Remakes and reboots fail to please audiences

These days there’s almost always a remake or reboot of a beloved property playing at the cinemas. From the live action Disney films to that new “Hellboy” reboot, it feels like we’re getting a never-ending cycle of lifeless cash grabs, some of which do well based on audience curiosity alone. It really feels like Hollywood has run out of ideas and would much rather churn out a lifeless husk of a former juggernaut than celebrate original screenplays and concepts in the industry.

But looking at it from such a cynical perspective got me thinking about what exactly makes a good reboot or remake and prompted me to sit down and think about all the ones I’ve loved and loathed over the past few years. What I realized is that while many of us can preemptively judge something just based off a poster or trailer, there are multiple factors that go into determining what makes a reboot or remake “bad” in the eyes of the masses. So. when someone inevitably forms an opinion on the reboot or remake in question, often times the opinion will fall into one or more of these distinguishing factors.

First of all, with any remake or reboot, it will inevitably be compared to the original, a work that was obviously beloved or studios wouldn’t bother remaking it. The original, which in this case will be Disney’s animated “Aladdin,” resonates with entire generations of audiences due to its timeless feel and nature. But most remakes tend to be geared towards the current crowd and as such the remake will no doubt try to correct itself into being current, whether it’s through the jokes, effects or storytelling techniques it uses. However, while it may go over well at the time of its release, eventually its flaws will only become all the more prominent, serving as an even bigger product of its time than any original film could dare to be. The key to a good story is one you could tell generations to come and if the idea is only to be current and not timeless, this will inevitably lead the film to failure and forgettability in the long run.

But starting with a more current mindset isn’t the only mistake most remakes and reboots tend to make, as many are only interested in meeting a date and grossing a set amount of money. A studio will look at a board, find what’s made them the most money, then just hire somebody to get it done by their chosen date, almost like hiring a contractor to fix your roof. This attitude that money matters over quality is why so many of these reboots leave viewers with a sour taste in their mouths afterwards. When the corporate cynicism is just oozing out of the projector screen, people are going to catch on, which leads to one of the most important aspects of rebooting a film: the people working on it.

The reason people love the recent hit “Bumblebee” as opposed to something like that strange, already dated “Kim Possible” reboot, is the fact that the former was made by a fan. Good qualities a director should have when they are tackling the reboot of a beloved property is a clear idea of what could be retooled, how to make it interesting while preserving the core of the property, as well as an overall love for what came before and why it worked. One of my favorite remakes or reboots from the last decade has been 2012’s “Dredd,” because it’s made by a group that loved the original comics and understood why the original “Judge Dredd” film was such a failure with people.

Good reboots tend to abide by at least one of these principles, while many of the bad or forgettable ones ignore these guidelines. With the rapid rate studios force these films to be churned out and the utter lack of regard they have for the integrity of their properties, it’s no surprise that we keep getting all these mediocre or downright despicable cash grabs on a daily basis.

I don’t believe that cinema is dying. But I do believe that we as audiences let our curiosity get the better of us each time we pay to see a lifeless remake, and if we want change to be made, we have to stop shelling out $15 to see the newest reboot. If you don’t think the film looks good, stop acting like you have an obligation to still see it.

Stay home and watch something you know will bring the level of quality you’re accustomed to. Let the lack of money and attention you give these reboots speak to the studios. Because unless we learn to stop falling for these cheap ploys that tug on our nostalgia, the industry is never going to get better.

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