For this article I wanted to discuss the problems and merits of that current 'taboo' film trope, 'remake'. I can't help but be reminded of that old adage 'originality is dead' or better yet in Hollywood terms at least, originality is simply not profitable. Which says a lot about todays modern audiences. It's easy to slag off the remake trend currently happening in Hollywood, and use that as a point of argument proving the old saying true, but that's kind of unfair too. It's less about sleazy, unoriginal Hollywood execs scrummaging through past hits looking for the next big buck (though I'm sure that's part of it) and more about the current mindset of a modern audience. Like I said, easy to slag off the remake trend, but they are still frequently releasing. More and more every year actually, because we keep paying and seeing them. If they didn't make money they wouldn't keep happening, but they do, so the trend shows no sign of slowing down. It makes no sense to me honestly. Well actually it does... sometimes? It's a tricky subject and easy to fall into the trap of a contradictory argument (Remakes=Bad... unless the remake turns out to be good) Im more lenient when it comes to superhero releases. Probably because the comics reboot all the time, and run for years and years so there is never any shortage of differing storylines or villain depictions. Perhaps I'm bias, but even if I accept it with comic film releases, doesn't mean I enjoy it. I hate hearing Channing is the new Gambit or seeing Andrew Garfield leave the Spidey franchise, but I understand the reasoning for it. So when it comes to movies I adore and grew up with, it baffles my mind that not only someone thought it a good idea to redo the exact same storylines with new actors of these classic films, but that people will actually prefer this? Were the Total Recall, Nightmare on Elm Street, Robocop or Conan remakes any good... maybe? Not really? Debatable. What isn't debatable is the answer to the question, are any of the remakes actually better than the original? None... well barely any. One comes to mind, Planet of the Apes, that was a needed remake. What do I mean by that? Sometimes remakes are necessary to save an otherwise dead franchise. While Tim Burton's Apes killed the franchise, the remake, Rise of the Planet of the apes somehow managed to revive it? Thus making it somewhat relevant again. Remake isn't necessarily a dirty word. It can be a new lease on life for a dormant legacy waiting to be called back into action. Was the Robocop remake better than the original, no, not by a long shot. Do I understand why it happened? Yeah I guess I do. Robocop, the original, is in my opinion the true pinnacle of sci-fi action. A classic that is just as watchable today as the day it released. However all the originals achievements have been silenced by the louder negatives associated with terrible sequel releases, the third entry proving the final nail in the coffin. Was the remake warranted? Sure, but needed? I don't think so. Some things should stay in the past. No reason a modern audience couldn't just watch and enjoy the original film? Not everything needs to be a franchise, it begs the question, are studios so desperate for the next X-Men or Terminator that they think adding new bells and whistles to long dead film's rather than creating something all new and original is the right course of action? I suppose from a business standpoint it is. Why front all that money for an original idea or adaptation like Watchmen, John Carter or Jupiter Ascending, when you more than likely won't see a profit return? It's a sad truth and further proof that the remake trend while at times shows merit, is mostly just a lazy cash grab.
I hate the stigma that kids of today won't give the past a chance. That's crap. I spent my youth scouring the local video store, checking out anything and everything. Discovering lifetime love affairs with films released way before my time. A good film is a good film, and whether made today or thirty years prior, can still be enjoyed by all. If I want my 80's action fix I'll happily dig out my Escape from New York dvd. I don't need some not-Kurt Russell trying his best to attempt the famous Snake Plissken grimace. I would much rather the real Snake grimace. Do not get me started on horror. Possibly the biggest victim of the current remake trend. It seems to find an original idea you have to sift through a sea of lazy horror remake cash grabs, that are all quite terrible. Good horror still exists, its cries are just being drowned out by the screaming mediocrity. When it come's to horror it seems nothing is sacred and even the most stand alone, timeless classic is prime for remake picking. Evil Dead being a fine example. By remaking this cult classic with a large budget and realistic gore, it lost all of the charm of what made Evil Dead, Evil Dead. The B grade gore, the dodgy effects, the over the top acting, all forgotten for the possible chance of some new popularity with a modern audience. Thankfully the remake turned out quite good and is one of the better remakes out there, but doesn't change the simple fact it was never needed in the first place. Plus kind of insulting to the long term fans that have stood by it all those years (recently remedied with the return of Bruce Campbell in the official third entry, the television series Ash vs The Evil Dead) I don't really have an end game to this article. I can't rightly say they are a totally negative thing. Films like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Batman Begins or even Scarface help prove this trope isn't totally worthless. Maybe I should just end it by saying to remake is fine... if it is needed, otherwise there isn't really any point. Other than more profit return of course, and real art should never only be about the money. Just my thought's, I'll let you mull over the facts and come to your own conclusions :)
Anything to say hit me up in the comments, follow me on moviepilot, twitter @johnnygeekcool.com or my facebook johnny clash, until next time stay awesome :P