Thursday, September 22, 2011

My rant about remakes or reboots or sequels or whatever continues

School started so I got busy and then time just flew by and screenwriting didn't really get done. But this week I read a screenplay and did a set of notes for a colleague, so I'm back on the screenwriting train. I should be back to posting regularly now. And this weekend I'm going to sweep through my first draft making major changes and cleaning things up so I can get notes next week.

I posted on this recently, but I was thinking more about the whole "why remakes upset us" thing. Because they do. Some people don't get it, and all the time on Done Deal someone will ask why the hell everybody cares so much if a movie is remade.

I've never been a huge fan of Scarface, but I think I get why people are up in arms about the remake. So I guess this is part two of my remake rant.

It can be summed up in one anecdote, really.

The new Star Wars Blue Ray commercials have plastered the TV lately. I love Star Wars. I've been a Jedi for Halloween on three occasions. I own life size cardboard cutouts of Han and Leia and an official Jedi robe and a pair of light sabers that light up and make noise and I played Knights of the Old Republic like five times and I've already pre-ordered the Kinect game and I own the original Gendy Tartakovsky Clone Wars cartoons on DVD. So I'm a fan. And a dork, but obviously a fan.

But when I see the previews for those Blue Rays and that little Anakin wanders onto Tattooine with that silly bowl cut and a scowly face, I get irritated. And then they show Jar Jar or Hayden Christenson doing whatever the hell he was doing in front of that green screen, and I just want it to go away. And then they pop in a shot of Luke in front of the two suns.

That shot. That beautiful shot, is ruined. All I think now when I see it is how much Star Wars sucks now. The magic is gone.

Maybe other people can separate what they love from what they hate, but I can't. A remake is a completely different film, so maybe they don't have to ruin the movie you love. After all, the Scarface everybody loves so much was a remake in its own right. But I don't know. There's something magical about a movie you love, and when someone comes along and fucks with it, that magic just sort of fades.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk about this awesome Drink Along thing they've got going on over at the Downtown Independent.


  1. Scarface and The Thing are remakes. Both are better than the originals.

    And I still hate remakes.

    I think it has a lot to do with -- remakes used to be done because somebody REALLY WANTED TO REMAKE THAT MOVIE!!! They either disliked the original and wanted to see it done right, or wanted to add something new, or had a totally new, modern spin on how a dated story could be applied to today.

    Today remakes are done because they are seen to have a built in audience.

    There's more to hating remakes too. It has a lot to do with home entertainment.

    Prior to the 80s, if you didn't see a film in the theater chances were you'd NEVER see it.

    With the advent of video cassette and DVD, it is possible to watch every single image ever burnt onto celluloid from the comfort of your home. You can call up Citizen Kane today, tomorrow, in a hundred years from now. Zero reliance on what's playing at your local theater.

    What does this mean for remakes? It means most people own the god damn original that they love and can watch it whenever their heart desires. Why would I want to go to the movie theater and spend 12 bucks on a movie I already own -- that's probably going to be better than the remake anyway?

    Remakes are a stupid business plan. There's much more money in an original franchise that has yet to be exploited. Look at Avatar. The ceiling on remakes is pretty low.

  2. You could name THE FLY as well, if we're continuing with the 80s theme. I love all three of those movies. And one of the films I'm most looking forward to before the end of the year is a remake of something just a few years old but it's got David Fincher so I let it slide. This is not a perfect argument to make.

    In another age of Hollywood remakes would happen because it was a property they would own and they might think 'Hey! Let's turn this into a musical with Fred Astaire!' Or reworking plot elements to make it something different. Titles would be changed as well and it goes without saying that sometimes the original films might not have even been in circulation for a long time. Now it's all about the marketing of the title, to come up with a cool poster. It's about calling it THE THING or SCARFACE or whatever. And the films are garbage. They're soulless. They're pointless. They're not about creativity at all. Why see a new Total Recall which isn't all that different when Total Recall has been airing on TBS for twenty years? I want to see films I haven't seen before, stories that haven't been told before. I think other people want that too. I have to believe that.

  3. It's a control issue. If you don't let it bother you, it won't bother you. My favorite movie of all time might be LA Confidential. If I found out a remake was in the works, wouldn't bother me for a second. The only way I'd see it is if I truly trusted the people involved. Otherwise, I won't see it, and the remake will have zero effect on my life or happiness.

    Let go of control.

  4. Maybe only poor quality, unsuccessful films should be re-made...

  5. I don't know if it's remakes or the endless ABUNDANCE of remakes that's pissing us all off.

    I'll admit for the record that I MAY like the remake of Pelham 1,2,3 better than the original. If I ever hear they're going to remake Three Days of the Condor, however, I'll be ready for a straight jacket.

    The point, I guess, is that remakes in and of themselves aren't bad. When they become part of the very fabric of contemporary cinema, however, something's really wrong.


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