Reconstructing Hollywood: Why so Many Remakes?

Half of the movies I’ve seen lately have been re-makes of old, sometimes obscure, classics. I have come across most of these movies on ilgeniodellostreaming, which is an excellent platform to watch most of these movies. The only reason I know this is that, secretly, I scour the “classics” section of video stores and frequently check to see what’s playing on TMC. I can’t help it – to me, it seems that many movies from that long-ago era were just a lot better than some of the crap coming into theatres today.

Allow me to elaborate. Just recently, in August 2006, the new Disney movie The Shaggy Dog, starring Tim Allen in the title role, was released to video. This is a remake of a Disney movie. How sad is that, really? Over the years, Disney has produced an astounding number of fabulous theatrical releases. But lately, they just keep reaching into the vault and remaking all our old faves. Disney has also remade The Absentminded Professor,Herbie: The Love Bug, The Nutty Professor, and Dr. Doolittle in recent years. Write a new live-action script, guys. I mean, what’s next, a remake of Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang?

Some remakes I’ve seen have been excellent, such as The Stepford Wives. Featuring a new ending that differs from the original, I thought this movie was quite well-done. Some movies, however, were done so perfectly the first time around it’s hard to imagine they could ever be made better. Take, for instance, Planet of the Apes. Now, I loved the Charleton Heston version of that movie. When I heard that Mark Wahlberg was to be in the remake, I said, “Well, naturally. He has the face for it.” Then I found out that he wasn’t going to be playing an ape. Are you kidding me? Frankly, I miss Heston.

The Bad News Bears was also re-made, and while I don’t dare dispute the acting talents of Billy Bob Thornton, let’s face the fact that he’s no Walter Matthau. Sorry, but I’m not interested. Today’s DVD age makes it possible to bring any classic out of the closet, completely colorized, and enjoy it again. Why bother to remake perfection, I ask you?

The 39 Steps, for instance, a Hitchcock film. I’m completely averse to remaking any Hitchcock film, and I’ll tell you why: it’s Hitchcock! It’s perfect. Leave it alone. Does anybody remember that tragedy of Psycho remake? ‘Nuff said.

Other bone-chilling horror movies that have been or are being remade include When a Stranger Calls, The Omen, Creature from the Black Lagoon (yes, seriously), and Halloween. Of all these, it is Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween that I dispute the most. The original was created by a master of horror, John Carpenter, it stars Jamie Lee Curtis in one of her first leading roles, and it was bloody great! And you can still rent the original at any video store in the country.

Why so many remakes? Is Hollywood actually running out of ideas, or are they trying to bring old movies to a new generation? I have a better way to bring old movies to a new generation – open your film vault and digitally re-design your old film. Release it on DVD. We’ll all rush to buy. You don’t have to rush into remaking.