I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, critical and creative thinking are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Let me explain. I am going to be 30 years old in a month. I attended the majority of my schooling in the 90’s and if there was one thing that was hammered into our heads, it was the fact that we are each individual, intelligent thinking beings, each capable of critical and creative thinking for ourselves. I honestly do not see that in schools today. As a matter of fact, I recently had a conversation with my 5th grade English teacher, who was an important person in my life and education, and the inspiration behind my desire to enter the world of writing. He told me something that backs up every thought I have on the subject. He told me that teachers today are being told to teach students to “play it safe” and to “do what’s already been done”. In my humble opinion, this is not a good lesson to teach today’s youth, tomorrow’s future. While there still are teachers out there who go against this conventional thinking of today and still teach children to be critical and creative thinkers, the responsibility is falling more and more on the parents, our generation.
That’s not to say I’m against remakes entirely. I do enjoy some remakes. As a matter of fact, it would be inaccurate to accuse this generation of being the only generation to remake what’s already been done before. People have been remaking, rebooting, and putting their own spin on the art of those that came before them for decades now. Take the movie The Fly for instance from the year 1986 starring Jeff Goldblum. That film was a remake of a film by the same name from 1958 with Vincent Price. Nirvana remade the song The Man Who Sold The World in 1993, which was originally a song recorded by David Bowie in 1970. Both of these remakes in my opinion were very good. In the case of Nirvana, they made a lot of great original music as well, which in my opinion gave them the right to do a remake. I even enjoy some of today’s remakes, such as the new Star Trek reboot.
We’ve all heard the argument that the original is always better than the remake and 99% of the time I believe this is true. As much as I enjoy the new Star Trek for instance, after seeing Into Darkness, although I loved it, I still felt that Wrath of Khan was a better story and would have liked it better if they hadn’t taken so much from Wrath of Khan. The band Five Finger Death Punch recently remade the song Bad Company by the band of the same name. While I thought this was a serviceable remake, I don’t enjoy any other of Five Finger’s songs, making in my opinion, this remake to be their best effort. In my opinion that makes them a failure to me because the best effort they could put forward was a song that wasn’t even theirs.
The point I’m trying to get at here is this, remakes are not a terrible thing, and however, I feel they have become a crutch in the entertainment industry. By that I mean that it seems to me that remakes are outnumbering original ideas now more than ever. Even if that’s not the case, you cannot tell me that almost every great original idea is being remade or rebooted. Spiderman was rebooted twice in the past 10 years or so alone. Every single great horror franchise has been rebooted, and the ones that haven’t are in the works. It seems more horrible to me than the most brutal horror movie that we can get a reboot of Nightmare on Elm Street with someone other than Robert Englund playing Freddy before we get a part two to a great original horror movie like The Strangers. Some things just need to be left alone. Imagine a remake of Back To The Future starring Justin Beiber as Marty McFly, or Nickleback remaking Smells Like Teen Spirit. The thought of it sends chills down my spine.
I recently saw a post on Facebook where someone was watching a remake of an action film or something like that, and was pondering the question of why people make more of a big deal about horror remakes than remakes of other genres. He came to the conclusion that horror fans just take their stuff more seriously. Maybe, but I have another thought. Maybe it’s just because the wrong people are getting their hands on these horror movies. Maybe these people just don’t understand the horror genre and what made the originals so great. After all, horror is an acquired taste, more so than any other genre. Where the originals were more scares and suspense based, the remakes tend to be more gore and shock value based. In my opinion, this is the definition of epic fail.
The bottom line is this; remakes are not a bad thing. All entertainment is simply art, and art is different to every single person alive. One man or woman’s vision will always be different from the next, so in that regard, remakes can be a great thing. It’s almost always interesting to see or hear one person’s take on another person’s masterpiece. The problem comes when remaking what’s already been done becomes a crutch rather than a once in a lifetime project. The entertainment industry today is finding it a whole lot easier to take someone else’s idea and put their own spin on it than to take the time to come up with their own original idea. This is not art; this is just plain laziness and is unacceptable. Remakes should be something far more rare and should be delegated to people who have already put out plenty of quality original ideas of their own already. The right to remake someone else’s work should be earned, not given. In the end though, just like any art, it all comes down to personal opinion and this is just the opinion of one entertainment fanatic. Everyone else will have his or her own opinion, and in my opinion, that’s what makes life so great.