Can we take a moment and discuss remakes? Seriously, if there was a remake quota, I think we have reached it. The most recent remake is “Ben-Hur”, and to say it doesn’t live up to the original epic would be a understatement. You would lose count trying to get an exact number of remakes that have been made in just the past few years. In 2016 alone, there have been 7 major motion picture remakes, which doesn’t sound like a lot considering the number of movies that come out in one year but these 7 movies were all considered to be big studio blockbusters. This year “Ghostbusters,” “Lights Out,” “Legend of Tarzan,” “The Jungle Book,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Magnificent Seven,” and “Ben Hur,” were all remade. Some of them worked (Pete’s Dragon) and others in my opinion fell short (Ben-Hur). The most controversial remake was “Ghostbusters”, not because it was a remake or reboot, I think idea of another “Ghostbusters” movie was accepted by most people but the controversy came from the film’s all female recasting. I haven’t seen “Ghostbusters” yet; not because it is 4 woman in the lead, I actually like the individual comediennes cast, but it just didn’t look interesting enough to me to see in theaters. It could be a good movie but until I see it, I can’t say if it is a Pete’s Dragon or just another Ben-Hur.
There are two frustrating things about the amount of remakes/reboots that are coming out, the first of which is the sheer number of remakes. I refuse to believe that Hollywood is out of original ideas, I choose to believe that Hollywood is rather lazy and are choosing to remake classics because it is easier than coming up with a new idea. There are hundreds and hundreds of aspiring screenwriters out there who I am sure have ideas that have yet to be tapped, maybe some day theses ideas will come to screen. Yes I am aware that there is a bit of hypocrisy to my post, one of my favorite movies this year, Pete’s Dragon is a remake and the remake of The Magnificent Seven is on my to see list. My point is not that remakes should not happen, remakes have been made for years now. Some of them are even enjoyable; in 2014 the Godzilla reboot came out and I thought that was a pretty good movie. Even though I am in the minority, I liked the “RoboCop” reboot from 2014 as well. This isn’t exclusive to movies either, TV though not as many, tend to dip into the remake/reboot pool. Earlier this year there was a TV version of the of movie “Rush Hour,” it only lasted a few episodes and this fall we are getting a reboot of the classic TV show “MacGyver” and a TV version of the movie series “Lethal Weapon,” both in my opinion look terrible.
My second issue about the remakes, is about the movies that are being remade themselves. For the most part they have not remade movies that are considered classics, but then they remade “Ben-Hur”. By taking on “Ben-Hur” they are opening up the door to other great classic film being remade or rebooted. Rumors of “A Wizard of OZ” remake has been talked about for years, and this is one movie that should never be remade. My worry is that film studios will be struggling to source ideas for a movie and someone will suggest remaking a classic because it worked once before, and the audience suffers when we end up with another disappointment like “Ben-Hur”. The fact that “Ben-Hur” is now considered a flop could slow the remake train or at least the idea that studios should remake classic films.
I know this post just sounds like someone complaining they are remaking movies that I consider classics and maybe that’s true. One could argue that if I liked the remakes I wouldn’t care but I would counter that I do like some remakes. Still, it’s overkill. My main thought is that remake after remake gives the impression that Hollywood has run out of ideas, which is something we all know is not possible. Hey Hollywood! If you are looking for film ideas, I know people, including myself, that have some. Call me, we’ll do lunch.