There's a lot of hate out there for remakes. People say Hollywood is running out of ideas, or trying to milk people for money, or can't do anything original. That may be true, but it's always been true. Plenty of the highest grossing movies of all time, as well as many well-loved classics, were based on books, existing properties, or real events. This is not a new phenomenon. "The Awakening of Rip," based on Rip Van Winkle, was filmed in 1896. Then it was remade into a longer film, Rip Van Winkle, in 1903. And it's not obscure film trivia – Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz are based on novels, too. And you know what? I love it.
I hope Hollywood remakes every movie. I really do. Shawshank Redemption. Pulp Fiction. Citizen Kane. Remake them all.
Let's take a look at a few movies I love, both from 1999: Fight Club and American Beauty. As far as I'm concerned, these are both truly fantastic films. The casting is great, the acting is great, the directing, cinematography, tone, storytelling… it's all fantastic. Chuck Palahniuk says the movie Fight Club is better than the book he wrote. American Beauty deservedly piled up five Oscars and over a hundred other awards.
No one does sarcastic indifference better than Edward Norton. I think I'm going to hire him to moderate the comments section.
I hope they remake them. Can someone else do them better? No. Are the films dated? No. Will the remakes be as good as the original? No.
But they will give me more. More of the things I love. Even if a Fight Club remake isn't as good as the David Fincher movie from 1999, I'd still get to see a different take on it. It'd still give me something to think about and talk about and enjoy. Things can be good without being the best.
It's a bit like going to community theatre. Is the local theatre troupe here going to put on the very best version of Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet that there ever was? No, they aren't, though perhaps not for lack of trying. But it'll still be fun to go.
How is there not a Broadway version of this movie yet? It's practically a play as is. It has references to other plays. They were too busy on Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark? Fire someone right now.
And don't get me started on the properties that have had several iterations but still haven't gotten it right. Do I want a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remake? Hell yeah I do. And I'm still waiting for a version of I Am Legend with an ending that matches the spirit of the book, and Hollywood has taken a crack at Richard Matheson's classic (credited for inspiring Night of the Living Dead and, through that, the entire zombie apocalypse genre!) Four. Different. Times. And there' s still room for more remakes – they haven't done one with the novel ending yet!
I love watching Charleton Heston indiscriminately shoot up albino zombie vampire cultists as much as the next guy, but let's try it again just in case.
It's easy to pan failed remakes and sequels. Sometimes – a lot of the time, even – Hollywood gets it wrong, and that's disappointing. But we have great remakes as well – from John Carpenter's The Thing to 3:10 to Yuma to The Departed.
In the end, there's no downside to a remake getting made. If it's good, I get more of my favorite properties to enjoy. If it's terrible (here's looking at you, Clash of the Titans), I can forget they exist and keep enjoying the originals.
So I say, give me your Akira remake. Give me your Beauty and the Beast. Give me your Lethal Weapon and Blade and Escape From New York. If it's good, take my money. If it's not, try again. I'll watch the originals while I wait.