Remakes - Evolution of film or lazy cash grabs?
To celebrate the release of 'Flatliners', a remake of the 1990 psychological horror of the same title, I'm going to delve into the argument of whether remakes are part of the ever-continuing evolution of film or just lazy ways for studios to make money. It seems that in the last few years, Hollywood has been obsessed with remaking films. I reviewed 'Beauty and the Beast''s live action remake earlier this year and although I enjoyed that film, I did find myself questioning why the making of it was entirely necessary. To date, the live action remake of the tale of Belle and the Beast has made over $1.2 billion worldwide, so financially it has clearly been in Disney's best interests. However, it was heavily criticised for being overly similar to the original and therefore an unnecessary endeavour to venture upon aside from financial gain.
Other recent Hollywood remakes and reboots have been met with various levels of love and hate. These include Tom Cruise flick 'The Mummy', a remake of 'The Magnificent Seven', the disastrous 'Ben-Hur' remake and a reboot of 'The Ring', all of which were given predominantly negative reviews from critics. On the other hand, there have been remakes and reboots that have been incredibly critically acclaimed and well loved. 1932's 'Scarface' was remade in 1983 starring Al Pachino to much success. 1960's 'Ocean's Eleven' was remade in 2001 with excellent performances and international acclaim. For me, the film that single-handedly justifies the existence of remakes and reboots is the J.J. Abrams directed take on 'Star Trek' that came out in 2009. It's in my top 5 favourite films of all time.
That does not mean, unfortunately, that this recent trend of remakes and reboots hasn't gone too far in Hollywood. With remakes of classics such as 'Mary Poppins' and 'Jumanji' on the horizon, it is tough to decide whether Hollywood is just making these for the sake of it now. Plus, there are some films that should never be remade. Personally, if anyone tries to remake 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'Back To The Future' in my lifetime, I'll burn down the studio myself.