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Have Remakes Made Hollywood Lazy?

Submitted by on April 28, 2010 – 10:32 am3 Comments

A Nightmare On Elm Street gets the remix treatment when it hits theaters this Friday, April 30. With so many films—including notable horrors such as Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Last House On The Left—getting remade, you’ve got to wonder if Hollywood is doing the right thing or have they simply run out of ideas.

Over the past few years, American cinema has made a habit of remaking old films, remaking a film from overseas or turning comic books into movies. This year may see the biggest surge of swipes ever. Do a quick search on Google for remakes in 2010; the results are staggering.

Remakes of films such as Tron, The Karate Kid, Footloose, Wall Street and the aforementioned A Nightmare On Elm Street are already on their way. Word is The Last Dragon, Conan The Barbarian, Private Benjamin and Police Academy are also getting remade. Let’s not forget that the television series A-Team is also scheduled to hit theaters this spring.

A few years ago, Hollywood was busy snatching from Asian cinema with titles such as Dark Water, The Ring, The Grudge, One Missed Call and others. There were also several films, done overseas years ago, that were either remade or simply brought over and edited—Brothers (Brodre), High Tension (Haute Tension), The Departed (Infernal Affairs) and Quarantine (Rec), among others. Comic book adaptations such as The Losers, Watchmen, Wanted and Kick Ass also hit the silver screen in the past few years. It really makes you wonder if Hollywood can ever come up with an original screenplay.

Perhaps our connection to the innovative 80’s won’t allow us to let go of what many of us grew up on. Maybe we want to share with the next generation all of the great films we had. There’s always the question “What If?” when it comes to movies having the proper technological advances. Movies like Tron will no doubt look amazing thanks to the enhancement of special effects and CGI.

Hollywood also takes advantage of the “built in” audience that an older film has. The box office is certain to be stuffed with dollars courtesy of those who enjoyed the original and are curious if the remake will be just as good or better. It is far less risky to take advantage of a familiar title than to take a chance with a new script that may not mesh with moviegoers.

Oftentimes a remake leaves a lot to be desired. All the special effects in the world mean absolutely nothing when the story has been tinkered with and ruined. Adaptations from overseas such as The Grudge and Dark Water were rewritten, but simply could not live up to the original. The same can be said for films like Last House On The Left and Friday The 13th.

Simply put, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The actors who made the originals great are attached to the character more than the film itself. It’s rather hard to see anyone except Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger or anyone other than Mr. T as B.A. Baracus in The A-Team. How could anyone but Ralph Macchio be Daniel LaRusso and bust a crane kick in The Karate Kid? Who other than Taimak would  be worthy of the “glow” in The Last Dragon?

It’s hard to argue that Hollywood is far less innovative than it was back in the 80′s. It’s going to be difficult for the next wave of filmmakers to remake a film that has already been remade. But unfortunately, that is exactly what we are going to see when looking at the new millennium’s early films.

It would be no surprise to see a box-office backlash on the Hollywood remake sooner than later. Maybe then we could see more original concepts and screenplays (i.e. Avatar). But as long as the box office shows moviegoers continue to support rehashes, the film studios will continue to sit their lazy butts on the piles of money gained from these remakes.

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