Opinion: Movie remakes are not inherently bad

Let’s be honest, the internet is a very angry place. It is a wonderful place where people aren’t afraid to voice their opinions, which always happen to be correct. Generally speaking, the movie-fan subsection of the internet is no different, especially when it comes to the choices that are being made in Hollywood. One of the most recent anger-inducing acts by Hollywood is the trend of remaking, rebooting, and reimagining every movie that we hold dear. These remakes are messing with our nostalgia and gosh darn it we’ve had enough!

We don’t need a new Beauty & The Beast!

No thank you, New Jumanji!

Gender-bending Ghostbusters? Not on my watch!

 

List of Remakes

 

Calm down, angry internet-dweller, because I’m here to tell you my opinion, which happens to be correct: this trend is not the worst thing to happen to cinema since February 24, 2006. In fact, I would argue that this wave of remakes is, overall, a good thing.

Firstly, by remaking older movies you’re able to expose great stories to a whole new audience, whether it be generational or geographic. How many young folk are likely to have seen the 1960 Ocean’s 11, 1951’s The Thing, or even the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs? Devoted film buffs have probably seen all of these, but not the average person. But when these films’ remakes were released in 2001, 1982, and 2006 (as The Departed) respectively, millions of people were exposed to a story they might not have experienced otherwise.

You could argue that those people should watch the originals but, while they are worth seeing, realistically you can’t expect a 50 year old movie to maintain cultural relevancy. By remaking these and other great films, Hollywood is allowing greater audiences to share in the same love for these movies. Spreading the love for great cinema is never a bad thing.

Ocean's 11 original and remake.
My next article will be on Hollywood remaking movie posters.

Aside from introducing these stories to a new audience, some of these redo movies are just flat out better than the original. Besides the three aforementioned remakes that also fit in here, reimagining existing movies also gave us fantastic films like True Grit (2010), Scarface (1983), and 2004’s Dawn of the Dead (okay maybe not “fantastic” but still an improvement on Romero’s 1978 version). By greenlighting these remakes studios are giving modern directors the chance to put their own spin on stories that originally left something to be desired, and often what we get is a better, more intriguing experience.

Of course then again, for every Scarface and The Departed that we get, we also get a Jaden Smith Karate Kid and Russell Brand Arthur. Luckily for us, Tim Burton didn’t celebrate Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’s release by personally hunting down and destroying every copy of the Gene Wilder classic Willy Wonka. Whether the remake is a bad movie or you dislike it out of loyalty to the original, there’s nothing stopping you from continuing to enjoy the first iteration. Despite what so many slideshow-list websites would have you believe, a shitty remake does not undermine the quality of the original film. A bad remake should not take away your enjoyment of the original, so don’t let it. If nothing else, you can add another level of hipster to your film discussions by asserting you only consider the original to be canon.

Spooky Tim Burton
He’s coming to destroy your childhood.

I should also point out that I am in no way saying Hollywood should ramp up the number of remakes they do, or that new and original films aren’t important, just that remaking movies we love isn’t a personal attack on our collective nostalgia.

Due to the divisiveness of the subject, I took a Twitter poll to see what my followers think of remakes. I got a few dozen responses (hey it’s a new website, cut me some slack) and it looks like some of these people need to read this article.

Twitter poll
Yikes.

Interestingly, Facebook followers had much more mixed feelings on the subject:

Facebook responses

Let me know your thoughts on movie remakes in the comments below, or on Twitter @DylanNoPants.


Editor’s Note: The release dates for The Thing were originally incorrect, but have been corrected.

Dylan Clauson

A good, good beard boy that studied broadcasting and film at Central Michigan University, where I learned how to pretend that I know what I'm talking about.

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3 Comments on "Opinion: Movie remakes are not inherently bad"

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Marvin
Guest
It seems like a simple solution is to not watch the movie if you don’t like the idea of remaking an old movie. I can’t simply judge a movie like that because I have to see if the remake stands on its own legs or if it is a pure nostalgia cash grab. I watched The Magnificent Seven remake recently and while I enjoyed it as an entertaining movie, it didn’t have the same emotional depth that the original or even the actual original Seven Samurai did. It was still worth the price of admission for me, but it should… Read more »
Zachary Liles
Admin
From getting feedback before and after this article went up, lots of people seem to say “I don’t mind remakes, but I’d rather have original ideas”. And while I certainly don’t disagree with that, it doesn’t mean that a remake can’t be a great thing! As you mentioned, both a remake and the original can be good things! Nostalgia driven money grabs are annoying and I could do without them, but those seem to be the minority of remakes. Plus as Dylan mentioned, if a remake does happen to be bad, that in no way changes the original. That original… Read more »
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