Reboots and Remakes--Are They Becoming Ridiculously Redundant?

2/15/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Hollywood always has taken cues from previously made literature, film and other such artistic endeavors in order to come up with ideas for new films, but it would seem that lately the trend of the "remake" or "reboot" is more common and unstoppable than ever. Let's just take a look at some of the most anticipated films coming out in the next few months:

"Clash of the Titans"
"Death at a Funeral"
"A Nightmare on Elm Street"
"Robin Hood"
"The A-Team"
"The Karate Kid"

And that's all before Summer even ends. "Death at a Funeral," Frank Oz's original British film, isn't even four years old, and it's already being remade!

Now, I'm generally an advocate of the idea that one shouldn't judge a remake or reboot before you actually get an opportunity to see it. After all, "The Departed," "Star Trek," "Batman Begins," and others are genuinely great films, and they are remakes or reboots. It all depends on the talent involved and what new elements can be brought to the table.

That said, it's gotten to a point where it wouldn't hurt for Hollywood to come up with some new ideas--it does, after all, become somewhat ridiculous when a reboot is released in the same decade the franchise began in the first place. "Hulk" failed, so we got "The Incredible Hulk" (which was far from incredible, to be sure). "The Punisher" didn't work out, so we got "The Punisher: War Zone." Pretty soon we'll be getting a "Spider-Man" reboot as well as yet another attempt to jumpstart a new Superman series. Sure, go-to comic adapter Chris Nolan is partially involved, but the fact is that we just don't need a brand spanking new "Superman" reboot four or five years after the release of "Superman Returns." Give the audience a break!

It's not a particularly new trend. It comes and goes with generations--directors under the studio system of the '30s, '40s and '50s would "remake" films under new titles with new actors all the time. Novels would get multiple adaptations. Hollywood always is prepared to suck as much content as they can out of a franchise until it's dry, then start over again.

It's true that remakes and reboots aren't always failures, but that doesn't change the fact that there are so many unique ideas out there yet to be explored. We've seen it even this year with such films as "District 9," "Zombieland" and "Avatar"--whether you enjoy the films or not, there is an element of originality and creativity to them you don't see in the common remake. They're fresh, and while their ideas may not be completely new (I can't count how many times I've heard the criticism that "Avatar" ripped of "Ferngully" and "Dances With Wolves"), they are portrayed in entirely new ways. And even if Hollywood can't find a fresh new idea, there's a wealth of stories out there in literature yet to be uncovered. But no--most literary adaptations (with exceptions, of course) end up being independent releases.

Who is to blame for the creative bankruptcy? Is Hollywood even creatively bankrupt? Perhaps new ideas go in and out of producers' offices every day and they're turned down simply because audiences buy into remakes and reboots so easily. So, are audiences to blame? Hardly. People will go to the movies forever, whether a film is a remake or not. It seems to me that the remake/reboot trend is just an endless cycle of Hollywood adhering to audience expectations, and audiences going to see what Hollywood puts out.

Is there a reasonable and realistic solution? It's easy to say "make more original movies," but when Hollywood now is so deeply ingrained in the reboot method, it's going to be a difficult fix.

So, what it comes down to is this: Do you like remakes and reboots? Or would you rather Hollywood take a chance and come up with something new? Because ultimately, it's the audience that decides.

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  1. @graywolfpack said...

    I said the same thing in a recent comment, well not as well put of course, but I to am growing weary of the lack of original material being put out of by film makers. Kind of a 2 edged sword. Many of these reboots are fantastic films, but like you said, its one thing to remake a tv show to a movie, or a 60 year old movie, but when they start remaking movies that if feels like you just saw recently, well that gets a bit boring.

  2. Edward29 said...

    Some movies I am glad they are remaking.
    There are a lot of old SCIFI and adventure movies like Clash of the Titans that I've seen as a kid on TV with the crappy special effects, and I think what was the big deal.
    If I was around when it was in theaters maybe I would be a fanboy of the classic.
    I want to see a Clash of the Titans remake with updated special effects, and battle choreography.

    Classic comedies like the National Lampoon Vacation movies I hate the thought them being remade.
    Comedies are different as in they don't rely on special effects and fantasy. If the movie is funny then it is timeless to me.

  3. Jamie said...

    If a film is original and good then that's great but sometimes they get slaughtered at the reviews. Vanilla Sky was a great film but got really bad reviews. I think the vast majority of people that liked that film are in a certain bracket. Your not going to get your main stream cinema viewer enjoying that sort of film. You have to concentrate while watching it and think about what your experiencing. Unlike films like American Pie where most people can sit there let themselves roll with the film, not have to think to much and just enjoy it.

    I was at school when A Nightmare On Elm Street first came out. I remember my older sisters saying how terrifying it was. Some years later I watched it still under age (18 Cert in UK) and was also terrified. I cant wait to see the remake at the cinema. I just hope they have done it some justice.

    One more and that's Karate Kid. I love the original and don't think it can be beaten. I wont rush out to see the remake of this one but if I had kids old enough to go see it I would take them for sure. I do hope it does well but for me the original is special.

  4. 2gb compact flash said...

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  5. Leshy said...

    I heard about the spider-man and superman reboots and I got really bothered. I don't mind a reboot now and then. Taking an older story and re-imagining it for a new audience. But I have a problem with movies being rebooted in such a short time span. We just got a recent reboot of superman, and spiderman is already in the works for a reboot. It's weird to say, but I've invested heart in these characters and now it's going to have to start all over. Its just too soon.

    As for remakes, generally I have a less problem with it than reboots, but its still needs to be done tastefully. Remaking The Karate Kid and A-Team, they need to either stick to the same genre, or pay homage to it. If its originally an action movie, keep it action, or make it a good comedy. Wild West and Starsky and Hutch are example of trying to do both not very well. There also needs to be a grace period before doing a remake. Death at a Funeral was made not more than four years ago, and it's originally in English. Why does it need to be remade?

    My biggest complaint for a remake is from the Korean film Old Boy. Rumor has it the story will be changed to omit a MAJOR plot point in the original version - one of the reasons I love the film so much. I don't know if we should create remakes if thats the case. Rather use the idea as a reference.