When a company runs out of ideas, or pulled the trigger on too many bad ones, you can bet their best plan will be a blast to the past for a quick buck. “If something worked 20 years ago, it’ll work now.” “This used to be popular, so it might make some scratch right?” This is the thinking behind some of Hollywood’s worst decisions of late and it’s not stopping any time soon.
Recycling ideas is nothing new, the big two do it all the time. Even in the case of remakes, they’ve been going on for forever. King Kong has been remade 6 times since 1933, despite it the story being almost the same. It keeps making money though, because it’s new for some people. Also because there’s comfort in knowing what to expect from media, which is why many of us read superhero comics month in and month out.
Not only has Disney remade the classic story The Jungle Book as a live action film, Warner Bros. also plans to do their own live action version next year. 80’s movie after 80’s movie has been remade, with more to follow. Usually their quality is so poor that they’re easily forgotten, but that doesn’t deter studios. Accusations of “creative bankruptcy” are thrown around and to a degree its true. Studios are less and less likely to try releasing an original film that may not take off when they can easily repackage an old one. As they run down the list of properties, they’re beginning to hit closer to home.
The new Ghostbusters film has drawn many strong reactions since it was announced and its first trailer released. While many have decried the gender bent premise on principal, others have taken issue with its style of humor, heavy use of CGI, and its possible racism in its one character of color.While others were quick to defend each of these points, some went one step further and attacked the original film itself as a “crime against women”. The whole affair is almost too bizarre to add reason to, although I’ll do my best. While some attacked the film due to sexism, others defend its predominant female cast in the name of progress. Roles for actresses in Hollywood have dwindled, which is its own can of worms but a movie that stars four women as the main characters is quite a rarity. The fans who aren’t hindered by a dislike of females, their disappointment is easier to explain because I feel it myself. They are disappointed that this new film doesn’t continue the story from the first two films. The first Ghostbusters is a classic, the second one much less so, but a third film has been teased for years without escaping development hell. Rather than let the property end with the death of writer/costar/producer Harold Ramis, and knowing Sony’s failed restart of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise into a wider money making universe, they’re now looking at Ghostbusters to feel that gap. All of that depends on Sony rebooting the story back to square one, which means the original story may as well end with the fan-pleasing video game. However, that loss of a resolution is sure to become a hurdle for a portion of the audience that even watched the original movie. Personally, I feel that Sony is likely to implode the franchise with its interference rather than Paul Feige and his cast making a bad movie.
While all of that sounds depressing, there is a silver lining. Stuff we loved from the past gets another chance at life, despite not always being guaranteed for quality. We’ll get another Spider-Man film soon, another Batman film and another Power Rangers movie. It’s not all remakes and reboots, Fooly Cooly is getting more seasons. If you’ve never heard of that show, its one of the most brilliant and off-kilter animes ever made distilled into six episodes. It started its first televised run more than 10 years ago, but now we’re getting more of it (good chance to catch up on the story BTW). For an analogy, that’s like Family Guy getting canceled and then being brought back ten years later like it never left.
The older we get, the more we’re going to see these things happen. Remnants from our past back again as though they never left.It’s going to take us to weird, wild places. At this point, the only thing we can do is enjoy the ride.