Remakes and Reboots…Just why?


Beneath a string of remade horror films, like Rings (2017), and IT (1990 and 2017), and a plethora of live action Disney blockbusters, like Cinderella (2015) and Beauty and the Beast (2017), lies a long list of upcoming remakes and reboots of beloved classics.

Remakes can inject a classic with a sense of modernity that makes it accessible to an entire new generation. Yet, some classics are better left untouched by money monster production companies who often miss the artistic point of reboots, instead using the prestige of the original to drive audiences to the cinema.

Let’s start with the handful of 80s and 90s classics that probably should have been left untouched…

1. Dirty Dancing (1987, 2017)

Musical TV Movie Event. Is it really necessary? The original film is a chick flick classic and is still praised forty years after its initial release.

Not all the reviews are terrible, though. Some agree there are just enough changes to set it apart from the original. The adaptation has been extended, allowing for some development of background characters, specifically Baby’s family, and supposedly addresses the time period more accurately.

Still, the famous quote ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner’ has started circulating again, the biggest protest to the remake’s very existence.

2. Overboard (1987, 2018)

Another 80s classic that doesn’t need to be remade. Lucky for us, Anna Faris is making sure the upcoming remake is easily distinguishable from the original. The characters’ roles will be reversed, so instead of the spoiled heiress who falls overboard, winds up with amnesia and is taken in by a struggling father, this time, it will be a spoiled playboy, who is convinced by a struggling single mother that he is her husband.

In all honesty, this is probably the best way to approach a remake of a film like Overboard. Hopefully, this complete reimagining of the characters will work well and possess the same comedic entertainment as the original.

3. Ghostbusters (1984, 2016)

Yes, it came out last year, and yes, a lot of people have seen it by now, but it’s still a reboot that probably didn’t need to happen.

On the plus side, the plot was renewed and the characters, now all women, brought a new dimension to the classic. Unfortunately, the film’s ideas of ‘comedy’ bordered on stupidity, especially with Chris Hemsworth’s performance as the daft assistant.

4. Point break (1991, 2015)

This remake truly did amount to nothing. The original plot felt buried by the over-the-top action scenes. The movie is supposed to be daring and adrenaline filled, but it didn’t open with perilous motorbike stunts or contained extensive mountaineering and snowboarding scenes like the original. In fact, there are only a couple of surf-related scenes, which is a pretty prevalent part of the original film.

The remake places its focus more centrally on the spiritual connections between the gang of extreme sportsman and Mother Nature, hence the ever-increasingly reckless stunts. It takes the characters’ wild lifestyle to a whole new extreme, with more fights, extremities and out of hand parties, but in turn sacrifices their connections, betrayals and emotional depth to produce some rather bland and pointless storylines.

Eighties classics aren’t the only ones being unnecessarily exploited, though. For some reason, Hollywood has decided rebooting magical, childhood classics is a good idea as well. I only have one thing to say about that: just why?

1. Mary Poppins (1964)

What could ever compare to the originality, magic and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ness of the 1964 film? I wouldn’t have thought a sequel was the way to go, but it deserves a chance.

The reboot, Mary Poppins Returns, is set for release at the end of 2018. The film still features Jane and Michael Banks, as adults in 1935 London. The magical nanny returns when Michael’s family suffers a personal loss, and his three children need some wonder and joy.

While the original was ‘practically perfect in every way’, it’s hard to say whether the upcoming sequel will recapture the magic and mischief of the original film, and too early to judge. Personally, I want to give it a chance.

2. Jumanji (1995, 2017)

The promos are bad enough, and the movie doesn’t even come out until December. It looks like a total payout, and if it is, that’s just slightly more forgivable. Still, Jumanji is a classic. It remains, even twenty-two years after its initial release, a unique masterpiece. The original film has a lot to offer, with its imaginative, thrilling, humorous and (kind of) scary storyline. So far, there are not many high hopes for the sequel.

But all is not lost, yet. The upcoming film is set to follow a group of teenagers into the world of the video game Jumanji, where they become their avatars. The jungle world is supposed to correlate with the alternate reality Alan Parrish is transported to in the original movie. He even serves as a guide to the gamers, the jungle cottage he left behind, after his twenty-six years trapped inside the game, anchors the sequel’s modern take on the original story.

So, here’s hoping Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and its all-star cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, at least do the story justice.

Another variety of remakes and reboots that are slowly getting out hand are the overdone franchises. In some cases, there are so many of these movies, it’s hard to keep track of the order.

1. Star Wars (1977-83, 2015-2017)

Continuing the story? Great. Rebooting the series and roping in a whole new generation of Star Wars fans? Double great. Spin-offs? I’m not complaining. Rogue One was awesome and you can never really get enough of the droid humour, but I do have to wonder about the Han Solo movie.

The release of The Force Awakens marked the beginning of the series’ third trilogy. The series began with A New Hope in 1977, was picked up again in 1999 with the release of the prequels, and then again in 2015 before the Rogue One spin-off last year. Each installment has been received with varying success. The initial films have gone down in history as timeless classics and the two most recent films smashed the Box Office, but the prequels receive a lot of flak and are often entirely disregarded by Star Wars fans. I guess the question is, how many films are yet to come, and will they all be as great as The Force Awakens and Rogue One?

This year marks forty wonderful years since lightsabres, the Millennium Falcon and R2-D2 hit the screens, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be leaving anytime soon. The next film, The Last Jedi, is set to hit cinemas at the end of the year.

2. King Kong (1933, 1976, 2005)

King Kong was originally brought to the screen during the early days of the ‘horror’ genre and was amongst some of the first films of its kind to employ sound. It has since been reproduced, in some form or another, at least once every decade since. The latest reboot, Kong: Skull Island, came out this year, and the list of upcoming films doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter.

With such similar movies as Planet of the Apes (1968) and Godzilla (1954), which have been equally exploited over the years, the theme and plot of these stories have kind of grown old. The most recent reboots of these films include this year’s War of the Planet of the Apes, and 2014’s latest Hollywood remake of Godzilla. I’d just like to know how all three stories are still going, eighty years later.

So, this last category’s not that big of a deal. Who isn’t loving the cinematic expansion of the DC and Marvel universes? But let’s be real, some of them really don’t need another remake or reboot.

Spiderman (1967, 2002, 2012, 2017)

We’re on our third Spiderman this century. Need I say more? Yes, every one of them has been different, followed a different plot line and re-created Peter Parker in a totally different light, but let’s hope Tom Holland is the last Spidey, at least for a while.

Not that I’m complaining. I can’t wait to see Spiderman: Homecoming next month, and I love The Amazing Spiderman, but there’s no necessity to re-create it again, is there? It can end with the Avengers storyline, can’t it?

Like most comic book heroes, Spiderman has been around for a while, the original TV series aired in 1967. It was repeatedly rebooted as a TV show throughout the 70s and 80s, before Tobey Maguire stepped up in 2002. Now, it’s up to Sony and Marvel to do it justice and bring some conclusion to Peter Parker’s story.

Batman (1966, 1989, 2005)

Affleck, Bale, Clooney, West, Keaton…they’re just some of the biggest A-listers who have played Batman over the years. The first Batman film came about in 1966 and has since been reproduced every few years with TV shows, sequels and reboots.

With the recent recreation of the DC Universe Batman has been dragged from the shadows again to feature in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, and the upcoming Justice League movie. This is amidst the release of The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) and 60s TV series reboot Batman: Return of the Crusaders (2016).

Like Spiderman, this superhero’s story has to end sometime and, like Spiderman, should that be with this Justice League film?

From 80s classics to timeless wonders, it seems everything is in danger of being remade or rebooted. While some might reignite the magic, or inspire a whole new generation of fans, some cherished films are in danger of ruination at the hands of cringe-worthy remakes and others are just getting tired. Whatever the case, I know which of these movies I can’t wait to see, and which I’ll probably miss.


One response to “Remakes and Reboots…Just why?

  1. what’s most interesting about “Point Break” (1991) is how it subverts the conventional hero-villain dynamic. Johnny Utah is a pretty terrible FBI agent who makes one mistake or bad decision after another and spends most of the movie getting outsmarted or outfought by Bodhi, yet without Bodhi ever being transformed into some kind of anti-hero. It’s made very clear that whatever personal good qualities Bodhi may have, he is a bad guy who puts others at risk to serve his own selfish ends. It’s a much more nuanced and sophisticated take on its good guy and its bad guy than is normal for this kind of melodrama.
    While not a huge hit, “Point Break” was one of those motion pictures that spawned a continuing devotion, which made it no surprise when they decided to foist a remake on us 24 years later. And sadly, it’s also no surprise that “Point Break” (2015) is one of those films where nothing much works and the whole thing is far less entertaining than it should be.


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