Skip to main content

The Trouble with Remakes

I blogged last week about why I rarely go out to the movies these days. Here is a big reason that I forgot to list: the windfall of remakes.

I can understand remaking a foreign language film into an American film (like Abre Los Ojos as Vanilla Sky). However, remaking an older American movie that is easy to find on TV or on DVD doesn't draw me to the box office.

The excuse of "modernizing" movies makes me wonder, do we really need a modernized version of a timeless film? Great films last over the years because they have timeless themes. Films like Psycho and The Wizard of Oz still hold up in their original form while their remakes are barely remembered.

When I hear the term, "modern," I associate it with being in the now. The problem is, what a lot of people perceive as "the now" is always changing. Committing something to film that is cool, hip or ironic for the time being dooms its shelf life. What's that classic line from Perfect? John Travolta says something to effect of "Health clubs - they're the singles bars of the Eighties!"

Great films last regardless of their special effects or fashions. Great films last because they engage the viewer in a deep and timeless way. You can talk about how cool the CGI effects are in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the reason why you keep watching it is because it is a timeless story of good vs. evil.

I keep hearing the excuse that teenagers/young adults are too busy with video games. Well, video game systems have been household items since the 1980s and they have held the attention of teenagers/young adults ever since. Nintendo was a household item when Tim Burton's Batman came out in 1989 and lots of younger people came out in droves to see that movie.

All I can say is this Hollywood, stop giving us lame rehashes of something that still holds up. I don't want excuses for crappy remakes. If you do remake something, add something fresh that's relevant in the long term. After seeing the trailer for this upcoming remake, you can guarantee that I'll see it in a theater in December. Why? Because I'm compelled to see it, not for the actors or the CGI, but for the engaging characters and story.

Comments

Kev said…
One theory I keep hearing as to why there are so many remakes is this: the studios, because of the high budgets under which movies are made these days, are either unwilling or unable to take a chance on "unproven" scripts. I've also heard rumblings of a dearth of quality screenwriters lately, though, again, it's possible that their ideas never get past the legion of corporate "suits" who are involved in the process. Even many of the "indie" outfits are owned or heavily bankrolled by the major studios now, so that avenue is generally closed as well.

I meant to chime in last week about the whole home-vs.-theatre experience, but I got swamped. I'll still go see the big blockbusters on the big screen (my home setup is nothing special at all at the moment) and generally don't encounter too many of the problems that were cited (though I could do without the loud commmercials, that's for sure). Seeing a Star Wars movie in a big setting like that could never be recreated at home, and now that an 18-screen AMC is being built within almost walking distance of my house, I'm sure I won't be forgoing that experience anytime soon.

Popular posts from this blog

It's a Long Way Down

There was a time when I listened to Ryan Adams' music practically all the time. Back in 2001, as I finished college and tried to navigate post-college life, the double dose of Whiskeytown’s Pneumonia and Adams’ Gold led me to everything else he had made before. It was countrified rock music that spoke to me in a deep way, mainly on the musical front. I don’t tend to really pay attention to lyrics, but I connected with Adams’ lyrics about being young and perpetually heartbroken. I thought some self-inflicted mental pain about awkward and failed attempts at relationships put me in the headspace to relate to songs by Adams, as well as Bright Eyes. There was so much time and energy spent on anger and sadness directed at myself for things not working out, so I found solace in songs like “Harder Now That It’s Over” and “The Rescue Blues.” As it turned out, there was a pattern in my life: if I had a little taste of a feeling of sadness or anger, I could relate to those who had it

I ain't got no crystal ball

I've never been a big fan of Sublime's reggae-punk-ska, but I feel bad for their hardcore fans. Billboard reports that a four-disc box set featuring previously released and unreleased material is on the way. How is this a bad thing? Well, the number of posthumous vault-raiding collections greatly outnumber the band's proper releases. That usually isn't a problem, but the quality of them is very suspect. When they were together, the band recorded three proper albums, Robbin' the Hood , 40 Oz. to Freedom and Sublime . Sublime would be the band's breakthrough record with the mainstream, but that success was very bittersweet. Shortly before its release, frontman/guitarist/songwriter Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose. In the following years, the effects of apparently a bad record deal have yielded compilation after compilation. Here's the rundown so far: Second Hand Smoke (1997) Stand By Your Van -- Sublime Live in Concert (1998) Sublime Acoustic: Br

Best of 2021

  Last year, my attention span was not wide enough to listen to a lot of LPs from start to finish. Too much went on in 2020 to focus on 10-15 albums, so I went with only a couple to spotlight. Well, 2021 was a little better, as I have a list of top four records, and a lot of individual tracks.  (I made a lengthy Spotify playlist ) So, without further ado, here’s my list of favorites of the year: Albums Deafheaven, Infinite Granite (listen) Hands down, my favorite album of the year. I was not sure where Deafheaven would go after another record that brought My Bloody Valentine and death metal fans together, but they beautifully rebooted their sound on Infinite Granite. The divisive goblin vocals are vastly pared-down here, as are the blast beats. Sounding more inspired by Slowdive, the band has discovered a new sonic palette that I hope they explore more of in the future. It’s a welcome revelation. I still love their older material, but this has renewed my love of what these guys do.  J