One litmus of ageing is when you find movies from your youth being remade (or rebooted, the preferred buzzword). I was born into a decade of long-established cinematic colour, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from recycling what was.
I was about a decade too young to have watched Robocop (first at a friend’s house, then rented with parental consent). It was my first 18 cert film, and to date I think it’s the most violent film I’ve ever watched with that rating. It didn’t “warp my fragile little mind” as I knew that I didn’t want to kill or be killed, and the film was just engaging. I loved sci-fi, I loved action, and I appreciated the dark humour when I came to own a copy at a later date. It’s a classic.
25yrs later, Robocop is being remade. From the trailer in that hyperlink it doesn’t seem exactly identical to the original, but from the results of recent remakes I don’t hold out much for it. Robocop was very much of its time, very much a potent chemical reaction of everyone who had worked on it; and when you try to recreate that it doesn’t work (you can even say that for its original sequels!). Hollywood are out of ideas and not taking risks, so that’s why we have this slump, and why I care little for cinema these days.
Just imagine if a book were rewritten? It’s often not entertained because it’s seen as sacrilege and a clear waste of money as a jiggling of words often won’t affect how your imagination processes it. Music albums aren’t remade, and for that we have to be thankful; because either the original artist cannot better that original recording, or If someone else covers it, you just don’t want to know. Covers of singles can pull off, but you draw the line at an album.
So, basically this post is just adding to the fairly universal noise of people being tired of remakes. Not only do they kind of wipe off the sheen of old memories, but they stunt the growth of the industry. I can’t think of any original movie classics in this day and age. Can you? I think it halted around the mid 90s.
And even old black and white movies are fine as they are. Sometimes they benefit from colourisation, but even that untouched monochrome adds to the art; perhaps like The Beatles in mono.
It’s not always necessary to have a modern version of something to appeal to kids. I like plenty of things that were made long before I was born and I’d hate to see them remade (or have orphaned sequels) too. If anything valid needs to be done to old art, it’s just careful remastering for new mediums.
Trust me. The slew of remakes we’ve seen won’t be even worthy for bargain basement sales. They’re a complete waste of money and time; they only serve to emphasise the quality of the original.