Shot-for-shot remakes are a dangerous proposition for any filmmaker. The potential downsides are huge—see, e.g., Gus Van Sant’s Psycho or John Legend and Stevie Wonder’s “Hey Ya!”—and the upside is tiny. Even excellent remakes, like Jimmy Fallon’s meticulous recreation of the music video for Styx’s “Too Much Time on My Hands,” can only hope to be praised for their attention to detail, not their artistic vision. There is one exception, however: remakes that replace the film’s original humans with live-action house pets behaving like humans. These are uniformly masterpieces, each and every time, and it is incumbent upon critics to bring them to the attention of as large an audience as possible as quickly as possible. So it is my privilege and honor to announce that there is now a remake of the trailer to the upcoming video game Shadow of the Tomb Raider in which Lara Croft is a dog and the shadowy priest is a cat and instead of practicing human sacrifice the death cult is trying to give a puppy a haircut. It was made to celebrate National Dog Day, and needless to say, it exceeds the original in every way.
But before confronting a complicated work of art like the version of the Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer where everyone is a dog or a cat, it’s important to understand the original source material. Here, for reference purposes only, is the trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider:
It’s a pretty good trailer! But, in much the same way that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) expands and deepens a viewer’s understanding of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), the remake will shake your core beliefs about what a trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider can be, until you look back on the pitifully inadequate understanding of Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailers you had in the past with scorn, shame, and fury:
However you feel about cute dog videos, shot by shot remakes, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), we can all agree on one thing: That second trailer looks like it’d make a great video game.