Remakes of big franchises have plagued Hollywood for several years now. They’ve always been something that occurs, but the big issue that anyone who regularly goes to the cinema observes is how much current films are creatively bankrupt. Everywhere one turns around, an old film or series is being dug up from the grave.
There are many ways in which a remake can go wrong. Possibly the most infamous is the Gus Van Sant remake of “Psycho,” in which every single shot from the original is painstakingly recreated. Even if it’s not exactly the same, we also have films like Disney’s recent “Beauty and the Beast,” which, besides solving a few pointless plot holes from the original, offered nothing new except bad CGI and much worse singing.
When films are so achingly similar to the original, the question always is- what is the point? Why take something that so many considered landmarks of cinema and dissolve them into cynical corporate cash grabs that don’t exist with any genuine passion.
Even when a remake is moderately different, it can go south. The 2014 “Robocop” remake was different in many aspects from the original. But it got that way by going down all the paths the classic strayed far away from. It takes moments that had genuine meaning and strips them down to a point where the final product is just boring.
There are genuine ways to make a remake to the point where even the original is outmatched. The simple trick to do here is: pick an older film that is either completely bad or in some way flawed and improve upon it in unexpected ways. One of the all-time best remakes is John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of “The Thing.” With its chilling atmosphere and revolutionary special effects, it was so popular and redefining that people rarely remember it was a remake.
Even when the original film was a genre and overall cinema redefining masterwork, there is still a key way to make a remake that could satisfy. In short go back to the source. A reboot of “The Wizard of Oz” could indeed work. All one would have to do is go back to the novel and focus on the tone and plot developments that the original excluded.
Hollywood isn’t exactly strapped for ideas. It just needs to give the budgets to the creators who have the new ideas. But if the producers are unwilling to take any kind of risk, they can make remakes work. But sadly, they seem to be going in the wrong direction almost every single time.