I’ve HAD IT with Remakes!

by | Feb 26th, 2009 | 11:09AM | Filed under: In My Humble Opinion, News

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I was hit with a double-whammy of "say it ain't so!" news this morning: two of my favorite films from decades past — The NeverEnding Story (1984) and Total Recall (1990) — are going to be remade.  Why, God, why???

I had finally calmed down after suffering several nightmares about the Footloose and The Karate Kid remakes… and now this?  It's like The Powers That Be in Hollywood want to torture Gen Xers or something.

Truth be told, I feel partially responsible for the NeverEnding Story part of this travesty and am cursing myself for putting the idea for an updated take on this children's fantasy film out into the blogosphere back in October.  However, I concluded in that post that "I would just end up decrying a new NeverEnding Story
in addition to probably losing sleep over it.  In my heart, I believe
that there is only one Bastian, one Atreyu and one Childlike Empress,
and they are all still living in the original film's version of
Fantasia."

Apparently fellow thirtysomething Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't share my concerns.  His production company, Appian Way, is said to be in talks with Warner Brothers about the project. 

As for Total Recall, I believe that the original — a sci-fi action film based on a short story by Philip K. Dick about memory implantation — was awesome enough when it starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone nearly twenty years ago.  I don't get the point of redoing all of these movies that were fine just the way they were.  Oh wait — yeah I do — the point is to take the easy way out: instead of creating something new and original, those in the film industry can simply churn out updates of past successes, rake in the money, and call it a day.

The counterpoint to that argument, of course, is that a lot of moviegoers — especially those not old enough to remember or even know about some of these great movies of yore — would never get to experience the joy of these stories if it weren't for remakes.  And particularly for children's films… even if a kid growing up today saw The NeverEnding Story, he might not be into it because of its dated special effects. 

While I definitely understand that take on things, at the same time I think it's the moviegoing public-at-large's responsibility to keep their old favorites in circulation throughout the years.  That's how good music lives on, right?  And from what I know of kids, they're not exactly that judgmental when it comes to whiz-bang technology in their entertainment. If they were, how could the likes of Barney or Dora the Explorer ever have been successful?

I admit that Footloose and some of the other films mentioned in this post aren't up there with, say, Casablanca or Citizen Kane, but they are still good movies that were enjoyed by millions of people.  So I'm not sure where the line should be drawn when it comes to giving these films the "do over" treatment.  What are the criteria that should determine whether or not a film remake should be applauded?  Or are all remakes inherently bad? 

Chime in below… in the meantime I will be starting up the petition to Save Falkor. 


7 Responses to “I’ve HAD IT with Remakes!”

  1. Jason
    Posted on February 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I won‘t say that all remakes are inherently bad. There are plenty of remakes that are at least passably good if not better than their predecessors. However, for every decent remake, there seems to be dozens of terrible ones. For example, Oceans 11 versus My Favorite Martian.
    I guess the criteria for applauding a remake first has to do with whether the end result is any good. Judgement must be held off to a certain extent until the movie is complete and judgeable. Secondly, points must be awarded for two seperate categories and further points for their sum total. The categories are whether the director takes a new direction and tries to make it their own versus staying true to the original material and why it was awesome in the first place. The proportion created by these two unquantifiable quantities should dictate how good the new film is and whether or not it works.

  2. Kristin
    Posted on February 26, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more – enough already! Your comment about “that’s how good music lives on” hit a bit of a nerve as well. When Britney is redoing Bobby Brown, and Puff P Diddy Daddy (whatever the heck he wants to be called now) is sampling The Police, (and there are so many many more) I just want to cry. Especially when 20 year olds argue with me that the remakes ARE the originals. I feel old on those days.

  3. Joe Shmo
    Posted on March 2, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Hollywood is looking to turn a buck, why not piggyback on the films that made $$$. Easyway out,not much creative effort needed, and the all mighty easy dollar. Not interested in the least. They wont get my buck!!!

  4. Brenda
    Posted on March 3, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Wow! There are others like me that are tired of remakes! I admit that I never did watch a lot of movies as a kid, but it seems like every moive that I see nowadays is a remake from years past … grrrr !

  5. Linda
    Posted on March 3, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I do not like them either…. I do however totally understand why they do it. Most of the behind the scene people in Hollywood have no imagination what so ever and they have to prove how good they are by making the old favorites better, Something these people cannot do. I figure most of these people never spent time alone to learn how to think and imagine at the same time.
    Can anyone name a successful remake?

  6. kelly
    Posted on March 3, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    this movie was cool even my son loved it.

  7. Daisy
    Posted on March 3, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    my fiance loved it too!