The Complexities of Movie Remake Culture

Sarah Grace Goolden
Opinions Editor

Yes, it is exciting to see childhood favorites reimagined in a realistic and whimsical way that Walt Disney couldn’t even fathom. Technology and advancements in movemaking allow directors and actors new twists on movies we all know and love. The risk, though, is just that: these are movies that we all know and love and it is hard to overpower nostalgia. 

Walking into a movie theatre right now is like being transported to my childhood. There’s the long-awaited sequel, The Incredibles 2. The Lion King, Aladdin and Dumbo are being reconceptualized with CGI that is only a little terrifying. One can rest assured that as long as there is a screen to watch it on, there will be a DC or Marvel comic book adaption. The nights spent following along to America’s favorite superheroes are now the reason for billion dollar industries. In a way, that makes sense.

Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion but more than that, it is a very profitable emotion to exploit. We look to the past with rose-colored glasses to remember a time when we weren’t bogged down with our problems today. Often, this leads to forgetting about the problems we were bogged down with at the very time we’re reminiscing of. Childhood, which seems a hundred years away for most people, was a time without bills and jobs and daily adult stress. It’s no wonder why people get so excited for remade childhood movies; it reminds us of a simpler time. 

The entertainment has latched onto that concept and has been milking it ever since. How many Batman adaptions are there? Literally, there are 16 movies, 11 TV series, one board game, 12 video games and one Broadway play. Batman was first introduced in 1939 and even 80 years later, he’s still one of the biggest movies of the year. 

In some ways, that’s a great thing. Without the Batman from the 1940’s, we wouldn’t have the Christopher Nolan trilogy or Suicide Squad, both of which are loved by a lot of people. The fantastic 1925 novel The Great Gatsby was remade in 1974, 2000 and 2013 and now never has to be touched again because Leonardo DiCaprio did an amazing job.

The caveat to that is that it probably will be touched again, just like countless other masterpieces that absolutely do not need a reboot. There has been talk of remaking the 1987 classic The Princess Bride, which I think is ridiculous. However, that movie is the result of turning a book into a movie. Remake culture is not a new thing.

That’s why taking on remake culture is tough. On one hand, it allows older ideas to be reinvented into amazing, creative works of art. Other times, it’s just making money off of someone else’s idea. I think that’s the most frustrating part of remake culture. These movies and TV shows, even when they are changed, are not original ideas. 

I want new characters and new adventures and just something I haven’t seen before. It seems every time I go to the movie theatres, it’s just another version of something I’ve already seen. A lot of people share this sentiment and are saying “seen it, give me something else.”

However, is there really anything else to give us? Every movie and TV show and book and play we consume is just a reassembling of character archetypes and plots we steal from Shakespeare plays and the bible. When you strip entertainment down to the bare bones, way past the dialogue and editing and camera shots, we are left with only a few basic storylines that writers just add detail to. 

In conclusion, making movies is hard and it is a lot easier and more profitable to spin off of another work than come up with your own. Also, The Princess Bride should not be remade.

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