What would a remake of Blazing Saddles be like, and could it be funny?
A remake of a beloved comedy? Are you serious?!?
I'm looking back at the number of beloved comedy remakes (not including remakes of foreign film comedies like "The Birdcage" or "Dinner for Schmucks") and... it's not looking good. For every Steve Martin's "Father of the Bride" (which is the exception due to smart casting, a loose script that changed with the times), there's Steve Martin's dastardly "Pink Panther" series, that was clearly made for the paycheck. Remakes of "The Heartbreak Kid" and "The Producers" have suffered similar, dismal results.
Supposing a gun was put to my head, and I was to craft a remake, it would have to be (1) a loose remake, reveling in Western in-jokes of the last forty years, from "The Outlaw Josey Wales" to "Unforgiven" to "Dances with Wolves" to "Lonesome Dove." All quality films, but how many are familiar with the Western genre as they were in 1974, when John Wayne still topped many people's "Top Movie Star" polls, and Randolph Scott (and Heddy Lamar) were familiar names?
Let's address the elephant in the room: a lot of people (including Brooks) insist the movie could not be made today because of its heavy-reliance of the highly offensive ‘N'-word, even though its use was in the service of a (Richard Pryor-approved) storyline that subversively uses the word for a strong anti-racism message. The movie works _because_ it is offensive. Take away its teeth, it loses its bite.
Does such a story work today? We just completed eight years with Obama as president of the United States, and there's a hit Broadway musical where the founding fathers are reimagined (reclaimed) as people of color. Is there a real need to revisit the prospect (the shock) of a sheriff of a small town to be a person of color? It doesn't work.
At least what "The Producers" remake tried to do was to replicate the Broadway show in a cinematic offering, and what worked on the stage failed dismally on screen; but at least they had original songs. BZ does boast its share of musical numbers, some original, some covers. If there is any chance that BZ were to succeed, it may be through this approach.