Every year they make up a certain percentage of the films that get released, and every time one of them gets announced a lot of people get upset. Remakes. Films that have already been made that some studio decides for one reason or another to make again.
You can’t really blame a lot of people for rolling their eyes when the possibility of a remake gets brought up. After all, the roster of remakes is filled with movies that deserve to be on the dirty end of used toilet paper. I mean with crap like:
-The Invasion (remake of invasion of the Body Snatchers)
-Poseidon (remake of the ‘Poseidon Adventure)
-The Fog (Single Handedly killed the potential movie career of Tom Welling)
-Planet of the Apes (reason #154 of why I don’t like Tim Burton)
-Godzilla (I like Matthew Broderick and all, but why was he in this?)
-When a Stranger Calls
-The Wicker Man (To be fair, the original sucked ass too)
-The Pink Panther (Steve Martin what are you doing?!?!)-
And many many more. As a matter of fact, even more remakes are on the boards at every studio in Hollywood. Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street for example are being developed for remakes as we speak as are dozens of others.
Now let’s balance this out. There are good remakes out there. Sabrina (hugely underrated film in my opinion), Ocean’s 11 is 10x better than the original, Scareface and a bunch of others.
So while I understand a sense of apprehension many people feel when hearing about a movie getting remade (look again at that bad list above), I’ve never understood the almost militant attitude some people have about the whole notion of remakes. Here are some arguments some people make against remakes:
A) THERE IS NO CREATIVITY LEFT IN HOLLYWOOD
Without fail, whenever I post about a remake going into production, at least one person will make some variation of the comment “There isn’t any creativity left in Hollywood”. To me, this is a ridiculous statement for a couple of reasons:
1) Source Material
Lots of movies are based on other source material. In that sense, remaking a film isn’t as different as you think from making a movie based on a book, or making a movie based on a video game, or making a movie based on a comic book (why aren’t all these people complaining how making The Dark Knight was just a lazy thing to do by a Hollywood that’s run out of creativity?)
2) Adaptation is HARD
I know a lot of screenwriters, and a many of them tell me that adapting a piece of work can actually be more difficult creatively than doing something from scratch. Doing a totally original work presents no boundaries to you. You’re free to go or do whatever you want, and so running into obstacles is no big deal because you have a million options. However with adaptations, you’re forced to think more creatively because there is an existing framework you need to stay within. I’m not saying adaptations are BETTER, I’m just pointing out that creatively adaptations can be even more challenging.
3) There Have Always Been Adaptations
For as long as the movies have been around, a certain number of them have been adaptations of other works or even remakes. YES there are more remakes and adaptations today than ever before… but that doesn’t really mean anything because there are more movies in general put out every year than ever before… almost triple the amount from just 13 years ago. I would argue that while there are more remakes today, the proportion is still probably about the same.
So there goes the argument of creativity.
B) IT RUINS THE ORIGINAL
I hear this one all the time and to this day I have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s almost as if they believe that if Uwe Boll decides to do a remake of Sparticus, somehow Kirk Douglas’ performance in the original will mystically become wooden. Somehow the original masterpiece will melt on DVD store shelves everywhere and all we’ll be left with is the Boll rendition. The fact of the matter is that if Boll does a Sparticus remake and it sucks… I STILL HAVE THE ORIGINAL! The original hasn’t been touched or soiled or sullied or “ruined” in any way shape or form. As a matter of fact, a remake will get people talking about the original again and maybe even influence more people to check out one of the best films ever made that they never would have thought about had the remake not come along.
The only exception to my argument is when George Lucas comes along and actually starts changing the originals… but that’s a blood thirsty rant for another time.
C) REMAKES ALWAYS SUCK
No, as a matter of fact they don’t. As I already mentioned, Ocean’s 11 is better in every way from the original, Sabrina just ruled, where would cinema be today without Al Pacino’s Scarface? But there are other notable ones too. Cape Fear was fantastic and is underrated for how much it has influence a lot of cinema today, Dawn of the Dead is considered by many to be superior to the original. The Fly rocked and I don’t care who says different! The point here is that remakes can and have worked.
Now… do the majority of remakes suck? YES! They absolutely do. But guess what… the majority of movies that get released in general suck, so why should remakes be any different?
Look, I’m not saying we should all jump up and down in an enthusiastic happy dance whenever yet another remake gets announced (For the record, I have little to no hope for the Friday the 13th or Elm Street remakes I the works). All I’m really trying to say here is that I don’t completely understand the massive presumption that remakes in general are a bad idea.
So if you’re someone who hates the idea of remakes, why do you feel that way? If you don’t hate the idea of remakes, why do you think some others do?