Remakes and re-releases. Two things that many film goers share a love hate relationship with. They are nothing new, and have been around in some shape or form since the birth of cinema. Personally I stand mostly in the middle, but I have been known to hang out with the hate crowd from time to time. And indeed there are many bad and pointless remakes out there (I’m looking at you, Fame 2009). But, to be fair, a lot of these Hollywood remakes have also been of fairly high quality, many of which being on par with the original films. Take Scorsese’s The Departed from 2006 for example, which won four Academy Awards at the 79th Academy Awards. Or how about the Dawn of the Dead remake from 2004 – it was critically acclaimed, grossed over $102 million worldwide, and was one of the few zombie films to make over $100 million at the international box-office. Other notables includes The Fly (1986), The Magnificent Seven (1960), City of Angels (1998), and of course, Scarface (1983).
However, here lies the problem. Even if they are done well, and do not tarnish the originals’ good names, these re-imaginings can often overshadow the original films. While many of us would have seen the remakes, most of us would probably have never even heard of the originals. Who here for example have seen Wim Wenders‘ Wings of Desire, or the Hong Kong classic Infernal Affairs? Swedish film Let The Right One In? Luc Besson‘s Nikita? Or Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai? All great films in their own rights, classic tales, which most people will never get to know in their original forms, due to the spotlights being on the remakes.
And then there is the matter of the remakes that comes in the form of re-releases. While I have no problem with anniversary re-releases, remasters, or even director’s cuts – I do however, take offence at those which dramatically changes the nature of the original films. Or, equally as bad, the ones which adds no substance to the originals, but are yet re-released as new titles. The most infamous example of this would have been the 1997’s Special Edition re-release of the original Star Wars Trilogy. In my opinion, the originals were complete the way they were, and this re-release was completely unnecessary. This Special Edition was the source of considerable controversy, and it had actually lead to me boycotting the franchise altogether.
At this stage it is worth mentioning that 3D re-releases of the Star Wars movies have been announced. Expected to be released theatrically starting with Episode I (The Phantom Menace) in 2012, with the rest of the series hitting the screens on an episode-per-year basis. 3D re-releases of Lord of The Rings, Jaws, Toy Story, and even The Yellow Submarine have also been slated.
Like I mentioned earlier, remakes and re-releases are nothing new, and have been around in some shape or form since the birth of cinema, and are not unique to Hollywood. However, I am worried about the recent resurgence in the Hollywood trend to remake, and re-release all the classic and popular films. Film makers need to remember that classic films became classics for a reason, and they need to have the respect, integrity, and self-control to just let these classics be. It has been claimed that remakes and re-releases are the perfect ways to preserve classic cinema, and to bring these classic tales to a new audience. However, others like myself, see them as a desecration of the arts, and only serves to destroy and corrupt the memories of the originals. Enough is enough I say!