We’ve all seen the original West Side Story, filmed in 1961,starring Natalie Wood as a not-quite-convincing Latina Maria. One glance at the oldie tells why this movie is begging for a remake. It is outdated and corny. The street battles between the Jets and the Sharks, the white kids against the Puerto Ricans, are no longer relevant to our time. But the prejudice and discrimination are all-too-current topics.The iconic songs with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim have become American classics. And the Romeo and Juliet-type love story will never go out of style.
My suggestion for a redo is to make the story current by spotlighting ethnic tension between young white Americans and Mexican immigrants. Maria could be played by Demi Lovato, who in actuality is a dark beauty of mixed Mexican, Italian and Irish descent. Lovato is an experienced singer-actress who might give the role a needed shot of relevancy to a new audience.
Around the World in Eighty Days is another oldie, but goodie. In the original 1955 film David Niven plays the suave Englishman who bets the fellows at his London club that he can circumnavigate the world in 80 days. He also happens to be on the lam for a bank robbery and is being pursued in his around-the-world-travels. This is a clever story that should be remade in 3-D. Those breathtaking balloon trips would be even more breathtaking to 3-D viewers. And the scenery! Paris in 3-D? A trip over the Eiffel Tower? Charging elephants in 3-D? See what I mean? Perfect. This remake should be handled by none-other than Disney.
Another movie begging for a redo is Phantom of the Opera. The blockbuster Broadway musical which continues to set new records for attendance, was made into a so-so movie in 2004. Actually the film verson was a bit of a snooze.
The creepy antics of the phantom and that crashing chandelier are just calling out for 3-D treatment! Director Tim Burton could give this update the right amount of creepiness it demands. The beautiful heroine Christine needs an updating by a popular young star that would give the tale some freshness. My vote for this role is Taylor Swift. She’s young and popular. She’s beautiful and she can sing. Taylor Swift might give the role credibility as the talented beauty who drives a bedeviled creature to obsession. How’s that for a great box-office draw?