AMBI Pictures, run by Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi, has announced it will finance and produce a remake of Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking film Memento. They also have the rights to such films as Donnie Darko and Cruel Intentions, among other movies. Perhaps even more potential cult “classics” could be in the works.
Oh Hollywood; constantly trying to catch lightning in a bottle. This is made all the more complicated by the fact that lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place. As a result, the powers that be continuously try to make remakes and reboots, sometimes less than 10 years after the original was made.
Remaking it right wouldn’t be impossible, as there are many successful films that come from remakes. Unfortunately, the more of a fan reception the original film got, the harsher the judgment is on the remake (just ask anyone involved with the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot). One of the biggest factors is that the original film is just 15 years old and beloved by fans. A remake wouldn’t be redo in this case because there was nothing wrong with the original. The question is; how feasible and effective will such a venture be?
Part of the success of Memento stems from just how dark and gritty it is. As effective as CGI technology has gotten, it would make this film look too polished and would do it more harm than good. Analyzing a few of the aspects from the previous film, there would be at least three facets from the original that would be problematic:
1.) Polaroid pictures. While a distinct retro feel, acquiring a Polaroid camera was chic in the late 1990s / early 2000s, but is virtually a relic in this day and age. Finding, utilizing, and even maintaining a steady amount of film and the camera that would use them wouldn’t even be remotely cost effective. Best case equivalent would be a low grade digital camera.
2.) Flash cards. At this point, cellular telephones have been deemed mandatory to not live in a life of poverty. The thought of someone keeping around a series of Steno-style notepads and other kinds of notebooks would be impractical at best and ridiculous at worst. Save for the most remedial of cellular phones, a notepad feature is consistently built in.
3.) Originality. On a popular level, this kind of non-linear story-telling didn’t really exist. As a result, despite a $9 M budget, it earned $25.5 M gross at the box office, and that was only domestic. Needless to say, even those who haven’t seen the film are aware of its unique method of storytelling, so any kind of reveal would already be spoiled.
It’s not to say it would be completely impossible to make an interesting and provocative remake. However, the amount of effort put into such a remake might be better served to make a similar but still original film.
All judgment should be reserved until something is made. Until then, we’ll just remain optimistic, albeit very guarded.