Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Published 9 months ago by , Updated February 20th, 2014 at 9:08 am,

RoboCop Remake Alex Murphy Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Over the last five years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the amount of Hollywood remakes and reboots – much to the chagrin of fans (and online commenters). Nearly every week we get word of a new remake or reboot that’s in the early stages of production. Of course, not all of these projects actually make it to the big (or small) screen – NBC’s Murder She Wrote reboot (with Octavia Spencer) serves as a recently cancelled attempt to revisit a fan-favorite property. Still, many reboots and remakes do make it into production. In 2014 alone we’ll see a remake of Annie along with reboots of Godzilla and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, just to name a few – with plenty of other contentious productions scheduled for future release in the coming years, including Akira and re-remake of Scarface.

Yet, despite the proliferation of remakes and reboots, nearly all of the aforementioned in-development projects were panned immediately at the time of their announcement by fans of their respective “originals.” Unsurprisingly, no one wants to see their favorites characters tarnished in a hollow Hollywood cash grab but not all remakes and reboots are soulless attempts to exploit an established brand. Plus, even when a remake fails, it can still have a positive effect on other aspects of the original film’s legacy – most notably reigniting interest in a fading franchise.

As a result, even if you’ve been burned by an uninspired attempt at reimagining one of your favorite films or TV shows, here are several reasons Why Everybody Should Love Remakes and Reboots.

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Ground Rules

Evil Dead Reviews 2013 Starring Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Before we get started, let’s set up a few key points and guidelines for the sake of intelligent discussion.

If you think all remakes and reboots are unnecessary, have no interest in a discussion of why they can be good (even when the movie itself is bad), and just want to see Hollywood make “original” films, skip ahead to our fifth and final point in this article.

The terms “remake” and “reboot” are often used as synonyms and presenting a concrete definition for either can result in endless semantic debate. For our purposes, we’ll be using the term “remake” to identify a standalone film that follows most (not all) of the original’s plot beats (example: Evil Dead) and we’ll use the term “reboot” to identify a film that attempts significant change for the purpose of kicking-off a new film franchise (example: Star Trek).

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Remakes/Reboots (No Matter the Quality) Re-invigorate Properties & Characters

RoboCop 2014 Grey Suit Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

In our skepticism, we’ve set up a no-win situation for filmmakers: in order for a reboot to be accepted by fans it must a) not make significant (or even sometimes subtle) changes to the original and b) deliver an overall better movie in the process. But what if a filmmaker can offer a different take on that same premise?

Recently, José Padilha’s reboot of the RoboCop franchise drew especially intense criticism from longtime fans who deemed the film “unnecessary” and a “disgrace” to Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 feature. However, reviews and audience impressions from viewers who actually saw the film weren’t as clear cut. Reactions were decidedly mixed, but for a movie that was decried as a shameless cash grab from day one, plenty of moviegoers and critics alike actually praised Padilha’s modern take on the RoboCop premise – which traded the original’s R-Rated violence for an existential character story.

Gary Oldman Dr Dennett Norton RoboCop 2014 Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Padilha’s remake has flaws but, whether you loved it, hated it, or were mostly indifferent, it got people talking about RoboCop again – a brand that, after the original film, resulted in an underwhelming RoboCop 2, universally panned RoboCop 3, as well as two lackluster TV shows (RoboCop: The Series and RoboCop: Prime Directives). RoboCop may have been a fan-favorite staple of 1980s moviegoers (young and old) but, 25 years later, was anyone outside of die hard fans watching the original film? The answer: not many. For years, RoboCop hadn’t even been remastered for an HD release. It appeared as a standalone Blu-ray and as part of a trilogy box set but neither retail offering actually included remastered image and sound – that is until the remake finally encouraged MGM to produce a fresh Blu-ray to coincide with Padilha’s film. 

Even in the worst case scenario, when a reboot or remake is a legitimate disgrace, it can encourage certain moviegoers to take a second (or first) look at the original and raise overall awareness. These days, keeping a film or TV show in the public consciousness is especially important – ensuring that publishers, streaming services, and retailers don’t drop the title from their available offerings.

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Remake & Reboot Criticism Undeservedly “Sanctify” Old Films & TV Shows

robocop director Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Each of us has fond memories of specific films but with two or three major movie releases hitting theaters every week, more and more entertainment offerings are available to the next generation of consumers. As a result, certain cult favorite films could begin to fade into obscurity – especially since not all of them are as “perfect” as we might remember. Is Verhoeven’s RoboCop an entertaining film with more layers than most viewers expected from a story about a cyborg cop? Absolutely. Is it an untouchable classic that will hold-up for generations to come? A film that will be just as impactful to die-hard movie fans tomorrow as it was to those in 1987? Not likely.

A lot of moviegoers dismiss remakes and reboots as shallow cash-grabs that sacrifice the spirit of original properties for the sake of updated CGI effects. Yet, the biggest longterm drawback in many fan-favorite films isn’t the visuals, it’s the context. It shouldn’t be a surprise that writers and directors responsible for a cult-classic like RoboCop took a premise with enduring appeal and wrapped it in thematic material that was relevant at the time of production.

RoboCop 1987 ED 209 Dick Jones Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Yet, times change – making certain aspects of many beloved films less impactful as our cultural focus shifts. Meaning, RoboCop (1987) is unlikely to be as impactful to a modern film buff as it was to fans back in the 1980s – while the RoboCop premise is still ripe for modern social commentary.

No doubt, classic films should be appreciated for their ability to educate us about the culture in which they were created, but it is over-reaching to assume that even the most dedicated film fans will be as impacted by the experience twenty-five years later as we were at the time of release. That’s not to take anything away from RoboCop, or any of the other beloved originals that have spurred a modern remake. They’re enjoyable films from talented filmmakers – but that doesn’t mean that they’re universally celebrated or that we should deny a fresh perspective (with updated commentary on current social issues) – one that could grant fan-favorite characters a second life (and offer the same impact on future moviegoers).

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Remakes & Reboots Make “Old” Exciting for “New” Viewers

Sherlock Season 3 Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Reimagining characters isn’t even a new thing – for centuries artists have been revitalizing other people’s creations - through oral traditions, written works, and radio. Film just happens to be the most recent (and most public) medium to regularly revisit popular characters. The last five years have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of reboots and remakes but, relative to the near 100-year history of American studio filmmaking, that doesn’t mean that reinterpretations are ever going away.

Why is RoboCop or the Necronomicon any more precious than Robin Hood or Sherlock Holmes? Simply because the former were enjoyed by our generation first and the latter don’t technically belong to anyone that’s still alive? Viewers who enjoyed Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or BBC’s Sherlock (not to mention CBS’ Elementary), among countless others, can’t really argue that re-introducing a beloved property to a new group of potential fans outright dishonors the original creation.

elementary liu miller boxes Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

If a character is truly as important as fans often suggest – an “icon” with timeless depth and story potential – then that brand should have no problem weathering an underwhelming re-imagining. As suggested, it’s also worth noting that, even in the case of a failed remake, Hollywood isn’t likely to simply abandon a bankable property and will probably dust it back off somewhere down the line – for re-reboot.

It might not be easy to watch our favorite movies and TV shows get recycled through the studio system over and over again, but by accepting that future remakes and reboots are inevitable, fans don’t have to be quite as discouraged when any one particular iteration is a complete misfire. Especially since we’ve also seen plenty of remakes that actually work – when a talented director takes the original premise and delivers a film that all fans (both new and old) can appreciate.

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Don’t Forget: There Are Plenty of Great Remakes & Reboots

Batman Begins Poster Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Hollywood has churned out countless uninspired, cash grab, remakes but there are also a lot of really good ones too – films that both reinvigorated their brand and delivered a solid new chapter in a fan-favorite franchise. Fans might think that the first question a studio should ask before remaking a film or TV property is: “Should this property be remade or rebooted?” Yet, anyone familiar with the entertainment industry knows that question is never going to be a priority – as long as there is potential money to be made.

Instead, the question that really matters is: “What is an inspired approach to remaking this property?” Inventiveness is a key element that, from the very beginning, helps to separate good remakes from bad ones – as writers and filmmakers attempt to both honor what came before while also updating a beloved franchise for a new chapter.  In the last ten years alone we’ve seen successful remakes or reboots in a variety of genres. After Joel Schumacher turned Tim Burton’s gothic-style Batman film franchise into a cartoony mess, Christopher Nolan reintroduced a grounded take on the character (and his villains) in Batman Begins – paving the way for record-breaking box office numbers and critical acclaim. Despite a loving fan community, the Star Trek franchise had struggled for years to regain traction among TV viewers. Instead, Paramount hired J.J. Abrams for a film relaunch – resulting in a brainy reboot that reminded casual filmgoers why Star Trek is cool (without upsetting too many die-hard fans).

Star Trek 21 Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Still, successful remakes aren’t limited to the last decade – and thanks to creative filmmaking, certain moviegoers might even be surprised to find out that some of their favorite “classic” films are actually remakes too.

Check out the list below (just to highlight a few):

  • John Carpenter’s 1982 horror film, The Thing - a remake of Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks’ 1951 The Thing from Another World (based on John W. Campbell’s novel Who Goes There?)
  • Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven in 2001 – a remake of Lewis Milestone’s Ocean’s Eleven from 1960.
  • David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986) – a remake of Kurt Neumann’s The Fly (1958).
  • Martin Scorsese’s 1991 thriller, Cape Fear – a remake of J. Lee Thompson’s Cape Fear from 1962 (based on John D. MacDonald’s book The Executioners)
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey from Duwayne Dunham – a remake of Fletcher Markle’s The Incredible Journey from 1963 (based on the novel by Sheila Burnford).
  • Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983) – a remake of Howard Hawks’ Scarface from 1932.

Paul Attanasio Rewriting Scarface Remake Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

The internet has given us unprecedented access to film productions, allowing us to scrutinizing every minor detail of an upcoming remake, months before it hits theaters. For that reason, it’s become convenient to forget that some of our favorite remakes also took major risks and broke significantly from celebrated originals – drastically changing key characters and story details in an effort to update the premise for modern audiences. Who are we to determine whether a remake is “necessary” or not? Since remakes and reboots aren’t going anywhere, do we really want filmmakers trying to make a “better” version of the same film? Why not celebrate directors and writers for taking risks, trying something different, even if it means they fall short from time to time?

Unless of course, we just want Hollywood to stop bothering with rehashing old stories – and give us something new.

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Forget Remakes and Reboots: What Happened to Originality?

Her 2014 directed by Spike Jonze Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Surprise! Studios are already churning out hundreds of entirely original movies every single year – most moviegoers just don’t bother to seek them out. In fact, annually, after the Academy Award nominees are announced, studios re-release several of the most-celebrated of these original films back into theaters, so that moviegoers who passed on them during their original run have a second chance? Yet, most moviegoers still don’t bother to see them – and that’s only a tiny slice of the numerous, high quality, and original films that are released each and every year.

After two months in theaters, Spike Jonze’ buzz-worthy awards contender Her, arguably one of the most original and ambitious screenplays in years, has made (worldwide) $5 million less than RoboCop did (domestic) in its first week. To be clear, as of the time of this writing, Her took in $23 million globally over 9 weeks, while RoboCop has made $30 million alone in the United States over 5 days (that number jumps to a $100 million total if you include global ticket sales). Obviously, these numbers aren’t entirely cut and dry: Her cost significantly less to make (meaning it will easily turn a profit) but was advertised less and available in less theaters (due to limited demand) – while RoboCop still has work to do before it recoups both production and marketing costs.

nebraska movie bruce dern will forte1 Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

No doubt, knowledgable movie lovers support indie, foreign, and experimental films but it’s hard to blame Hollywood for its interest in revitalizing existing brands – since the studios and producers that green light remakes are also financing a lot of these original films too (original films that only a very small portion of potential moviegoers are actually seeing). In fact, if it wasn’t for a handful of blockbuster studio remakes and reboots, those studios and producers might not even have the money to take risks on original films. Without a doubt, failed remakes also lose studios money from time to time but, if it wasn’t for the risks taken in Batman Begins, which led to over $2.5 billion at the global box office over three films, a Warner Bros. distributed movie like Her might not have been made, or at the very least, given nearly as much exposure.

It might be a hard pill to swallow but even moviegoers that hate seeing their favorite franchises regurgitated through Hollywood still have reason (at least as a necessary evil) to support the idea of remakes and reboots.

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Conclusion

Judge Dredd Anderson Trailer Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

Understandably, we all have soft spots for our favorite movies, TV shows, and entertainment franchises – and there’s plenty of cause to be skeptical when a new remake or reboot is first announced. Yet, for every Rollerball (2002) – that’s both a box office and critical failure, theres a Dredd (2012) – a creative revitalization, or a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) – a forgivable box office smash that adds money to a studio’s indie project coffer.

Not all (if many) remakes or reboots will ever be able to replace the fond memories and experiences that we’ve had with their respective originals; yet, that doesn’t mean that, with the right direction, every remake or reboot has to be viewed as corrupting the legacy of a beloved franchise. Even the lousy ones are an opportunity for fans to draw attention to their preferred iteration – a reminder to support the film or TV show by encouraging others to check it out or purchasing an updated retail copy.

the amazing spider man sequ Why Everybody Should Love Remakes & Reboots

When all else fails: Remember, the time between reboots and remakes has become shorter than ever (with only five years between the release of Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man). Not to mention, more than a handful of film properties have already seen re-remakes – so, even if Hollywood completely ruined one of your sanctified childhood favorites, maybe they’ll get it right next time… in a few years.

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More: The Superhero Movie Costume Debate

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TAGS: batman begins, robocop, scarface, the amazing spider-man

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  1. A fantastic well thought out article that helps put remakes/reboots into perspective. Yeah sometimes they will get it wrong or drift to far off course but re imagining of ideas and stories is not a new thing.
    Thanks for an interesting read Ben

    • There is a fine line between what deserves a Remake and those that deserve to be Rebooted altogether, and it was frequently abused… There is also plenty of original source material yet to be made or remade in its true glory.

      While JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek was mostly original, it squarely placed it in a new timeline explored events as they could have been. While I would have preferred “Into Darkness” to have been Mitchell instead of Kahn, it was well done, and left it off with the start of their 5 year mission with The Cage, Where No Man’s Gone Before, Space Seed, Wrath of Kahn and Search for Spock effectively out of the way. I hope they revisit in greater glory the likes of Trillane or The Kelvan.

      Then you have the Spiderman reboot which should have been a continuation with recasting. They left off Spiderman 3 setting up for Lizard, Venom 2 and aluded to teh Sinester 6. There just wasn’t enough time lapsed between the two to really justify the reboot when the setup was already done. In this case it was abused.

      “Hulk” vs “The Incredible Hulk”, it really wasn’t a reboot so much as a recast and course correction to align it with MCU Avengers, but Norton sucked as Banner where Bana was fantastic – Ruffalo was a complete surprise recast that worked really well and played well off the rest of the cast of Avengers. This should go to show that you don’t need to reboot in order to maintain continuity.

      The Dredd reboot was needed, but they needed a better origin to an extremely niche fanbase. While the reboot was great in my opinion, it jumped directly into the underworld material with little developement or backstory for the uninitiated. I really hope they do more, but that’s going to be a hard sell.

      Nolan’s Batman reboot was much needed after the last couple Adam West like Batman movies. The first Batman with Keaton was well done, but those that followed were horrific. It needed a fresher update and enough time had passed for it to happen. Superman Returns was a fail because the Reeves Superman was passe after the success of “Lois & Clark” and “Smallville” series on TV. Snyder’s Man of Steel was a long overdue, fresh and surprisingly respectful vision of Superman, but now I strongly feel he and Nolan have bitten off more than they can chew by jumping next into Batman vs Superman with forced Justice League introductions. They really should have taken a more patient approach as Marvel did to setup these properties, but WB isn’t known for its patience, especially when it comes to the DC Franchise.

      • Oh, as for original material… Don’t have to look much further than Arthur C Clark, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein. Not only do they still have plenty of yet to be made original material, but they have several that deserve a cinematic overhaul to do their books the justice they deserve.

        Its unfortunate that Ray Bradbury didn’t live to finally see the remake of Fahrenheit 451 that HE always wanted with the Screenplay HE wrote! :-(

        • It won’t happen, but i SO want to see a Zack Snyder film adaptation of Bradbury’s ‘The Long Rain’ as a film experiment. I think that could be such a cool theater experience. An Imax frame filled with water and only four characters. Gah…

  2. im one of the few that doesnt mind remakes and reboots.
    i get excited when i hear that something i really liked is being remade because i really like it. i was the exact same with spiderman, when i heard it was being rebooted i was very happy. i went to see it at the cinema and left really happy. its a good movie.

  3. “Is it an untouchable classic that will hold-up for generations to come? A film that will be just as impactful to die-hard movie fans tomorrow as it was to those in 1987? Not likely.”

    I’d have answered “Yes” rather than “Not likely”.

    I loved the Evil Dead movie from last year because it had similarities to the originals but was different enough to be a standalone thing and was done extremely well and with a lot of love.

    I’m not so forgiving for some remakes though. The Cronenberg version of The Fly was inferior to the original version for example and if I’m going to watch The Ring, The Grudge or other J-horror movies, I’d rather stick with the originals rather than the poor remakes that failed to scare.

    I wouldn’t even call Dredd a remake of the 95 movie either like some people do. It’s more of a “close adaption” of the comics that made Judge Dredd more like the Dirty Harry inspired faceless lawman who only had one setting, one emotion, little personality to speak of that made us all fall in love with the character in the pages of 2000AD all those years ago.

    I guess it depends on the movie being remade or rebooted. I couldn’t find myself liking Robocop or Commando remakes, not just because it will/has ripped the heart and soul from the original and missed the point in why the originals are hailed as classics (one complaint I noticed several British reviewers saying about the Robocop remake) but also because the actors involved won’t be the same.

    Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox are pretty much way up there in terms of movie bad guys, alongside Vernon Wells and David Patrick Kelly in Commando (there was a reworking of the potential Commando sequel that I enjoyed, nice little movie that changed the title character from a former special forces guy called John Matrix to a NY cop called John McClane that took place in the Nakatomi building in LA, pretty good flick and a classic in and of itself).

    Remakes and reboots are also good when you have, say a horrible, cheesy movie that doesn’t hold up well (like Raimi’s Spider-Man movies) and then a guy comes along with a better understanding of the characters to tell the story again with a richer world (as with The Amazing Spider-Man).

    • You know it’s funny you mentioned Raimi’s Spider-Man. Most would consider the SM reboot the perfect example of an unneeded reboot. At least in terms of criteria. The original was loved by millions, it had grossed billions and was well received, mostly, by most fans and critics. I realise from past posts, you feel movies and tv shows are absolutely bad, no execeptions, if you don’t like them and you hate Raimi’s films, but the main reason for the SM reboot was the save money on actors/director. A cash grab.

      And Robocop. A movie you still haven’t seen. Should you be commenting on it? Probably not. But I have. It strives to be different.
      It’s not trying to be the original. It uses themes and ideas in different ways while using already popular characters. To me the perfect reboot. Doesn’t have the dark humour and violence of the original, cause it didn’t need it. As good as the original? No. But again, doesn’t need to be. A different film doing different things . If you want a scene by scene recreation to preserve a movies soul, I say just watch the original again.

      Personally, I look forward to the day some of my favorite franchises get rebooted. Harry Potter, The Last Airbender, Stargate to name a few. I just thought it was funny that you say the movie which presents a new spin on existing material is the bad example while another which was made purely to make more money is good. To each their own, but for the criteria of an unneeded reboot, to me, Spider-Man ticked all the boxes.

      • They also made TASM so that Sony could maintain the rights to the character :) they even mention it in the honest trailer haha

  4. Remakes are never good. Write something original or don’t do anything at all.

    • You didn’t like Dredd? Or any of the Batman movies? I could understand not liking Spider-Man or Star Trek, but it’s a little narrow-minded to say they’re never a good thing.

      • LOL, that’s the biggest argument contradictions I’ve seen from people. They hate reboots/remakes but yet they praise the new Spiderman or Dredd. People can say it’s a better interpretation of the source material or better writing or better visuals but at the end of the day it’s a remake/reboot. I, personally, don’t mind them as long as they present something new to the table.

      • Dredd was like watching someone else play a videogame.

        Nolan’s Batman did work, but then by this point Batman’s been done so often there’s not many who remember the original.

        Spiderman, sorry it was just dull. And the monster graphics made me laugh.

        Star Trek works, but then they worked that into a side universe, so…

      • I’m specifically talking about remakes of movies. Not re-adaptations of source material. For example, the new Carrie. I have no idea if it’s a new adaptation of the book, or a remake of the original. Until I do have said information, I’ll refrain from watching a remake of a perfectly good movie.

  5. Here’ my list of movies that should be rebooted.

    1)The Last Star Fighter (Jaden Smith)

    2)WestWorld – Chris Pratt and Vin Diesel?

    3)Flash Gordon

    4) The Ten Commandments (Done)
    Exodus by Ridley Scott
    Kings and Gods – Spielberg

    5) Whom the gods wish to destroy 1966 film.

    6) Time Bandits

    • I’d add DUNE to that list… I finally want a cinematic take on the entire saga, not just a TV mini-series for the later chapters…

      • Thats the one I was thinking posting these movies that needs reboot!

    • Good lord, not Jaden Smith. He’s a terrible actor who’s only getting roles because of his father (whom I like very much as an actor).

      I’d love to see a modern version of Flash Gordon, though. The SciFi series a few years ago was decent, but short lived. I like the 80′s film, but it definitely can use an update AND a new story. Chris Evans as Flash?

    • Why would you want to remake West World?

      It’s a classic and if it was remade it would all be about the effects and visuals rather than the sense of menace YB brings to the cowboy. Plus it’d have ear bleeding music plastered over it to tell me how to react.

      Also, unless you’re actually Will Smith, why would you stick that frowny lad in a fun film?

      • just because of the new technology we have now if its done right ofcourse!

  6. There are three basic rules for me when it comes to remakes and reboots:

    1 – Remakes need to be NECESSARY. Only if the original franchise is dead or worn-out, a remake should be an option. Batman, 007 and Star Trek needed a reboot, Spider-Man didn’t…

    2 – Remakes need to be FRESH. There’s no use in producing an exact xerox of the original, like Psycho 1998… RoboCop is a brilliant example for a fresh take that really ups the antes…

    3 – Remakes need to be STARTING POINTS…for a new franchise! There’s no sense in rebooting a classic if you’re not willing to create an entirely new franchise with lots of sequels. If the reboot is a dead end, a one-time stint, I’ll pass…

    • I completely agree with you except on #3. While this is true for superheros and 007, some stand alone films deserve a remake. Cape Fear, The Manchurian Candidate (mostly), and Scarface were all good standalone remakes that updated the story in a modern setting. Stand alone films can be remade to bring them into a more relevant setting, but they must have a long layover between films, the shortest I can think of is 30 years.

  7. I wouldn’t necessarily say that we should love remakes and reboots, but I don’t understand why people whine and moan about it so much. If you don’t wanna see it…don’t see it.

  8. This reminds me of a convention panel I was at where C. Robert Cargill of Ain’t It Cool News commented on remakes/reboots. He basically said, “Blame yourself and the people around you,” because movie-goers are the people who throw down money at names we recognize, and fewer yet see the notable independent or “more gutsy” films. Hollywood remakes things because we keep paying for them, and if we paid for more original, innovative movies -more often-, they’d make them more often. But the average movie-goer doesn’t seek it out.

  9. To me, if just depends on the approach towards the remake. Reverence I suppose comes into it but I do not count it as vital if the general direction is leaning towards a different variation on the original story. It is the lazy trend remakes I object to (the one time obsession with remaking every moderately successful J-Horror for example). They invite all manner of deserved cynicism. Indeed, it is almost a middle finger to the audience they are aimed at, but if dumb movies bring in the box office who is really to blame here?

    I have seen three remakes recently that cover all areas:

    ‘Robocop’: Despite its troubled production history, it actually worked. A classic? Nah. But it worked and it was more merited than…

    ‘Oldboy’: A heartless, pointless retread lacking energy and purpose. It had paycheque obligation written all over it.

    ‘We Are What We Are’: The best of the three. Takes the core premise and offers a new spin on it whilst maintaining the heart of the original.

    Now, only one of the three above was looking to kick start a franchise (which explains the schizophrenic nature of what kind of movie it was trying to be). The fact it turned out to be what it was despite the studio mandate is a minor miracle. But most of the time, the mandate and the demographic swamps the project into the ground. No such pressure was on the third example and it showed. ‘Oldboy’ was just dreadful. Aimed at who exactly? No idea.

    So, they can work but they tend to not do so. Everything for me is purely dependent on the intention of those behind the remake.

    • i haven’t seen you comment in a long time, i actually enjoy reading your posts

      • Ah. Just been busy, my friend. A little quieter now.

  10. Been saying the same thing – Tons of classics are remakes of even older classics. Without remakes we would not get Tim Burtons batmans or Nolans Batmans. The tired ol’ Hollywood is running out of Ideas is a tired cliche…while hollywood or the indie scene still puts out probably even more unique films than ever before, but people don’t go out to bother and see them ever. Also another thing people fail to realize, is remakes/re-imaginings doesn’t invalidate the older materials. I can still enjoy Burtons Batmans as much as Nolans and they still show them separately and regularly on tv all the time. There is also another Scarface movie coming out, same themes – low class young guy with ambitions and a scar climbs the ranks and eventually falls, but it’s still essentially a different movies from the Howard Hawks to Robert DePalma as the new one will be Colombian based i believe.

    So the more the merrier, as it does not invalidate the classics, and it does not mean they are not pumping out unique films either. People just want to complain.

  11. I don’t mind remakes and reboots most of the time. Really all that matters is are they good movies. The Amazing Spider Man was better than any of the first three Spiderman movies. I was never much of a Star Trek fan but I enjoyed the first one by Abrahams, though I have not seen the sequel yet. Some things need to be rebooted or remade. For example the upcoming Godzilla film. Batman needed a reboot…though now they’re rebooting him again with Afleck which I feel is a waste. If you could get Speilberg to do a remake of Jaws with updated special effects it would be great. The Evil Dead reboot/remake was good. I’d honestly like to see a reboot of the Predator series…As far as Alien goes I pretend that Aliens was the last sequel and that Prometheus is the only other film connected to it. I wish we could just erase sequels from time to time. The AvP series should just be wiped from our collective memory.

    • ” If you could get Speilberg to do a remake of Jaws with updated special effects it would be great”

      Why?! Why remake it for a couple of shots of a rubber shark?

      A remake would concentrate so hard on the effects they’d forget the plot.

  12. Even though I would be diffently be in the minority. I would love to see a Jaws remake.. The original is a classic for sure. But I would love to see a “Bruce” revamp with the advances in technology.. But only if the shark was still a robot n not cgi

  13. It’s a good argument. but I still believe that there is no good reason to remake the naked gun trilogy

  14. They should remake garbage films from 70s & 80s, not cult classics

    • So Raimi’s Spiderman was considered a “cult classic” by many but when it was remade/rebooted people praised it but when Robocop was being made those same people “are tired of hollywood remakes and reboots”. What about Spiderman? Total contradiction of their argument. A turkey sandwich is still a turkey sandwich no matter what is placed with the sandwich, LOL

  15. Wonderful and necessary article Ben, although you can already pinpoint who read it and who skipped to the comments. Anyway ‘J’ and ‘Ajeno’ I agree. It’s up to viewers to seek out original properties and no matter how much the naysayers complain, remakes/reboots are just a part of entertainment media, the same as book adaptations, and they’ll be here forever.

  16. i was involved in the music industry and the same subject comes up, every song you think is original is a idea from something else, some producers are better at hiding it then others…

  17. Great write-up with a lot of thoughtful points. I’m usually pretty open to remakes and reboots. It’s only disappointing when those movies fail to justify their existence with a lack of new ideas or relevant updates. Even then it’s difficult to get upset about failed redoes when the original versions will always be there for you to watch and enjoy.

  18. Some movies can be remade, some movies can’t, simple as that. The biggest problem is that most remakes just don’t have the same mark on the industry as the originals did. Reboots are usually work because of taking the franchise in a new direction (like Star Trek) and remakes are usually unnecessary and don’t compare to the original (Psycho, for example). Not to say that remakes never work, but more often than not they are simply cash grabs.

    • It’s all based on the directors/writers. Some of them might feel they are taking the franchise on a new direction and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s all a matter of perspective

  19. Generally most things can be remade/rebooted. Sometimes a good idea may not have faired well in the hands of a particualr director, or it was OK but MIGHT be done better, The Last Star Fighter mentioned above is a good example. I still enjoy watching the film, but a good remake wouldn’t hurt. I originaly thought Nolan was crazy to use the Joker in the Dark Knight after jack Nicholson’s performance. Uhhh Guess I was wrong… It just takes a good team of writers, cinemaphotographers and directors to get it right.

  20. Quick disclaimer, I actually agree with this article. That being said, I think the average movie goer’s complaint about “original” movies is that they want some original high concept action films in the same vein as all of the reboots we are receiving. As an example, most want an original movie as good as The Terminator, not a reboot of The Terminator. Most original movies released that this article references are indie or art house productions. Most who complain about the lack of original films are complaining about the lack of original/quality summer blockbuster popcorn flick sort of film such as Jurassic Park, Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Avatar, Inception, etc. We know their are some great original dramas out there, but we want some original movies that take us on wild adventures as well. That’s why superhero films have taken off so much in recent years, that genre is one of few places where high octane action and special effects get paired with great stories and interesting characters.

    • I would tend to agree but then again I don’t want to see the same superhero movie rebooted/remade every decade. I want a superhero movie that is new and supplies someone that was never seen before, i.e. GOTG, Antman

  21. Reboots and remakes are a hit and miss most of the time.

    Bad examples include (but not limited to):
    Godzilla (1998)
    The Music Man

    Those are the only two I can think of that I didn’t like, however some remakes have been good:

    Star Trek
    King Kong
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    The Chronicles of Narnia 1
    Batman

    if it were me remakes I would like to see are:

    Jurassic Park
    The Lost World
    The Polar Express (live action)
    Tangled (live action)
    Frozen (live action)
    Monsters vs Aliens (live action)
    Mulan (live action)

    I know most people don’t think its a good idea but if you really think about it, it could be a pretty good idea. I thought of them and visualized them in my head and I think they would look incredible

  22. Originality doesn’t come from creating something new. Every story to tell has already been told. Originality comes from telling the same old story as if it has never been told before. A reboot/remake can be fresh and exciting. While a lot of indie films can feel like you’ve seen this movie before. Everything is just a repackaged tale of the creator’s favorite kind of tale. What makes it original is the manner in which his tale unfolds. Not the characters, not the circumstances and certainly not the title. ALL movies are cash grabs. It’s just some cash grabs are more entertaining and repackage the tale better than others.

  23. What a fantastic article. I really enjoyed reading it and I’d like to think that I’m less hostile towards reboots after reading it.

    In terms of the poll at the bottom of the article I just want good movies, be they remakes or original IPs. If you wanna remake something just do it well. Put some good people on it, take care with the characters and story whether you make drastic changes to the original or not.

  24. I think the first assertion in the article is somewhat misleading: there has not been a proliferation of remakes in recent years. Cinema has been, from its very inception, constantly involved in remakes and reboots in one for or other. This is most definitely NOT something new to the last decade.

    Otherwise, and excellent article with clear and cogent arguments.

    Personally, I’m sick of hearing people whine about remakes/reboots.
    I’m particularly sick of hearing people talk about how it takes away from the original. Hey, people, the original is still there for you in all of its original glory. Nothing’s changed in it simply because someone made a reboot or remake.

    • Just an additional comment regarding Spike Jonze’s film “Her”… it’s NOT that original, when you realize that a Big Bang Theory episode did the same thing.

  25. I think there should be a reboot/remake every time a fan complains.

    Unrelated, I loved Man of Steel and Robocop was fine.

  26. I tend to feel like remakes/reboots should be taken on a case by case basis. I feel like you can use arguments presented in this article for some remakes/reboots, but not all of them. When you have a more or less shot-for-shot remake like the Psycho one, doesn’t feel like it has any value. At that point you might as well just re-release the movies back into theaters (a recent trend I do support) for a little bit of time, if you want to do things like “reinvigorate interest in the property.”

    But the problem is I think in most peoples minds, hearing the words remake or reboot have an automatic negative connotation to them. Without even knowing anything about what it’ll be like, people resort to their arguments of “oh no more originality in Hollywood anymore” and stuff. The Evil Dead remake last year actually made it into my top 10 of 2013 because it was a really good movie on its own merits and a really good remake to such a great classic.

    These things just need to be taken on a case by case basis, because I don’t think we should be happy about every movie/franchise getting remade/rebooted, but they also shouldn’t all automatically be dismissed.

  27. Aren’t reboots/remakes basically what we are doing with all these comic book films? The movie is remaking the comic?

    It’s a smart move… you have a built-in fanbase, an established brand, and a template for what works and what doesn’t.

    I wouldn’t mind if two of my favorite films get the re-re treatment:

    Commando (with Terry Crews)
    The Princess Bride

  28. A gutsy stance there, Ben. I’ve got your back.

  29. I always said it they should reboot bad movies from the past