The long-dreaded RoboCop remake is on the verge of release (this Friday, to be exact) and science fiction fans all over the world are cringing. Of all the sci-fi movies in the world to remake, why did it have to be one of the best (and still most relevant) ever made? Since we can't stop remakes from happening, we'll do the next best thing: suggest sci-fi movies that actually could use a do-over. By Jacob Hall
To be fair, we don't want Will Smith's I, Robot remade as much as we want the story it's based on made properly. The 2004 adaptation was a hit, but it threw away almost everything that makes Isaac Asimov's original novel one of the best science fiction novels of all time. A proper version won't have too much crowd-pleasing action, but it will have scope, emotional breadth and countless fascinating ideas.
The Incredible Melting Man
Outside of Rick Baker's incredible make-up effects, it's an awful and mostly unwatchable mess. However, there's something truly terrifying and harrowing about this story of an astronaut who returns home and finds his body literally breaking down into goo. As his body falls apart, so does his mind. This could be an incredible psychological body-horror movie at the hands of a young up-and-comer like Antiviral's Brandon Cronenberg.
For all its visual splendor, David Lynch's take on Frank Herbert's Dune is a catastrophe of a movie that fails its story at every possible turn. If they were ever going to attempt a redo, this is the perfect time. Herbert's novel has more in common with HBO's Game of Thrones than other sci-fi, following various families as they war over a prosperous and dangerous planet. If Westeros can catch on with the public, so can Arrakis.
The 1976 original is a good movie, but it's dated. A world where getting older means getting euthanized takes on an entirely new context when viewed through a modern lens. A remake that acknowledges how quickly modern youth grows up (and reduces the age of forced execution to 21) could make for a powerful metaphor about loss of innocence and childhood.
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
It's 2020, and the moon has been colonized and the first group of men has reached Venus—where they're attacked by monsters and flesh-eating plants! This could be the movie that answers the following question: what would you get if you combined Aliens and Jurassic Park? Gun-toting astronauts versus a planet of alien dinosaurs sounds like a license to print money if you ask us.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Although some fans may cry foul, there's no reason not to attempt a resurrection of Buckaroo Banzai, the sci-fi adventurer/surgeon/rock star originally played by Peter Weller. Give it to a filmmaker with a flair for quirk (Wes Anderson, perhaps?) and watch this character finally get the long-running series he so desperately deserves.
The Man Who Fell to Earth
This is a cult classic and David Bowie as an alien crash-landed on Earth is astonishing. But it cries out for a remake for two reasons. First, it throws much of the source novel by the wayside and what it doesn't use is too good to ignore. Second, the story of an alien who comes to Earth to save his drought-ridden planet and finds himself corrupted by humanity is a tale that demands to be retold in the context of today's world.
The Illustrated Man
The original 1969 adaptation is an anthology that adapts three of Ray Bradbury's original stories with a framing device, but they're from the best in the book—and the film was a critical and financial disaster. Let's have a remake that actually picks the truly best stories from the bunch, directed by someone who knows sci-fi in and out…maybe Ridley Scott?
The 1972 movie Silent Running has only become more relevant in the past decade. With the debate over global warming raging on, a movie about a desolate future where the last of Earth's forests and wildlife are kept alive on spaceships should touch a nerve...and what good is thoughtful science fiction that doesn't ruffle some feathers? A new Silent Running could actually add to the greatest debate of the 21st century in fascinating ways.
With the Hunger Games movies ending in the next two years, the time is right for a remake of this politically charged, dystopic, sci-fi epic where citizens are controlled through a hyper-violent, government-sponsored sport. That is, until one player gets too popular and powerful, threatening the system. Yeah, we think people will go for that.