Are we out of original ideas?

Discussing the issues with reboots or remakes in the entertainment industry

Whenever I’m watching an entertainment news show such as Entertainment Tonight, or listening to podcasts like The Ralph Report, I am constantly hearing about the latest remake or reboot of a show or movie. Most of the time, I end up rolling my eyes because I am kind of sick of it. From the reboot of “Saved by The Bell” to the who-knows-what iteration and reimagining of Batman, there is always something. While yes, I understand and agree that nearly every story has been told and what matters is how the story is told, I find myself thinking about why there is this huge craze to bring back old shows and movies, or to just remake them entirely.

My first thought about this is that film executives are just lazy and don’t want to put as much work into telling stories. It seems like there is no real attempt anymore to try to make something original.

After some thought, I asked myself if it’s easier to reboot or remake a piece of media or if it’s more challenging because there is a directly comparable source. I think that it depends on if it’s being marketed as a reboot or a remake. If a franchise is being rebooted, then there is the potential for things to be a little more challenging because the story has to continue, or because it may only feature some of the original cast.

Whereas with a remake, it seems like there is less need to take artistic liberties because the base is there and only certain things are being changed.

Take the 2013 remake of the 1976 horror film Carrie with Chloë Grace Moretz. Not much differed from the original except for the lack of nudity, as Moretz was only 16 at the time, and the use of cell phones. Did the movie need to be remade? In my opinion, no. The Sissy Spacek version of the movie was really impactful, and remaking it without many changes just felt like it was a waste of time.

There have been times where I have been interested in the reboot or the remake of a show that I grew up watching and was left quite disappointed. For example, the Disney Channel show “Raven’s Home,” which airs on the network as well as on Disney+, was taking “That’s So Raven” and making it new. I loved “That’s So Raven” growing up, and when I watched “Raven’s Home,” I was left feeling bored. The jokes weren’t as funny, and there wasn’t the same energy present that “That’s So Raven” had. I was hoping to feel a sense of nostalgia, but instead I was left feeling let down because it didn’t have the same elements that made the original series fun and entertaining. “That’s So Raven” was so original, funny and quite wacky with the plot, and “Raven’s Home” just toned it down way too much to be enjoyable.

There have been instances where I have been incredibly annoyed with the thought of something being remade. For example, recently it was announced that the movie Face/Off was getting remade, and I was angry to hear this. I thought that the original film was this perfect mess because of how unrealistic the premise was and just how much overacting both Nicholas Cage and John Travolta did. So, trying to remake it seems like a waste of time. I don’t see any purpose other than money as a valid reason to remake this movie.

Nostalgia could be a motivation for this reboot and remake craze. In current times, I can understand the want to escape from our reality and try and bring back things that brought joy in the past. However, at the same time, I think that trying to shove forced nostalgia in everyone’s face removes the natural feeling of being nostalgic. Also, if the movie or show is made new, does it still hold the same importance or feeling as the original? I would argue that no, it loses what made it special in the first place.

I can also see how this trend of reboots is a cash grab, honestly. A lot of the time, certain shows and movies that did well in the past or had a decent following are seen as easy money. If a story is familiar, then it might draw a larger crowd than a story that is entirely new.

I think that if there wasn’t such a push for all this rehashing then it might be less annoying. A lot of major studios, with the right amount of funds and new technology, can take many more creative liberties than before, yet they keep reaching into the past to make things again. It frustrates me because there are many stories that could be told, and many ideas that are not being pursued because something that was popular twenty years ago needs another shot in 2021. Nearly every time I hear about a new movie announcement, it’s always some movie or show that was made before. I just want to hear about something that is original, that hasn’t been done before.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam

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