Charlie Chaplin and his “kid” are not amused.
Image: First National

Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 dramatic comedy The Kid is considered one of the finest movies of the silent era. It’s even been preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Now, almost a century later, it’s getting a remake: An animated science fiction film starring Jacob Tremblay about a dystopian future where modern poverty and class conflict has been replaced with...robots.

As reported by Empire, Tremblay (Room, The Predator) is set to star as the titular “kid” in Christian Volckman’s The Kid. The original film is a heartwarming story about a vagabond (played by Charlie Chaplin) who discovers an abandoned baby and raises him as his son—telling a story of love and family in a time of major economic disparity. This one takes an, um, slightly different approach, one that apparently the Chaplin Estate has given approval to.

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According to the plot description, this version of The Kid takes place in a futuristic New York City, which has been divided into two very distinct regions. The kid lives with his mother in Uptown, which Empire describes as “a boring, artless place of overprotective safety.” (Social commentary, am I right?) The boy leaves to find adventure, heading Downtown and finding a robot with a soul named Chaplin (which keeps reminding me of Chappie, though I’m trying really hard for it not to). Then, the boy and Chaplin are chased by the police, his mother, and...circus performers.

I try not to be someone who declares all remakes to be bad ideas. Some are pretty good, or even great—especially ones that take a story and change it into something that carries the spirit of the original, with its own vision. That’s why I’m curious about Daisy Ridley’s upcoming Ophelia, as it’s a familiar story told through new eyes. But I don’t know what the heck is going on with The Kid.

The original Charlie Chaplin classic feels like a movie destined to get a 21st-century remake. Not only is it a timeless classic, but one of its biggest themes—the growing class divide, and finding love in difficult times—seems ripe for exploring similar problems in a new context. But why this version is choosing to be some weird animated buddy adventure about a boy and his robot, focusing on overprotective parents instead of human compassion and the power of a found family is...beyond me.

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The Kid is currently be shopped at Cannes Film Festival. No expected release date has been announced.


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