Editorials,  Movies/Entertainment

Hold on Hollywood…There’s No Fool-Proof “Remake Formula”

In light of the recent success of the remake of The Karate Kid, I thought I would take this time to give it credit for beating the remake odds. Those are the odds that say a film won’t succeed when the predecessor was so amazingly original and thought to be untouchable. Well, (as I have come to learn) times change and sometimes they don’t age well. Certain films do, in fact, need an update or a refreshing to keep a valid story alive. I admit I was one of the fuming masses crying out “Why?” when it was announced but since then have let some hatred subside. After seeing it I also have to say that nostalgia aside, the movie was a worthy remake and in some ways better than the original. I know, I was shocked too!

Seeing the movie, I have to say it was more fun than I expected it to be (it was OK but I just didn’t feel it deserved a proper review). I will agree that sometimes it’s not as blasphemous as originally thought to remake a film…but not everything needs or deserves one. Let’s make that clear from the get-go. Kid got extreme criticism when it was announced and resistance was still pretty solid until a few months ago. But while this was in fact a winner, Studios, please hold your horses and don’t let success get the better of you. This is not a sign that all bets are off. While many people probably secretly want to see things they grew up with remade, let it stay just an idea because what looks good on paper, doesn’t always become a success in when you have the finished product. Now in the past I read a great opinion about remakes on The Movie Blog. John brings up some great points and it’s a great read.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Hollywood seems to think they can remake something and make it  sooo much better because they use computer graphics or they get the latest/most talented actor to star in the film. Now, I’m not singling out any remake in particular, and I’m not saying every one of them is doomed to failure, but just because you can remake something doesn’t mean you should.  If the first movie was a disaster then a remake could be a good idea if the premise is right and the delivery could be better. But I like the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it“. Theoretically you can remake of  anything but from the list of hits and misses that I’ve seen, useless remakes of films that ‘worked’ (key word here) are bad ideas, period. It sure takes a hell of a lot to beat the original and doesn’t happen often.

To me, if a sequel isn’t going to work, then why should a remake work? In my opinion, films like The Sixth Sense and Lost in Translation don’t need a sequel OR a remake. They’re solid movies (and I think Hollywood knows that which makes them, like Casablanca, immune). It bugs me cinematically (and nostalgically) when rumors arise about remakes for good movies that are still vacant from rental shelves because they are good movies.  People want to see them…end of story.

The success of The Karate Kid was, in some ways, an anomaly. It could have very easily been utter crap to which I had prepared the following sentence, “I’m not going to pay $12 to see this Jaden Smith remake of Karate Kid when I already paid $10 for the DVD of the classic “original“. This time I ate my words but I don’t expect lightning to strike twice very often. But what do you all think? Do you detest remakes? Or are you game for the movie if certain elements are right? Does anyone think CGI and fresh coat of paint can fix the short-comings of an older film?


  • Castor

    The main attraction of remakes for Hollywood studios is that they have a certain “built-in” fan base. Instead of starting from complete scratch, they already have people who will see the remake just because of sheer nostalgia. This is just a symptom of Hollywood trying to go for the “Formula” blockbuster as seen this summer. Thankfully, this has been a resounding failure and let’s hope they learn their lesson and we see more creative material down the road.

    • Marc

      Yeah it’s easier for the studios to put their money on a “safe bet” than something that doesn’t have that audience awareness. I mentioned briefly in my post about trilogies.

      But with movies like Shrek 4 just not helping but hurting the series, and ultimately the overall all year’s box office receipts, I think new ideas will be on the horizon as opposed to their method with is like trying to ride a dead horse to the finish line.

  • Heather

    One word to me: Poltergeist

    The idea of remaking this film is movie blasphemy to the point that it makes me want to cry. It is sacred in it’s genre and is still one of the best made and most psychologically terrifying movies ever. All special effects will do it is dumb it down and take away the scary. I thought this was one of the immune.

    But I see your point, there are times when remakes have something new and positive to offer, though I believe it’s the exception rather than the rule.

    • Marc

      Now that’s an icon Heather. I’d say that’s 100% immune and would add Exorcist as well. Nothing worked as good as those two did in their first installments.

      Poltergeist was so creepy and ahead of it’s time. And you’re right, when it’s done CG as opposed to practical, it loses that real feeling…hell if the actors aren’t scared then how can the audience be, right?;P