It's inevitable that at some point a film will be remade, re-booted or in some cases completely ripped off, many films deserve a remake, others help bring great stories back into the lives of people who may not have seen them before and will make them more inclined to see the original, but what makes a good remake or reboot, where is the line between remake and shameless cashing in and why does it get so easily crossed?
There are some easily noticeable "cash in" offenders, take the 2010 incarnation of the Karate Kid which saw Will Smith push his kid further into the limelight by doing KUNG FU, this is an example of cashing in on a films name. In the future we'll be seeing more of this with Commando, a film which defined 1980's action will see a new actor take over the helm but he'll be less muscular and more slick and tactical, so nothing like the original, cashing in again. Even Dirty Dancing is getting a remake, basically it'll be another run of the mill dance film that had no chance of box office success so they stole a name from a classic movie and are keeping their fingers crossed. The final "cash in" remake I'll mention is Point Break, now at this point I'm trying very hard not to swear. The original had the very zen Bodhi and his band of bank robbers stealing money to fund their surfing lifestyle, in and out quickly, making a quick buck with nobody getting hurt, chased by new FBI recruit Johnny Utah whose only sporting experience is college football. One look at the trailer and as soon as I hear "Like me they are extreme athletes using their skills to interrupt the international financial markets" and here's the kicker "they don't care who get's killed in the process" NO NO NO NO NO! The trailer looks amazing, I want to see it, but this is NOT Point Break, change the character names and some dialogue rip offs and you have the making of a what looks like a superb action thriller. Thankfully Kurt Sutter was in charge of Southpaw or some studio exec would've been calling it Rocky!
Originality Lost or Films Being honored?
American Psycho was a "cash in" against the original Hitchcock penned Psycho, but now American Psycho is being remade, a remake of a cash in remake? Scarface......I really have no words for this being given the green light. Short Circuit will probably see Johnny 5 completely redesigned and the humor of the original attempted...badly, ultimately this will fail as will the iconic Bodyguard being remade, Whitney will be turning in her grave.
How Soon is "Too Soon"?
Reboots and Remakes are getting out of control, we are on our 3rd Spider-man since 2002, Fantastic 4 was only made 10 years ago and has already been rebooted and isn't so fantastic, Guillermo Del Toro made the superb "The Orphange" in 2007 and is already on board himself for a remake, the magnificent Korean film Old Boy was made in 2003 and remade in 2013.
Don't get me wrong, there are some remakes/reboots I'm actually looking forward to such as Police Academy - As long as they don't try and recreate the original but give it a fresh comedic approach I'm up for it. I'm also interested in the Wargames remake as I think with the advances in technology this could be a superb film. There are also remakes I've enjoyed, Robocop was a pleasant surprise as was Godzilla.
But this is where things turn ugly, The Crow has been trying to be rebooted for years and WAS being made in my hometown until recent problems halted production, Cliffhanger without Stallone, Drop Dead Fred with the annoying Russell Brand at the helm, Overboard with Jennifer Lopez trying to fill the shoes of the much loved Goldie Hawn, Honey I Shrunk The Kids wasn't that great the first time around, the we have the "re-imagining" of Jumanji to deal with along with the aforementioned Commando, Point Break, Dirty Dancing & Karate Kid
Will It Ever Stop?
Currently IMDB is listing 112 remakes between 2014 at 2020, that's nearly 20 remakes a year. So why isn't there more original material being made? has faith been lost in film making and the only outcome execs are looking for is profit? I may be looking at this through rose tinted glasses but studios wanted to make great films that made a profit, now they just want to make profitable films and why shouldn't they, but why do it at the expense of great film making? There are many fantastic writers out there with amazing scripts but they are not being seen or given the credit they deserve. Studios find something that works and rinse it dry, Superhero movies will be adorning out screen for the foreseeable future, several planned every year, but are we getting the best films out there? I don't think we are, it's either a big budget blockbuster with a massive merchandising campaign attached or it's shameless Oscar bait. I truly believe this is why film trailers are getting worse, and I mean getting worse by giving us too much information, some are five minutes long and show you all the pivotal moments from beginning to end, where are the 30 second promos that could entice us to see a film?
What's worrying about the nature of the reboot industry is that the film that kicked off the huge MCU, Iron Man, has already been talked about for a reboot in the future. Where will it end?