If Gus Van Sant remakes Psycho shot for shot, it’s called an homage to Hitchcock.
If Devo covers (I can’t get no) Satisifaction, it’s not just a cover of a Stones song, it’s a creative remix.
If I re-write Huckleberry Finn in a different font, I’m a plagiarist. However, if I imagine the entire story in outer space, voila!, the work is suddenly a creative interpretation and I am heralded as a genius.
Since mankind’s earliest days, stories have been recycled, handed down or even re-interpreted. Even the Bible is chock full of “borrowed” tales. Noah, the resurrection of Jesus, virgin births? Any Bronze Age editors and publishers reading the early drafts of the Bible would have been right to say, “Um… I think I’ve seen this book, before” or even give a sassy, “Been there, done that!”
But, hey, a few names were changed, places were switched and it became a big hit with the dozen or so literate people in the world, at that time. Why? Because even an old story is always going to be new to somebody.
No more guilty than anyone of rehashing old ideas is Hollywood. Yes, Hollywood. That glimmering epicenter where original ideas come into contact with sociopathic financiers, who then go off on week-long coke binges, forget to meet their own deadlines, then walk into their multi-million dollar meeting and pitch the laziest thing they can think of: a remake. The producer, also coming off his own week-long coke binge, waves an agreeable hand before requesting that his assistant locate the world’s largest aspirin.
Whether it’s a television show from their own childhood, an older movie they accidentally saw while scrolling past Turner Classic Movies or they simply don’t believe a movie is any good once it’s past the five year mark, somebody somewhere is working hard to “update”, “revamp” or “reboot” an idea that someone else already had. Why not? The hard work (the part where characters are created, a story is developed, a mood is set) is already done. All you need to do (you being a Hollywood up-and-comer) throw on some new effects, a young and hot leading couple, some more special effects, incorporate some contemporary passing fads/trends to insure that your film is dated before it ever flickers on a screen and you’ve got yourself a bonafide blockbuster, Buckaroo!
Sometimes, though, it isn’t a blockbuster. Sometimes you end up with a horrible, cringe-worthy film like Leave It To Beaver, Godzilla, Karate Kid, Land Of The Lost, Wild Wild West, etc. The list goes on. Oh, dear, sweet Jesus, how the list goes on.
For all of the failed reboots, though, there’s always one Ocean’s 11 or 21 Jump Street and so the shotgun blast approach remains in place because the bigger the scatter, the more likely you’ll hit the target once.
The world continues to spin, the sun continues to set and Hollywood will continue to forever be lazy, unoriginal and enormously wealthy.
I am not above watching a remake, though. I’ll give it a chance. I won’t see it in a theater, but I’ll watch it online or dvd, usually over dinner.
What’s for dinner, you ask? Well, tonight’s dinner will be based on an earlier dish from the night before, but it’s been revamped, reheated and, well, frankly, it’s way cooler than the original. Technically, they’re leftovers, but I like to think of them as remade meals. It’s got everything you loved about the original dinner, but with a flavor and taste all of its own.