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– Remake-a-palooza!

For the Hollywood honcho, the idea of a remake must be horribly tempting. Taking an old premise and giving it a new coat of paint is incredibly easy, requiring little to no creative effort. Just cast new actors, change a setting or plot twist, and voila, you have yourself another film. Not all remakes are obvious cash-ins, however, so I think it’s important to examine a few factors when determining the worth of such a project.

First of all, how old is the original movie? I have a problem with studios remaking films from the 1980s, as they are most likely too fresh in the minds of audiences. A movie must be able to age and circulate for a good length of time before someone tries to retell its story. For example, The Fly, which premiered in 1958, was remade back in 1986 with Jeff Goldblum as the star. Now audiences can expect another remake, which was approved solely on the idea of having The Fly actually fly. Should a film be remade twice? I don’t believe so, as it seems extremely lazy and redundant.

The success and quality of the original film should also be taken into account. If a movie had an intriguing premise but failed to find an audience upon initial release, perhaps it should be remade to see if a modern audience would embrace it. Movies that were criticized for story or acting problems can be remade for a better product, a goal actual work and focus could achieve.

When it comes to remaking the classics, my judgment can swing either way. I have no problem with Peter Jackson tackling King Kong, for instance, since I have faith in the director and believe the original has been around long enough for our filmmakers to see it from different angles. True, there already is a remake starring the big ape, but it failed miserably. So why not give Jackson, a man who has clearly proved his directing abilities, a shot at making it right?

Ultimately the decision to do a remake should come down to brutal honesty. Are these movies being made simply to return to the well, or is there an actual desire and enthusiasm over returning to an old film? Are the filmmakers passionate and careful in their decisions, or do their worries only involve budgets and a quick development time? The Warriors, The Pink Panther, and The Bad News Bears show the dark side of the remake, so I can only hope the trend will be filtered so that only worthwhile projects are pursued.

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