Hollywood’s remake epidemic

Story by Eric Christenson

This summer in film, in this writer’s opinion, was the worst.

We had a live action/CGI romp about everyone’s least favorite comic strip dog, a Nicolas Cage movie based apparently on that one scene from Fantasia, and the obligatory next installment of the Cats & Dogs franchise.
We found ourselves caught up in the hopeless whirlwind of emotion that is Edward, Bella and Jacob. We struggled to make sense of a Mr. T-less A-Team. We realized that Predators is actually a part of the Alien vs. Predator series, and not an oil-and-water romantic comedy/action hybrid the likes of Killers or Knight and Day.
The thing that each of these movies has in common, besides being awful, is that none of these movies is an original film made specifically for film from an original script. Each is based on something else, be it a book or a television series or a sequel of an already successful movie or allof the above.

If one is looking for perhaps the most blatant unoriginality of the summer, one needs to look no further than The Karate Kid starring Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith and most predictably, Jackie Chan. Last time I checked, there was already a movie called The Karate Kid made in 1984.

The problem is the original Karate Kid still is a significant cultural reference point with such classic gags as “wax on, wax off” and “sweep the leg, Johnny.”

It’s simple: The world doesn’t need a new, glossy Karate Kid.

In fact, the world doesn’t need any of these remakes, because they already exist in the media they were intended for, and that should be good enough.

But it’s not.

If, sadly, the film industry continues this trend, I’m afraid of a few things:

1) Remakes of remakes of remakes will keep rolling out every Friday until the time-space continuum collapses in on itself.

2) The industry will have to look to other things besides books, other movies, and television shows to make adaptations of.

For example, adaptations would be made based on food, landmarks, and board games (side note: Director Ridley Scott is currently working on an adaptation called Monopoly, the Hasbro board game, and Universal Studios plans to release Battleship in 2012, starring Liam Neeson and Rihanna. Yes, Rihanna).

3) There will be no more original thought, not only in Hollywood, but in all forms of media, including the music business, and let’s face it, even a pop classic like Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” can only withstand so much reinterpretation.

On the brighter side, there were definitely some great original movies this summer. Inception, as you’ve probably heard, was incredible and mind-bending. The Kids Are Alright set all of the limited release records for the year, and I’ve heard good things about Despicable Me.

The thing is, production companies are failing, which explains the comfort in releasing something that has already done well through different media. In order to stay afloat, production companies need to recycle.

The only problem with it is that it jeopardizes creative integrity in Hollywood, because only sure-thing movies get green-lit, while new, possibly classic stories are getting cut down without a chance.

I guess that’s a risk they’re willing to take.

I’m sounding cynical, but let me tell you, dear readers, it’s hard not to be while Michael Bay is producing a darker version of Hansel and Gretel in 3D.

Jokes aside, if you take anything away from this column, support independent film, because these are passionate people that aren’t receiving the support they most likely deserve. Let them be the future of film, and let movies that already exist stay that way.