Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Remake and the Reimagining

It seems like every time I turn around something is being remade or re-imagined. Did you know that there are three versions of Snow White currently in production? And this all points in a variety of directions.

First of all, there is obviously a dearth of creativity going on. Remember that summer there were two apocalyptic meteor movies? And everyone saw one and chances are you can't even remember the title of the other. Can you imagine the summer of three Snow Whites? Well, get ready, because it's coming.

And honestly, I don't expect filmmakers to have a million bazillion great ideas about movies. We may think they used to but the truth is that they never did. They had some. And they still have some, but most of what you're looking at in that super-cold, super-dark room while stuffing your face with popcorn is a remake or re-imagining of something. Maybe a book or a TV show or God-help-us a board game. Comic books, songs, picture books, and video games have all inspired movies and that's okay. That's great, actually. Because, typically, I am a fan girl of some shade and I get really excited about seeing something I love make it to the big screen.

And the truth is that there are still plenty of good ideas. There are still good books being written, good songs being sung, good games being created (ugh) and good TV shows that could benefit from a little big screeniness. So why aren't there more "original" movies? By this I mean movies that haven't already been movies, because I think we've established that there is nothing new under the glaring lights.

I hate to break it to you guys, but it's our fault. First of all, there's the economy. I'm not sure if you've heard, but it sucks and that means that people are going to the movies less often. Combine that with the wonders of RedBox and Netflix and people are going to the movies a lot less. So, the powers that be out there are sticking with what they know will bring in the cash. This breaks down into two categories: things that go boom and things that have brought in the big bucks before.

Things that go boom aren't going anywhere. As long as there are cushy seats above sticky floors, someone will be exploding something on screen. We don't have to worry too much about that. But things that have already done well, that's something else entirely.

They are remaking Total Recall. When I heard that, I was like, "Great. Cool. Amazing." Because I like We Can Remember it for You Wholesale. And Arnold sucks. But, it turns out they are going to remake the movie and not do a new, truer to the book version and that disappoints me. But, you know, Total Recall made a lot of money. A lot of money. Despite some amazingly terrible effects. You know what, though, I'm gonna see it. Because it won't have Arnold, so it's gotta be better.

And I just read that they are remaking The Stand. Personally, I think this is excellent news. Because I loved the book and I think the miniseries version is an abomination. I can't wait for this one. And I'm not sure how they measure the gross of a miniseries, but let's face it - Stephen King brings the bucks when it's done right.

Of course, there's The Smurfs. But that's our fault too. We (and I am speaking specifically to my generation here) are a nostalgic bunch of idiots. We get all hyped up over Rainbow Brite and squeal in ecstasy when someone mentions Cabbage Patch Kids. Look at the response to Transformers. Seriously. And now Cartoon Network is remaking Thunder Cats and my husband is trying to arrange his schedule around it. This was inevitable. Don't pretend it wasn't.

And this isn't all bad. Or all new. There have been (according to me and my very intsense IMDB research) 8 versions of Pride and Prejudice and 14 versions of Little Women beginning over 100 years ago. Without remakes we would be stuck with the original version of The Fly. And without re-imaginings, we'd be bereft of Romeo + Juliet. Of course, not everything works out that well, but it's all trial and error, isn't it. We just won't know if this version of Dracula will be The version of Dracula.

The biggest problem is that this is vicious cycle of evil. The more sucky remakes Hollywood churns out, the fewer people will pack their houses of 3D doom, and the fewer people sucking down 432 oz. Cokes, the suckier (and safer) the movies will get. One of us is going to have to break the cycle. I guess I'll see you at the very, very mediocre movies.


Tears In My Shotglass said...

I saw where they are remaking Dirty Dancing. Should have expected it after they remade Footloose. I just hope they don't destroy it.

Suze said...

Well, I saw Super 8, which had a lot of explosions, but was fun anyway. I see at most one movie on the big screen per year, so they're not advertising to me anyway!

Jessi said...

Tears - Yeah, I'm not sure about Dirty Dancing, but I'll give it a shot.

Suze - I used to see a lot of movies and now I hardly see any and most of what I do see is kids stuff. I did better this year thanks to the Drive In.

Sage said...

Wellll to be honest, SciFi/SyFy comes up with a whole slew of new movies all the time.

New doesn't mean they don't suck. :)