Nothing is sacred in Hollywood anymore. Remakes of 80s favourites like An American Werewolf in London, Commando and Wargames are on the horizon – how long before a bona fide classic like Big gets redone?
Frankly, loaded doesn’t want to see this to happen. Big, forever on hard rotation on Film4 (we’re not complaining, though), is one of the unremakeables, a beloved film like Back to the Future, The Goonies and ET that just shouldn’t be messed with. And like Ghostbusters, it’s probably best if it stays in the 80s.
Not convinced? Allow us to convince you with these five salient points…
Tom Hanks is irreplaceable
Big cemented Hanks as a major A-list star, and international treasure, providing him with a springboard to star in future classics Apollo 13, Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan. As the wide-eyed and lovable Josh Baskin, a 12-year-old transformed into a 30-year-old man, he was pitch perfect. Crazy to think, then, that the likes of Robert De Niro, John Travolta and Harrison Ford were in the funning for the role before him.
Fast forward to 2016 and who are the biggest thirtysomething actors around? Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Too smug. Ryans Reynolds and Gosling? Too good looking. Same for Marvel stars like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt. The relatable Hollywood everyman is no more, with Hanks the last of a dying breed.
One talented comedy star who’s around the age Hanks was when he made Big is Michael Cera. But in truth, he looks closer to 12 than 30.
FAO Schwarz in New York is no more
The iconic Fifth Avenue toy store provided the venue for Hanks and Robert Loggia’s incredible floor piano dance rendition of Heart and Soul and Chopsticks. But alas, the place is now gone, closed down in 2015 by parent company Toys “R” Us to save money with the lease ticking down. Gutted.
30-year-old blokes are very different now
Hitting 30 is meant to be sign of maturity, but forget about that in 2016. Populations are ageing, people are living longer and as a result important life milestones like securing that mortgage, getting married and starting a family are getting pushed back. A 30-year-old New Yorker like Hanks’s Josh would probably be living in his hipster Brooklyn studio apartment and playing video games. So essentially, a Judd Apatow slacker in the mould of Seth Rogen.
Moreover, as pop culture becomes more reliant on raiding collective nostalgia, everything old becomes new again. The Nintendo NES is coming back, those comic books you read as a 12-year-old are becoming movies and old TV shows like Hawaii Five-0& are getting resurrected. A new Big would probably have to up the age to 40… or 50 just to be on the safe side.
Zoltar is gone
It’s an antique arcade fortune teller called Zoltar Speaks that grants Josh his wish to be an adult, but that machine no longer sits at the Rye Playland amusement park in NY. Instead, it’s occupied by a Pepsi machine, so presumably any Big remake would see a youngster having to feed the corporate soft drinks machine to get their wish. Not quite the same is it?
Plus, do kids today actually bother going to amusement arcades? They feel like they’re gradually becoming extinct, traded in for VR headsets, Snapchat glasses and mobile phone app games.
The risky plotline
The idea behind Big is a cracking one, but when it comes to ‘adult’ Josh’s romance with colleague Susan Lawrence (Elizabeth Perkins), alarm bells start ringing. The duo’s “sleep-over” in the film happens despite Josh being mentally still a minor, and the film’s ending – Susan watching young-again Josh walking away from her in an adult’s business suit – leaves the story in a moral and legal quagmire. As highlighted by Cracked, there’s only one place Susan is going: prison.