Update: Another egregious science fiction classic movie remake in the works, When Worlds Collide

Another timeless classic, When Worlds Collide (1951) dir. Rudolph Maté, is going to be abused by another incompetent director — Stephen Sommers, who helmed the recent G. I. Joe: Rise of Cobra debacle.

Some off the cuff complaints:

1. The director.

2. How can such a simple premise of a star colliding with the Earth be improved on? — perhaps, some minorities, but then again the original was made in 1951.

3. Would 100 million dollars (a guess) of special effects really make much difference?

4. Wouldn’t it just look like ‘2012’?

5. The remake of The Day the Earth Stood was a disaster…


1. Any actor is better than Richard Derr — perhaps they would look at the camera less.

2. The painted backdrop at the end of the movie would get a special 10 million dollar upgrade.

My When Worlds Collide (1951) review….


26 thoughts on “Update: Another egregious science fiction classic movie remake in the works, When Worlds Collide

  1. There are a few things they could do to improve the original… but I agree with you… why?

    It’s not like there are no new scripts out there, but Holywood seems obsessed with remaking old movies. I couldn’t understand why they redid the Lady Killers. You couldn’t even say that the original was is black and white. At least they can update the special effects on When Worlds Collide.

  2. Thomas: I think disaster movies are a spent genre…. Things blow up. We get it. However, if they actually examined the social ramifications of building an ark and WHO GETS saved then I’m all for it.

    …But, knowing this director — I highly doubt that aspect of the story will get more than a cursory and derivative treatment.

  3. Perhaps we should embrace this cultural phenomena and consider some literary re-writes as well. The top of my list would be a re-write of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, followed by Melville’s Moby Dick. Some others that might be worth sending to the shady back room where they will be updated with additional popular cultural references, and corollary adjustments in their diction and grammar: Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day, Charles Dicken’s Pickwick Papers, Joseph Conrad’s Victory, Nabokov’s Bend Sinister… in fact, why stop there in this process of updating and revisiting? Let us set also re-paint Leonardo’s works (Lord knows that his last supper is in rather shabby condition currently), and the works of De Chirico (he already did a series of re-paintings of many of his earlier surrealist metaphysical paintings in his old age – we would just follow suit, and a couple of Picasso’s would supply our coffers with the needed capital for further adventures! (Deluze and Guattari would provide initial funding)… the possibilities are seemingly endless! Shall we commence with “When Worlds Collide”?

  4. Then again, Seamus Heaney DID do a fairly good rehash of Beowulf… and John Gardner did an even more drastic rehash of it when he wrote Grendle….

    But that’s a bit post-modern I guess.

  5. Of course, if we look at Prospero’s Books (Greenaway), we find a remarkable re-telling of Shakespear’s The Tempest… in many ways more remarkable than any prior film adaptation (come to think of it, I have never watched any other…). However, in this writer’s opinion, the Greenaway telling contributes to the work of the Bard. Expanding on it, opening it up in a way. I believe the word that we are dancing around is “palimpsest”. Just how many different stories are there (archetypes) anyway? Is not each reconstruction a reconstruction of á priori work, which is itself a re-telling of a retold narrative.
    The difference you are making is two fold: 1. when it is a blatant remake of a masterpiece. 2. when the remake is lousy. I believe that we must discredit both of these points. The first because each generation must recast these narratives in their own image and likeness. The word “original”, in this sense is indefinite or miss-used. The second point… well, I leave that to the critics and the historians to decide. I certainly can tell the difference between Solaris and Solaris; however, one will be consigned to the deepest vaults and the other set on a pillar (by those self-same critics and historians) whether or not I am in agreement. In this way, I slowly become educated – learning from reviews of the knowledgeable and passing my own judgement.
    As the historians reveal to us (obviously I am no historian and must depend on the accounts given by others who have done the searching (researching)), most artwork is a re-working of other so-called originals. Art, in this respect, is anachronic. Like ritual, art is a constant re-telling… an attempt to bring some now distant original again before our eyes. Any original or prior model is, in a way, recast with the reconstruction of another version. And too, it becomes more original (if this is possible). Anyway, this certainly interests me…

  6. Shakespeare certainly gets reinvented and reinterpreted and remade for each generation. “Forbidden Planet” is of course “The Tempest” in space, but has become a classic (I think) in its own right.

  7. Mark: perhaps my angst is less concerned with the conceptual “act” of remaking — (for example, Borges’ masterful story Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote) — but unlike the critics blown away by the historically “original” Quixote as a product of the modern day, my annoyance is a historical one. For a time, disaster movies were new! Now, if we remake them we are seeing yet again another disaster movie! They are often no longer new — unless social issues are addressed — but then again, Hollywood’s bucks come from what I shall label, “bloated increased capital re-imaginings” — no Greenaway’s ‘Prospero’s Books’ remakes to be found here….

    SO. a brief schema…
    Product vs. Theory

    If they are successfully combined = ++

    If they rotate in separate celestial spheres and are individually interesting = +

    If the product somehow manages to maintain itself while the theory is either too distant to detect (a theory in itself?) or is egregious (I dare not say, perhaps if Damien Hirst was a filmmaker) then I’m also fine. Actually, the more that I think about it, most Hollywood (Cameron, for example) are the Damien Hirsts of the cinematic world.

    Theory might not be separable but the viewer is either can maintain these distinctions.

    So perhaps I have a deep seated resentment for genre ‘THE DISASTER MOVIE’ regardless of era — but, the historian in me (i.e. I would be a film historian is people in the middle ages made films) sees a historical (and I must admit, rather giggle inducing entertainment) value to ‘When Worlds Collide.’

    Thomas: I actually wouldn’t mind a Dune remake — controversial statement, I know…. Since Lynch couldn’t do it, well, we’ve run out of American options…..

  8. Oh no! I don’t think its controversial at all to want to see Dune made well. I would truely love to see such a film…

    The miniseries version of Dune put out in 2000 with William Hurt wasn’t nearly as bad as Lynch’s version, but it still wasn’t up to the book.

  9. I guess the original Lynch work (a few cool sections and images however) doesn’t exactly fall into the category of “classic” — haha

    Let me think — well, the problem is that most 1950s sci-fi movies are SO simplistic! I think ‘On the Beach’ “could” be remade — I think there was a for TV version remake recently.

  10. There was a 1967 film called “They Came from Beyond Space”, is that what you’re thinking of?

    How about a remake of “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”? 😉 j/k.

    Remakes are generally a bad idea, I can’t think of any that really succeeded (The Fly, War of the Worlds, Time Machine, Journey to the Center of the Earth). Some people liked the remake of “The Thing” but I didn’t see that so I can’t speak to it.

  11. No… the Cat from Outerspace… Disney film that starred Sandy Duncan I think…

    But I am certain there was a colour version of It Came from Outer Space that had a monster that looked like a giant arrohead. It used to be rerun a billion times on late night TV on channels like WOR TV from NY. I can’t find any reference to it on the web, but I distinctly remeber watching it. Mmmm…

  12. Oh well… can’t find it. They Came From Beyond Space had potential, but I remember the big orange squid like monster… and the plots were identicle. Ah well,..

    I’m all for a Santa Clause Conquers the Martians remake… or perhaps even Manos Hands of Death or Troll 2!

  13. Funny enough, a few weeks ago I was having a conversation about how a post Cold War Collosus remake could be done. We more or less came up with the answer: “Not well”.

  14. Did you see the remake of “Fail-Safe” with George Clooney and Sam Neill? I liked it, I thought it was good. It was done in B&W, and Sam even shaved off his mustache for it! 🙂

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