Remakes and reboots need to be re-thought

This past week, I went to see Spike Lee’s newest film “Oldboy,” a remake of the praised 2003 Korean film, and came to a realization that probably should have hit me well before now: Remakes and reboots of classic material are sapping the creativity and originality out of almost every type of entertainment.

No matter what you favor, whether it be movies, television or even video games, the surge of remakes have been increasingly apparent. Not only do the number of remakes grow higher every year, the quality of these remakes are failing to reach the same heights.

Movies are probably the easier form of remakes to discuss because of the recent failures that have cost studios hundreds of millions of dollars and countless audiences who will refuse to trust remakes in the future. “Oldboy” is the most recent in memory, but to try and list the remakes released in the last 10 years would go on well past what I can write here. Some notable failures include “Carrie,” “Clash of the Titans,” “The Amazing Spiderman” and “Total Recall. “

Every one of these remakes, and almost every other, fail to reach the peaks the originals concocted. Taking “Oldboy” as an example, a famed Korean film is brought to modern American audiences and is directed by Spike Lee, who is known for chronicling the African-American experiences from significant points in our country’s past. These are three completely distinct film styles all meshing together to try and accomplish a retelling of an already tightly woven and complex plot.

It just doesn’t work. There were almost no notable deviations from the original, which made it incredibly predictable, but the performances were by no means better than the Korean actors and they didn’t even add onto their renditions of the characters at all. Josh Brolin is a fine actor. I thought his role in “No Country For Old Men” was thrilling, but in “Oldboy” he feels out of place and almost like he is trying too hard.

Comparatively, “The Amazing Spiderman” is probably an even better example, this time exemplifying the pointlessness of rebooting a franchise, especially since the original “Spiderman” came out only 10 years before. While the new film boasted an even sillier and more pointless villain, the origin tale of Spiderman is so stale, people who have never even seen the movies or read the comics could describe it in detail. The effects had all pretty much been done before, the 3D option didn’t add anything, and probably most important, there was almost zero demand for another version of Spiderman.

Which brings me to a fact about remakes that I feel goes un-discussed most of the time. While it is obvious that the response and necessity of these remakes are drastically poor, what should also be obvious is that there are no people demanding these remakes be made in the first place! It baffles me to continually see developers of any sort of product avoid original content when that is what the public is truly hungering for.

Was there anybody who thought that the already terrible and campy Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Total Recall” needed a remake with the already terrible Jessica Alba and Colin Farrell?

All right, I’m going to restrain myself because I derail, because the thought of all of the wasted millions of dollars makes me a little angry. But the movie industry is not the only one pointing a middle finger at the national debt. Television studios have been almost as bad of offenders when it comes to horrible remakes.

Recent television shows to be remade include: “V,” “Bionic Woman,” “Knight Rider,” “Melrose Place” and “Charlie’s Angels.” One of the possible thoughts that might be rolling through your head is: “I’ve never heard of half of these shows,” and that fuels my point exactly. There is no demand for re-boots of old and beloved shows from the ‘70s or ‘80s, because the only people who remember them are the parents who don’t have time to watch television any longer. And this was painfully evident, as show after show got canceled after only a handful of episodes.

So what do the television executives do in response to these failures? Well, they order more remakes and reboots, of course! Which makes absolutely no logical sense.

Unfortunately, this problem even continues to infect other forms of entertainment, most recently video games. With remakes of classics like Tomb Raider and Goldeneye 007, the industry is not willing to accept that original material is what makes them quality products and worth considering classics. You can’t capture the same kind of excitement around a game such as Goldeneye anymore because the style has been duplicated a hundred times over by this point.

But to be honest, I don’t expect the surge of remakes and reboots to end any time soon, but if less and less of these worthless projects end up successful, the decision makers might begin to get the picture and that is something we as an audience can affect.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2013 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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