I hate remakes and reboots because they are generally marks of intellectual and creative bankruptcy. But it’s also possible to use the renewal they provide to improve on a flawed original or give an interesting concept a second go. So in the interest of full disclosure, here are some classics I wouldn’t mind seeing remade.

The Black Hole (1979)
Disney’s answer to Star Wars was to employ nearly every old-school effects technician in Hollywood to put together this brilliantly atmospheric but overlong and occasionally ridiculous transposition of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea to the event horizon of a black hole. The design of the main ship, a gothic masterpiece of glass and steel, has for my money never been equaled, but the ludicrous third act (which reimagines the black hole as a literal hell), overly cutesy robots designed to cash in on the R2-D2 market, and the extended portions of the film where people breathe in space make it deeply flawed. Imagine what a director with vision could do with the concept, especially if they added a more postmodern sensibility but kept the ship design.

Fantastic Voyage (1966)
A pioneering sci-fi adventure story (read the novelization by Isaac Asimov, it’s amazing) about a team of scientists and military men shrunk down to navigate within the human body to save a man’s life. Its setup is so perfect that it’s almost a trope, but the current film is rather antiquated in its special effects and sleekly 1960s aesthetic, and even more so in the cringe-inducing behavior of the chauvinistic male lead toward the only female character. The same basic setup could be the basis for a white-knuckle ride along the lines of Das Boot; anyone who ever rode on the sadly-defunct Disney World Body Wars ride (directed by Leonard Nimoy!) saw what possibilities there were for an update.

The Land That Time Forgot (1975)
With the 100th anniversary of the First World War upon us, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ daft masterpiece as adapted in the American International Pictures’ daft screen adaptation has never been more ripe for reinvention. What other movie can boast a U-Boat and dinosaurs, let alone combining them in an uneasy-allies story of Imperial Germans and castaway Georgian Brits trying to work together to escape an island overrun with bad special effects? Better special effects and a tighter screenplay could make this AIP cheapie a keeper.

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