Many of us by now have noticed the ONSLAUGHT of reboots which have come our way. Between the incessant Marvel movies and comic book sequels which literally will not stop coming, the millions of Spiderman flicks, not to mention the ridiculous amount of Bond movies (25 to be exact).
Yes, 25 movies about the same man doing the same uber-masculine assassinations and the same women dying for him and the same villains again and again and again. *Sigh* Even Daniel Craig agrees that good old James is a misogynist.
The live-action remakes of every single classic Disney animation, the TV reboots of our favourite characters for no actual reason and the revivals of our childhood bands. It begs the question, is the entertainment industry just profiting off of our nostalgia? Most definitely, yes.
When it comes to the Spice Girls, Westlife or Take That, by all means they are welcomed back with open arms.
Yet, when it comes to cinema, which is literally CRYING OUT for representation and new voices which are demanding to be heard, why are they using the same old formulas?
Art is supposed to be unique, a form of expression. Not recycled like old Halloween costumes that don't fit anymore but you're just gagging to feel 18 again. Back when life was more about what alcohol to buy for pre-drinks and not what bills you have to pay first so you can survive as a full-grown adult. *shudders*
The point is: a new Batman/Joker combo is not cinematic gold, for God’s sake. A new Pirates of the Caribbean written by the Deadpool duo will not shake the earth.
Recent groundbreaking genre favourites such as A Quiet Place, Get Out and Moonlight have pushed the boundaries of cinematic territory and have told stories from new and vital points of view, so why can't Hollywood give more opportunities to scripts, directors and voices like these?
News recently broke that Shrek, one of the most popular animated franchises of all time, is getting a reboot (pause for gasps).
Those of us who grew up with the infamous green ogre and his hilarious sidekick, Donkey, will most likely shudder at the thought of Hollywood studios replacing a beloved film of our youth with a facade, a copy which can never truly replace the original.
Others will delight in the nostalgia of creating more content surrounding the comedic protagonist and his fairytale friends, especially since the man behind the reboot, as well as the revival of Puss in Boots, is Chris Meledandri.
Known as the mastermind of the Despicable Me movies (and creator of the minions, which have literally overtaken the world and internet memes), Meledandri has been tasked by Universal Pictures with finding some fresh storylines to being the lovable ogre into the modern time. I say modern time as if Shrek is donkeys-years old (yes, I made a donkey joke. Deal with it).
Shrek was originally released back in 2001, making it barely 17 years old. While a lot has happened in technology and film-making in this time, does it really seem necessary to bring back a franchise which has really run its course? After all, Shrek the Fourth only entered cinemas in 2010, and left much to be desired.
Studios are so obsessed with maintaining popularity and success of these franchises, that often they completely ruin the essence of what made it loved by audiences in the first place, in this case: comedic integrity.
I mean, a storyline about an ogre defending his swamp in a land of fairytale creatures, voiced by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas and Eddie Murphy? The person who successfully pitched that idea must be incredibly rich by now.
At least Meledandri has the good sense to keep the original vocal performances:
“When you look back on those vocal performances they’re awesome, and while you certainly could make a case for a complete reinvention, I find myself responding to my own nostalgic feelings of wanting to go back to those characterizations,” explains Meledandri.
“The challenge for us has been to find something that really does feel like it’s not simply yet another film in a series of sequels.” Good luck with that, Mr. Director Whose Film Company Has Just Released A Remake Of The Iconic The Grinch. You paint a highly believable portrait.
Hollywood remakes have been saturating cinema over the last decade, and there are arguments to be made for both sides of the tide. If a remake is done right, à la A Star is Born, something special can happen.
This is usually a result of some newfangled aspect of the film however, a tweak or drastic change which brings the piece back to life but also gives it a platform in its own right.
Lady Gaga, for example, plays the role of struggling artist Ally in a way that makes it impossible to compare her to Barbara Streisand. The songs are also freshly crafted, and impactful in their raw energy, partially due to Bradley Cooper’s directorial talent and surprising talent as a singer.
Formerly known as an actor, his transition into musicality and the directorial chair allows the film to reach new heights, as if feels as if we are being introduced to someone who we’ve never really known at all.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has also achieved phenomenal success, however there is next to nothing about the show which resembles its predecessor, and it is stand-alone as a result, especially with its sense of ‘woke’ teen angst which is captured almost to perfection.
Yet the majority of remakes are arguably just major Hollywood studios tapping into the nostalgia of audiences who are ready and willing to return to the cinema seat to catch any glimpse of their favourite childhood character or storyline in action.
Certain remakes adapt the trend with refreshing results; such as the Fargo reboot which was recreated as a mini-series and is widely well-reviewed. An audience is more likely to watch something which they are already familiar with, and if the sense of familiarity is matched with something genuinely unique, truly excellent cinematic gold can occur.
Classics are classics for a reason, and taking the formula and twisting it to adapt to a new generation often leads to disastrous consequences. The remake of Psycho, the Great Gatsby (controversial, most people loved the grandeur of Baz Luhrmann yet the power of the written words were essentially erased) and Footloose, for example, need to die a slow death.
The endless sequels are also a problem, I mean PLEASE learn to leave it alone. Just because the movie was good does not mean it has to be continued and drawn out until the life is sapped out of it.
If there is a new technology, a new actor or actress or director, or scriptwriter who are talented enough to reuse old material and revitalise it, by all means, go ahead. Yet the magic of the true classics cannot be forgotten.
The day the news breaks that the Harry Potter franchise is getting a remake, for example, you will find this writer in a pool of her own tears, echoing the chant; “YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME!” on repeat. Don’t judge. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were the heroes of my youth, the faces which encapsulated the characters I had fallen in love with page by page.
Transforming the series would simply remind me that I am now old enough for my childhood characters to be replaced and made into something new and alien altogether. If they even DREAM of touching perfection like Back to the Future or The Godfather, there will be hell to pay from the ever-protective fanbases.
The love most people harbour for that first spark of a film or character which had never been seen before is difficult to rearrange. There are an infinite number of voices in cinema which have yet to be heard; only now are women gaining access to cinematography, directorial roles, production roles and script-writing responsibilities.
Only now are people of different ethnic backgrounds, diverse economic circumstances, sexual orientations having their voices heard. Can you imagine how many stories they have to tell?
For so long, only the powerful were given the chance to create movies. Creating new formulas which give other people a change to feel represented and tell their own stories would revolutionise cinema.
So before we rush to discuss which man will be chosen as the next Bond, which Disney film will be recreated, or which superhero will once again be given a new face, why not look to those who haven’t been given a face, or a voice in cinema?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the phrase goes, but authenticity is the greatest form of art.