“The remake” has been long scorned in the cinematic community for being unoriginal. And yet, they continue to overtake screens throughout the world. There are four main types of remakes that have thrived in the past few years.
The first kind of remake started out innocently enough as an “improvement” of films for which we finally have the technology to provide fabulous movies the graphics they deserve, like the iconic remake of “It” that scared me far more than the original. Some have a slight twist (like the all-female remake of “Ghostbusters” or the more in-your-face comedy styling of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”). These “remakes” act more as alternate universes in which the plot of the original film(s) take place rather than a literal remaking of a previous film and, while some of them are flops and enforce the saying “the sequel is never as good as the original,” others are capable of adding a unique twist to an old story.
Another sort of film that is similar to these “improvement” movies are all the Disney live-action remakes. Childhood classics like “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast” are remade with famous celebrities playing our favorite characters. Even more underrated Disney movies such as “The Jungle Book” are being remade with amazing CGI to bring the animals to life. These delightful movies are colorful reimaginations of nostalgic films from our childhood.
Other films, like “Footloose” or “Carrie,” are copies of their predecessors that do little to the story except change the actors and expect the same amount of respect and recognition that the first film garnered. However, these are not the worst. The last, and most unoriginal (in my opinion) form of movie remake is the live television musical. More frequently there has been abundant movies that have had the word “live” slapped to the end of them and been reinvented for newer generations by replacing the original cast with a lower quality version (I’m talking about you, “Grease: Live” and “Hairspray Live!”). Even regular movies are being remade. My jaw dropped when I heard that “A Christmas Story: Live” came out this past holiday season. I can no longer predict what else is in danger of being remade.
While some remakes are helpful in rewriting old stories to fit newer narratives and giving certain films the technological justice they deserve, others are just unimaginative attempts to gain the same amount of recognition and revenue as much as the original. The sad thing is, this isn’t anything new. I learned in one of my English classes that there are only seven basic plots: overcoming the monster, rags to riches, the quest, voyage and return, comedy, tragedy and rebirth. After looking at this, can you really get annoyed with Hollywood for remaking the same films and repackaging them as something unique? My answer is yes.