Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remakes, Reboots, and Prequels - Cinema of the 21st Century

Just recently, Hollywood announced they were remaking Dirty Dancing. While this does not come as a surprise to me, the fact that Hollywood is remaking Dirty Dancing really got me thinking. Is anything sacred anymore? And how far is too far?

It seems every week, Hollywood announces they are remaking, rebooting, reimagining, or rethinking some old classic that we cinemagoers hold near and dear to our hearts. At this point, I have become numb to this trend and accept it as a way for Hollywood to make money. After all, remakes are nothing new to Hollywood. Hollywood has been remaking movies almost as long as they have been making movies. Some remakes have been great; both Mutiny on the Bounty remakes and Little Shop of Horrors come to mind. Then you have a downright awful remake like the 1998 remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho.

In 1999, when George Lucas released the first of his Star Wars prequels, who knew that this new trend would take off the way it did. Now if it’s impossible for your new hit movie to have a sequel, that’s okay, just make a prequel. If you think about it, Red Dragon is a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs while at the same time being a remake of the much superior Manhunter. Then that would make Hannibal Rising a prequel to a prequel of a remake. Or a reboot? Who knows? Let’s not forget the prequel to the remake or reboot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that came out a few years ago.

Reboots are also a new trend in Hollywood. This all started with the reboot of the Batman franchise in 2005 with Batman Begins. This, of course, makes sense. Outside of Tim Burton’s excellent, and unfortunately now dated Batman, the character of Batman had been completely bastardized and humiliated on screen to the point where the Batman impersonator running around on Hollywood Boulevard had more credibility.

Rebooting the Batman franchise was a brilliant idea. Who knew that the origins of Batman could be so fascinating and gripping? Its sequel, The Dark Knight, emerged last year as the biggest superhero film of all time. With its dark tone, provocative themes, and the serious handling of the source material, The Dark Knight is now seen as a new high standard to which all new superhero franchises will aspire to meet. With that came the decent reboot of The Incredible Hulk and, of course, the immensely popular reboots of the Star Trek and James Bond franchises.

Of course, for every Batman Begins, we now have to suffer with reboots of Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and proposed reboots like Superman, Fantastic Four, Robocop, Mad Max, and yes, even The Crow. So, I guess if your big, tent-pole summer movie fails, don’t worry, just reboot it a few years down the line.

The bottom line for Hollywood is money, and these countless prequels, reboots, and remakes are making a lot of it. Why should Hollywood stop?

I’m not opposed to some of these remakes and reboots. Some of them are pretty good. But to remake nearly every single successful franchise of the past few decades is ludicrous. Years from now, when someone is asked what were some of the most successful horror movies of this decade, they will likely mention the very unique Saw and Final Destination. Then they will probably mention The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and Friday the 13th. What were some of the most successful horror movies of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s? The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and Friday the 13th. I just hope that twenty years from now, the most successful horror films will not be the same ones. At that point, a significant part of our cinema history will just be a copy of a copy of a copy - kind of like the Michael Keaton movie, Multiplicity, where he cloned himself three times. Those of us who saw the movie all know what happened with that last clone.

A remake of Dirty Dancing is crossing the line, even by Hollywood standards. Dirty Dancing has grown into a cultural phenomenon and is a timeless classic. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey were born to play those roles in the same way Marlon Brando was born to play The Godfather. The music, the time, and the feel of that movie cannot be recaptured. And we all know what happened when Hollywood tried to make a prequel with Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

So, what’s next? Ben Affleck starring in a reboot of The Godfather? Oh, the horror. . .the horror...

No comments:

Post a Comment