Doing justice to movie reboots and remakes “based on the original”

Sometimes it’s better to just leave a “classic” movie be. Photo by JeepersMedia, Flickr

Filmmakers need to tread lightly when reinventing and reintroducing old material  

Recently, I watched the trailer for what is now the third remake of “Annie” and I’ve got to say, despite having an amazing cast, (aside from Cameron Diaz, who is just painful to watch because she takes the word annoying to a whole new level), this movie looks like an empty remake with nothing original to offer. It also clearly resembles every other “inspirational movie” made in the last decade. I am not excited at all about this film, because it looks like its going to have the exact same effect as the “Karate Kid” reboot, where film producers just hope families will flock to the cinema and make them millions of dollars without really offering them anything exciting in return.

When I consider the amount of scripts floating around Hollywood at this very moment involving remakes and reboots, it brings a tear to my eye. It shows us how unwilling Hollywood is to take chances with scripts featuring original ideas.

Let’s face it: movie producers hate taking chances on movies that may or may not make large sums of money.

Sometimes it’s better to just leave a “classic” movie be. Photo by JeepersMedia, Flickr

However, I don’t consider remakes and reboots to be a bad thing. In fact, I believe they exist for the sole purpose of introducing the concept of classic cinema to today’s younger generation of filmgoers, whose eyes roll and minds begin to wander at the very mention of a black and white or “old” movie.

Now, this isn’t supposed to come off as me telling Hollywood to remake every single movie that comprises the American Film Institute’s “100 Greatest Movies” list, due to the fact that most of the time, the remake doesn’t capture the essence of the original. Or, in some cases, is just plain awful. I’m looking at you Gus Van Sant, and your pathetic “shot for shot” remake of Psycho starring Vince Vaughn.

This is me saying that some films could actually benefit from being remade because of emerging technologies in cinema. Additionally, you can use fresh eyes to give life to an old script, where a contemporary filmmaker has the chance to improve upon the original.

In order for filmmakers to be successful with their remakes and reboots, they must first develop a thorough understanding of the original. Understanding the source material allows you to maintain a sense of the magic that the original film had. That said, I believe originality is also a key component. Adding your own personal touches to the major themes of the original film will offer fans of the old film a whole new experience. This way, it acts as a love letter to the film it’s based on, while entertaining the younger generation through more relatable material. This will give the movie a platform to stand on its own.

Sometimes a movie just needs to be remade because the look of it just doesn’t match up to the emotion being portrayed on-screen before your eyes. For instance, “King Kong” by Peter Jackson was superior to the original in my eyes because the special effects truly added to the story. They enabled a more human look for the ape, so you truly sympathized with him.

Both JJ Abrams’ “Star Trek” and Tim Burton’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” are two other remade films that I felt were far superior compared to the originals, because the newly added visual effects really made me feel like I was walking through my imagination.

We should embrace remakes and reboots because who knows, they might help you love and appreciate something that you once hated. Although, if you producers touch any of our favourites in a bad way, I promise that will be the last thing you ever do.

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