Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rejection of Regurgitation, Part 03

When the mass-remake craze started, the money came rolling in. How, however, not so much. Remakes have become old hat at best, and an obvious show of studio/producer laziness at worst. Why bother coming up with an original idea when there's some obscure (cult) classic out there waiting to be raped, pillaged, and run through the CGI grinder? A simple formula for success, in the eyes of the film industry, has become one that's run its course and possibly even doomed to failure because of a glaring oversight.

In many instances, filmmakers and executives pass off their dreaminess for cash as intention to re-tell "a classic story". Being real careful with that definition would serve some of these self-serving executives well lest they look like fools (or are we a little late?). A "classic story" is one so ingrained in to the public consciousness because it retains universal elements that allow people of all races, creeds, and ages to identify with it, allowing numerous versions and re-tellings without the story losing its luster. There are really only a relative handful of stories that fit this criteria - A Christmas Carol, Grimm's Fairy Tales, most of Shakespeare's output...things like that could fit.

Neither The Crow or Nightmare on Elm Street are "classic stories". Nor is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or so many other examples that have been mined. That doesn't mean they can't be retold, sure, but it takes more than a slick face lift to give it any life or a valid reason that people will want to go see it. Of course, that brings out another excuse for updating movies - the desire to use new technology on them, thereby dragging them in to the new millennium by the hair like a caveman scoring a mate. The added bonus in doing so is the tired adage of "introducing a classic to a new generation." By lumping all these excuses together, movie studios give themselves a built-in justification for remaking virtually anything they want.


And we'll get in to why next time.

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