Our resident film nut Mark Coughlan is fed up with movie remakes...
Here’s a nice story – in 2014, Gary Graham was working at an Apple store when he posted his original screenplay online for the world to peruse. The global movie fans took notice, notably those in Hollywood, and Graham’s script A Garden At The End Of The World was purchased by Warner Brothers.
Now, if the story ended there (or at least with the creation of the subsequent film), I wouldn’t be fussed. Kudos to the lad for his big break and all that. But what happened next is where my disdain comes in. Noticing enough similarities between Graham’s tale and that of 2007 Will Smith-led flick I Am Legend, studio execs decided Graham could rewrite his script and make it fit their vision. Lo and behold, a fresh new I Am Legend is on the way (without Smith, by the way). For fu…
To clarify, I’m not totally against remakes. Ocean’s Eleven; Scarface; The Maltese Falcon – all remakes, all better than the originals. Heck, even the new Magnificent Seven looks half-decent (if not better than the original). My problem, though, is why they have to be labelled the same. There’s already a Magnificent Seven in the world, why can’t this one just be a cowboy story with a different headline? And what’s wrong with just making A Garden At The End Of The World if you like the script? Hollywood is so scared to greenlight anything that isn’t a ‘pre-sold title’ (a franchise or film title that comes with an already-formed fanbase) that originality is dying a death.
We live in a nostalgia-heavy era, but it’s an era where artists with something unique and interesting to say are sidelined. The pre-sold titles get all the money, and the quality of these offerings is often well below the original – but who cares as long as the takings add up, right?
An article on Mashable explains that 122 remakes were released between 2003 and 2012, and their average critic score on Rotten Tomatoes was just 46%.
The original offerings, by comparison, accounted for an average critic score of 78% by comparison – and yet the box office takings for the remakes came in somewhere north of $12billion. Churn a remake out, and the fans of the original will flock to cinemas, despite being disappointed time and time again.
Sticking with the online features, uber-nerd site Den Of Geek has an ongoing list of films currently undergoing the ‘remake’ process. Guess how many there are?
108. One hundred and eight films. That’s insane. How can more than 100 film remakes have been greenlit?
Cabin Fever came out in 2002, and a version was released this year FROM THE SAME SCREENPLAY. You what?
I even understand remaking of movies with the improved CGI touches that modern movie magic can add – I don’t love it, but I understand it – but a brief scroll through the current Den Of Geek list makes for some horrible reading:
Police Academy; Short Circuit; The Naked Gun; It; Splash; Nightmare On Elm Street (which has already been remade once in 2010!); and one of my favourite films, Memento.
Memento! Why would you remake an amazing film like that? When a film has such a brilliant script acted out to perfection, and even comes with an amazing twist, where is the logic in remaking it? I know for a fact I’m not going to enjoy that remake – and no doubt I’ll be first in the queue at the cinema to see just why. Screw you, Hollywood!