Has Hollywood’s idea bank run dry?
While some really iconic movies have come out in the last 20 years, the past few years have gotten repetitive. You can almost predict what movies will be in the box office this summer: space movie with white leads that makes you fear the galaxy; part two of a young adult series with a strong, young girl in a love triangle; a remake of a Disney classic; and superhero movie after superhero movie.
While remaking movies is an age-old Hollywood tradition, this practice seems to have increased recently. The age of remakes is upon us.
Studios claim many reasons for remaking movies. For one, the technology of movie making keeps getting increasingly better. If you compare the CGI of today to 20 years ago, it is astounding how far we have come. Some filmmakers are interested in making their movies better than they were before.
Another claim is that they are improving plots through the remake, and it is true that sometimes remakes are better than the original. Many remakes are marketed as having a twist to them—they use the bare bones of the movie and change it.
In recent years, it has become popular to simply take an old story and add a female lead. The success of “Ghostbusters” and the hype of the upcoming, female-led “Ocean’s Eleven” is proof of that. It is never clear, though, if these movies are making a real feminist statement or just taking advantage of the opportunity.
Additionally, producers do not seem to realize that there is a massive difference between remaking old movies and ones that only came out five years ago.
The remake of the “Jungle Book” had impressive CGI which brought a thrill to the film that the cartoon didn’t possess. The original movie came out in 1967— 50 years ago.
The new “Beauty and the Beast,” on the other hand, seemed to be more of a tribute to the old film, which came out less than 30 years ago, than a new take on the story. The inclusion of a gay character and new songs doesn’t make up for the fact that the script is essentially the same as the 1991 film.
If the general public keeps fueling the remake machine, we will see this pattern continued for years to come. The thing is, the world isn’t out of ideas. Why should we be watching countless reboots when there are many best-selling books that are not written from hopeless scripts and have not been made into movies?
We will see if the remakes get more original in the coming years, or if they will just continue to go through the Hollywood remake machine. As long as people keep coming to see remakes and sequels of their old favorites, Hollywood will keep pumping them out.