he is with forgotten silent film star Francis Lederer. A new generation deserves a new Arthur.
And what is so wrong with Hollywood remaking Arthur 1981 into Arthur 2011? Would we want Hamlet to only be performed once at Stratford-upon-Avon during the time of Shakespeare, never to be appreciated again by future generations? There have been countless interpretations of Hamlet. Just look at this list of well-known actors who have played Hamlet through the years —
Mel Gibson, David Tennant, Richard Burton, Kenneth Branagh, Sir Laurence Olivier, Richard Burbage, Thomas Betterton, Lewis Hallam. Jr., Edwin Booth (John Wilkes Booth’s brother), Asta Nielsen, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Kline, Sir Henry Irving, John Philip Kemble, Sir Ian McKellen, Edmund Kean, Sir John Gielgud, Sarah Bernhardt, Sir Derek Jacobi, Johnston Forbes-Robertson, Campbell Scott, William Charles Macready, Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Plummer, Nicol Williamson, John Barrymore, David Garrick
Russell Brand is not re-doing Arthur. He is recreating the brilliant character developed by the Oscar-nominated writer/director Steve Gordon, who sadly passed away immediately after the release of the film.
Why should Hollywood waste time and energy searching for new ideas, when it can stick with the classics, such as Arthur?
In fact, Hollywood shouldn’t just stop with a Dudley Moore “Arthur” and a Russell Brand “Arthur.” There should be a black “Arthur.” An Asian “Arthur.” An “Arthur” all in Spanish. A “gay” Arthur. An “Arthur” where the roles are reversed and Arthur is a woman. A transexual “Arthur.” A Pixar animated “Arthur” — in 3D Imax — where “Arthur” is a irresponsible racoon who is a glutton with his acorns rather than am alcoholic, in order to keep it G-rated. I think there should be a new big budget “Arthur” produced EVERY 30 years. Ten year old Raymond Ochoa of the children’s TV show “Drake and Josh” will be perfect in thirty years time as the womanizing drunk in the new new Arthur, released in 2041.
Hopefully, in thirty years, science will have perfected a time machine, so Hollywood studios, still hoping to recreate the success of the first “Arthur,” will go back in time to 1951, creating an “Arthur” appropriate for that era, starring Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, and Spencer Tracy.
Why should Hollywood executives be caught between the moon and New York City every time they need to produce a movie? I applaud the creativity of Hollywood, with their unique ability to be Green and recycle ideas as easily as Ed Begley Jr. does with his paper towels. In the next few years, I hope to see “Arthur” remade as many times as humanly possible!