Remake Rage: If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it

Movie posters of “The Lost Boys,” “Purple Rain” and “A Nightmare On Elm Street” hang on the author, Boyne City junior, Phoebe Holm’s, dorm wall. It would be unnecessary for these three movies to be the subject of any sequels or remakes, but nonetheless, two have fallen victim (Photo illustration by Phoebe Holm).

Maybe it’s a lack of creativity or resistance to paying script writers fair, liveable wages, but either way, the constant bombardment of remakes, especially those of classic, well-done movies, has become exhausting. Each regurgitated copy emanates less integrity and less thought when compared to the original. Each precious detail of these films that people love and cherish is forgotten and thrown aside – almost intentionally. Each remake seems made with less effort and passion, to the point where they come across as lazy; cheaply done for the sake of monetary gain

I get that there is a reason to keep these memorable movies and concepts moving through generations, but isn’t it just as easy to pass those original pieces of cinema down to newer generations? Either make a remake good or simply start by making these original films more accessible. 

Modern consumption of entertainment is filled with streaming services and online resources. Utilizing these pieces of technology can give people access to more of the film industry’s repertoire. With access to a device and the internet, do a quick search and find somewhere to watch these classic films. A process which I believe, if you are passionate about movies, you should take the time to do. Tubi and Crackle are a great place to start.

Even though there are differing opinions in regard to streaming services, they do have a certain potential that hasn’t fully been used yet. I think that instead of focusing on making their own content they could put classic, beloved films and television shows on their platforms. I think it’s a curse that the entertainment industry, especially in the realm of streaming services, believes it must modernize everything to make it more marketable and relatable to younger audiences.

Remakes have always been a heated topic of discussion among movie lovers. Why would a movie studio develop a remake, only to open themselves up to backlash from the lifelong fans of the original? There are many films where it is hard to see the point of remaking them, especially those with impactful, inspirational and beautiful performances delivered by the original actors. 

I cringe at the rumors of “Rambo” and “Scarface” being reimagined with new directors and actors. I don’t believe anyone has the ability to deliver lines and monologues the way Sylvester Stalone and Al Pacino did, and no remake could challenge the cult following they have already amassed. 

Making memorable movies is about creating a lasting impact. The issue with a lot of remakes is that they don’t hold the same values or passion the originals do. They seem to be a way to monopolize on ideas and stories that many individuals have strong feelings and emotional connections toward. 

My childhood was filled with these sorts of movies; I have a lot of deep connections and memories with the films I watch. It hurts when something I love is ruined – made new and reimagined. I know not everyone has this sort of experience with cinema – some people simply want to be entertained – but it can be frustrating to see a passion of yours deteriorate in quality because Hollywood feels the need to crank out entertainment.

Lately, there’s been such a focus on taking already good pieces of media and making them into something modern, yet unimproved. It’s never been something that made sense to me. It feels as though everyone in entertainment is hyper-focused on gaining something from an idea that is already popular. 

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t say that every single remake isn’t good in some capacity. I don’t believe they all deserve to burn in hell. I have genuinely enjoyed some movie remakes – it can be nice to see the appreciation and inspiration some of the new directors have for the source material or how they have built upon the original storyline. But I will say, as soon as I figure out that the film I have watched isn’t the original version, I wish I had watched that instead. 

For example, a film widely considered to be the original “The Mummy” (1999) with Brendan Fraser is a remake of the movie of the same name from 1932. Do I enjoy it any less because of that? No. Do I wish more people knew about the original and actually took the time to reference the source material? Yes. Do I wish “The Mummy” was never remade in 2017 with Tom Cruise? Yes. 

Each one is good in its stand-alone capacity, but I believe it should be common knowledge that not all the movies we watch are original thoughts and creations – most of these ideas are borrowed.  

Within the entertainment industry, I see the mass production of the same storyline or universe get used over and over again. This really limits the amount of creativity and new concepts the studio can lean into, snuffing out original thoughts to cater to an already worn-out storyline. The industry needs to break the trend of monopolizing on an idea, because it waters down the impact of the original story. 

These ideas also come into the realm of sequels and prequels of certain pieces. For instance, I think it is unnecessary to have that many “Fast and the Furious” and “Mission Impossible” movies. How many more “James Bond 007s” do I need to see? Is it really necessary for me to see Jason Vorhees, Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers – in what seems like a hundred renditions – doing the same thing over and over again? How many times can you kill a horror movie villain just for them to magically come back? 

For me, what has raised these fiery feelings of rage towards remakes specifically is the recent announcement that the 1994 film “The Crow,” starring Brandon Lee, is being remade. Regardless of all the complaints from fans of the original, the studio behind the movie continues to make the project – regardless of how often it has been in and out of development, even after the number of production and casting complications it has gone through. 

Honestly, I find the remake inherently disrespectful. Brandon Lee, known for playing the iconic deceased musician Eric Draven in the film, had an unfortunate accident on the set of the movie which ended in his passing. Lee passed away due to a firearm malfunction; the lead tip of a bullet from a previous scene had remained in the barrel of a handgun. When the blank went off, the remnant was shot at Lee. It ruptured a major blood vessel and he tragically passed away in surgery. 

With such a tragedy attached to the film and no conceivable way to improve its quality with a remake, it is confusing to understand why a director or studio would have the gumption to take on such a task. The original has an 84% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 90% overall score from audiences because of its talented cast, the dark set designs and a stacked soundtrack. The story of love, loss and revenge, coupled with the prodigious acting and cinematography of the original, doesn’t constitute a remake. 

Most of these remakes are trying to capitalize on other remakes that have done relatively well, such as “IT” and “A Star is Born,” with no consideration spent on making it hit home like the original did. The use of practical effects, set design and costuming in the original “The Crow,” for instance, really stuck to the artistic style of the James O’Barr comics it was based upon. As a fan, it is alarming to think of all that could go wrong with the new adaptation for the sake of modernization and reliability. 

From what I have observed from the countless remakes I have watched in recent years, sometimes trying to profit from a concept there’s no passion behind isn’t a great move to make. Studios, actors and directors either need to do the original movie justice, or leave it alone. 

Not to sound like a gate-keeping, complaining snob, but some things are better left as they are.

About Phoebe Holm 19 Articles
Phoebe Holm is a junior from Boyne City, Michigan and a psychology major at Albion College. She is interested in understanding the human mind, writing about things that make her passionate and creating art. You can always find her listening to music and watching movies. Contact Phoebe via email at PJH12@albion.edu

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