Remaking or rehashing?

The movie industry can create characters we love, sceneries we wish we could be in or plot lines that make us forget about our own lives for the duration of the film, but that’s not always to the consumer’s advantage. The industry also can try to capitalize on an idea by making the movie over again as a remake, which can have viewers spend their hard earned cash for almost the exact same movie that they could watch at home, plot wise, unknowingly.  Sometimes filmmakers may not have put the consumer’s interest first, but rather the consumer’s dollars. So they slap a title that already has traction on the movie, and suddenly it’s a box office hit. Whether the film is an animation or cartoon remake, live-action remake or remake of an older movie, determining the line between remake and rehashing of a story can be difficult. Often times the distinction becomes a matter of personal opinion. 

What makes a good remake for me is not the recreation of a movie formatted differently, but rather an update of the original film with developed story lines and relationships. Remaking a movie isn’t the problem—some remakes can be good— but I won’t pay money knowing that the studio may just be providing me with virtually the same exact film as the original. 

Graphic by Madison Gomez

For example, Disney’s “The Lion King” was not a remake that I liked because I only saw the addition of the beautiful computer generated imagery (CGI) and a few more jokes. For me, the film seemed more like an enriched rehash of the original animated feature with a few sprinkles of flavor to cater to the new audiences. I would have loved to see more backstory from Scar, such as exactly how and why he got that scar on his eye rather than it be spoken like it was in dialogue between Mufasa and Scar, or specifically why he paired with the hyenas long ago, since they’re not welcomed into the Pride Lands. 

Remakes of films often seem like cash grabs to me, where a studio realizes it struck gold with the original picture and decided to wring it for what it can provide the studio, such as “Ghostbusters,” for which the studio added a new ensemble of lead characters and the movie was called a remake. Yes, but not quite. The film seemed to me more like a tacky recreation with a lot more women-empowering moments. Consider the number of times filmmakers have cashed in on the “Godzilla” idea. I see most of these films more as remakes because they use essentially the same premise, but with different results and maybe here and there new elements are added to change the story over time. Godzilla just keeps getting bigger in a number of movies, and my patience grows thinner with each inch that he grows. 

While these companies rake in the dough, for consumers, the films are supposed to be new and worthwhile, but in some cases they simply are not. If these remakes didn’t cost gas money and a movie ticket combined, then maybe I’d want to see them in theaters. At current prices, I would rather wait to see it on a streaming service that I pay a flat rate for each month and I want to support anyway because of the wide selection of titles that don’t disappoint.

It is always interesting to see the creative intentions of the filmmakers. but if they are going to rehash the original movie with minimal added details and call it a remake, I feel as if this is a big issue. I simply recommend people have the self control to wait for reviews and learn whether the movie’s remake price is really worth the theater price.