Today we celebrate what would have been Stanley Kubrick’s 82nd birthday, a director that many loved and just as many hated, but who was ultimately known to have been one the most influential filmmakers of our time. Kubrick’s films embraced the bizarre in lieu of the norm, tragedy over sentiment, Kubrick’s own peculiar satire, and an affinity for sexual situations that would become a staple of Kubrick’s style.
While there have been attempts at remaking Kubrick’s films (Lolita, The Shining), these attempts have failed to capture the essence that made Kubrick’s versions memorable. To make our point, we have compiled a list of reasons why Kubrick’s films should not be remade.
6. Social Commentary/War
Kubrick was decidedly anti-war, and that came through in the three war films he would direct. Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and Full Metal Jacket ultimately dealt more with what Kubrick saw as the inhumanity of the military system itself and less with the overall patriotic ideals that are often associated with war. While other directors would travel this road to an extent, Kubrick’s primary intention was to focus on the abuse of power he saw as an established element within the military.
5. Disturbing perspective
Kubrick’s films are not the type of fun, matinee fare you take the kids to see, unless you want your kids to have nightmares for the next month. Kubrick’s use of wide-angle shots, tracking, and what is known as “The Glare” from his characters, all created moments in his films that make the hair on you arms stick up. A few examples are Jack losing his mind in The Shining and Private Pile going nuts in Full Metal Jacket. Adding to the plethora of disturbing material is the gang rape scene in A Clockwork Orange, probably one of the most troubling moments of Kubrick’s films.
4. Freakish Attention to Detail
Kubrick would spend years developing a project. He spent 5 years developing 2001: A Space Odyssey and over 15 years developing AI, a film he would not live to direct. This was the beginning in a maniacal process that highlighted Kubrick’s attention to detail. Once filming began, the real fun started, particularly for the actors, who would endure dozens (in some cases hundreds) of takes to get a shot the way Stanley wanted it.
3. Bucking Hollywood
Kubrick fought more than one battle with studio execs over the contents of his films, with studios a bit apprehensive to take on many of his themes. Kubrick was not one to shy away from hefty subject matter, including that of Lolita, and a number of films that were scrapped due to censorship concerns. While he was born in the United States, he relocated to England in 1962 to shoot Lolita, with the hopes that Britain’s less stringent censorship laws would give him more freedom. In fact, he was right, and Kubrick would stay in Britain for the remainder of his life.
Stanley had a thing for sexual situations. One might see the gang rape scene from A Clockwork Orange, or catch a glimpse of the orgy in Eyes Wide Shut, and think Kubrick had some serious issues. In fact, Kubrick was known to be a pretty loving sort of guy, a devoted family man, and an avid lover of animals. That Kubrick covered so many disturbing topics only goes to show that he was always pondering the realities of life (albeit, strange realities), and seeing things in a way no other director could.
1. Originality/A True Auteur
No other director could copy Kubrick. Steven Spielberg tried (bless his heart) when he took over AI after Kubrick’s death. AI would ultimately become a Spielberg film trying desperately to look like a Stanley Kubrick film. While Kubrick certainly used a particular style in all his films, that style was always transferred to a completely different canvas, a feat that set him apart from other directors.
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