The past decade has seen Hollywood remakes running rampant. They’re like a virus, spreading every day & squeezing the life out of audiences. Don’t get me wrong because I am not opposed to the concept of a remake… I just reckon that certain consideration ought to be given. They've existed for eons... Hell, even Hitchcock was remaking his own movies.
My biggest problem with the recent spate of remakes is that they’re systematically erasing history. Some very important films have been remade and for each one there's a new audience of kids who will probably never know of the originals. A good example of this was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). When this was released in my video store most of the kids renting it had NO IDEA that Tobe Hooper’s original even existed. This was cause for concern. The original TCM is a monumental film and possibly one of the most influential of the past 50 years. It reinvented an entire genre, it changed the way people looked at cinema and forged a path for filmmakers to come…. It stands alone and I don't see any valid reason (other than money) to remake it.
And so I want to impose 3 of my own unwritten rules when it comes to remaking movies. Studios take note:
1) If the original film holds a legacy or a big significance in our culture, then it should not be touched.
Some culprits of this are: Psycho, Rear Window, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Planet of the Apes, City of Angels, Get Carter, The Wicker Man, Nightmare On Elm St… and so on. You get the point.
2) If the film in question has poorly dated, is widely unknown or was received poorly then it CAN be remade.
Some examples of this rule are: The Thing, True Grit, Scarface, Cape Fear, The Fly, 3:10 To Yuma, Red Dragon, The Departed… and so on.
3) Reboot instead of remake and work it so that the film acts as a continuation at the same time.
A good example of this was the Friday The 13th reboot and Piranha 3D. Both films established a story which acts as a spring board for newcomers to the series and all the while maintaining a credible continuation of the original series.
So as you can see there IS room for Hollywood to remake old films. The problem is that they’re not remaking the right ones. Instead they are pumping out carbon copied movies that insult (rather than honour) their original counterparts. As each generation comes along those old films are forgotten and legacies are lost.
Perhaps you think I am being a drama queen, or maybe you agree with me? Whatever the case I would love to know what you think and perhaps hear what kind of rules you think need to be set!
Have you noticed that kids are getting softer? Of course I'm getting older and that whole “when I was you're age” thing is kicking in... during the 80s there was no closer relationship than that of my mum's wooden spoon and my arse.... these days that's child abuse. Weekends saw me out the door at first light and I only came home for lunch... these days its about loafing on a couch and playing video games. To venture outside is a real effort for heaps of kids these days.
And what ever happened to kid movies? Gone are the days of genuinely enthralling adventures, excitement and suspense. Remember going to the movies when you were a kid and seeing the Goonies being chased by gun wielding maniacs? Or how about feeling the sheer terror of G'mork (the ferocious wolf) in The Neverending Story? Add to that list, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and countless others.
The world had changed since then... we are faced with war, poverty, terrorism and climate change on a daily basis. The world is a scary place to raise a child right!??
I believe kids are far too protected from some of life's more important lessons. We teach them about love and compassion and yet we shelter them from fear and sadness. I believe these are two fundamentally important aspects to a well balanced upbringing.
Family/kids movies are a large part of my video store's demographic. Mums come in looking for a quick fix to shut their kids up. It is amazing how many parents shelter their kids from anything that's borderline scary (even Scooby fucking Doo). One mother told me last week that her belief is that “we need to keep them kids for as long as possible” and with that her 10 year old daughter was too frightened to even look at dvd covers such as Aliens In The Attic or Jumanji. Thats some seriously disturbing shit if you ask me. Must we wrap our kids in cotton wool?
Over the past decade the quality of kids flicks has degenerated dramatically. These days the studios are pumping out carbon copy movies like Madagasca, The Wild, Over the Hedge and Surf's Up… and they get away with it because today's kids are nonethewiser and protected from the important stuff.
Of course there are exceptions and I have seen some brilliant family films over the past few years but sadly the majority of them slip right under the radar (Mirrormask, Millions, Seconhand Lions, Alabama Moon.. etc).
It's time to toughen kids up. Let 'em eat dirt and let 'em have nightmates and don't stress about the short term consequences. You're the parent and it's your job to nurture these fears... but trust me, in the long term the kids will be stronger for it!