It was apparently a slow news day over at THR yesterday because Steven Zeithchik and Borys Kit take another look at the increasing remake trend that grips Hollywood. Regular LiC readers will know that I’m no fan of remakes, and yet sometimes I wonder “what’s the harm?” If I don’t like them, I don’t have to see them. In fact the semi-recurring Studio Pinheads feature has been basically suspended because there are really only so many ways to point out the lack of creativity in mainstream Hollywood before it starts becoming a joke in and of itself.
The THR piece doesn’t really shed any new light on a topic that has even become boring for me, but they do pepper it with some interesting anonymous quotes from assorted studio stooges. It’s kind of fascinating to hear their justifications.
Speaking about how it’s simply easier to get a recognized property set up at a studio, one producer says “If you’re trying to get a movie made now, you can push the rock up a mountain or you can push it on flat ground and most of us would rather push it on flat ground.” It’s good to know there are people in the system eager to do the heavy lifting to get something fresh and creative made, isn’t it?
Another executive talks about the ease with which remakes can be sold to audiences. “For original movies, you need to advertise the idea, the story — it’s about convincing people that it’s worth seeing. With something that is branded, no education is required.” Yes, we need more movies that will appeal to docile, lazy, unthinking audiences. After all, they might get bored watching The Bachelor and morons have the right to entertainment too, don’t they?
Eric Newman, co-head of Strike Entertainment (the company that remade George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and is working on The Thing and They Live) defends the practice saying, “I don’t think it means we are out of ideas. I think these movies are great stories, and great stories are told over and over again.” This is true of course. Shakespeare lifted his plots from everywhere, but then he took them and did a funny thing: he made them his own using his unique gift for language. Besides, he wasn’t doing it just because it’s easier to sell an audience on yet another story about a depressed Danish prince.
With the current batch of remakes, it doesn’t have anything to do with retelling an interesting story. In so many stooge words, it’s all about being easier – easier to make and easier to sell. Being good isn’t even in the equation. For me, that’s a bigger problem than a lack of originality. A remake is a shortcut to the bottom line. Some of them turn out great, but most are completely pointless and forgettable.
Filed under: Opinion