Attack Of The Remakes
July 16, 2015
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2015 is sure to be remembered as the ‘nostalgic’ year for movies; Hollywood has given us a reminder of great movies from the past with sequels, prequels, reboots, adaptations and (of course) the dreaded remakes. Upon hearing news of yet ANOTHER remake there seems to be an automatic response of: “What? Why? Not that movie! It’s a classic, they are ruining my childhood!” It leads me to question whether remakes are all that bad…do they deserve the reputation of ruining classic movies?
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Essentially, remakes are just a retelling of a story, something that has always been done. Look at Shakespeare; his stories live on now because they are still being told. For example, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet (1996), the adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew – 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), The Tempest (2010) and so many more. If the story is good, why not retell it to a new audience? Yet, there is always a certain disapproval associated with remakes. In a way it is understandable; a movie can often be very personal to an individual, and so the idea of someone taking their story and changing it can make them feel like they have been wronged. But, on the other hand, a remake takes one generation’s story and shares it with another, and new audience can bring new popularity. For instance, in 2005 King Kong and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were two of the best sellers, and they were both remakes. The hype for these movie brought the original back into the public eye – the black and white version of King Kong (1933) is now likely to have been watched again by young people in 2005.
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Speaking from personal experience, one of my favourite horror movie is John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). The first time I watched this film I thought it was like no other…until I found out it was a remake of The Thing From Out Of Space (1951). Carpenter had not only retold the story on a bigger scale, but he had also taken a story he was fond of and relayed it to a new audience. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if films are remakes as long as they are entertaining. For example – Some Like it Hot (1959), True Lies (1994), Vanilla Sky (2001), The Ring (2002) and The Departed (2006) are often referred to as being classics, despite being remakes.
Many of Charles Dickens’ stories have been retold over and over again, the most prominent example that springs to mind being A Christmas Carol. This story has been told so many times, in so many different ways that it should be as dead as a door nail. Yet, on the contrary, the story has lived on for so long because it is a sweet and entertaining Christmas tale. If not for the retelling of the story, how many of us would really know of A Christmas Carol?
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A good story deserves to be retold again and again to a new audience. When you hear one of your favourite movies is getting the ‘remake treatment’, be happy to hear it is good enough to do so. For example, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) is one of my all-time beloved family films. In 2005 it was remade by Tim Burton, allowing this generation to enjoy it. Rather than feeling bitter about this decision I am certain that the film isn’t ruined; I still have the original movie which I can show to the young members of my family, and Burton’s remake hasn’t taken away any of my love of the original story. Perhaps the next remake you watch might actually open your eyes to a classic you didn’t even know existed. If you watched it and loved it, the chances are it will get the ‘remake treatment’ in years to come…if it’s a good movie, it should not matter if it’s a remake.