By Megan Bianco
I feel like I’m repeating myself since I already wrote an article on unnecessary sequels or reboots, but with the controversial and disappointing “Ghostbusters“ remake, I think revisiting the too many cases of unnecessary remakes we’ve gotten in the past few years is in order.
The new “Ghostbusters“ isn’t the first time Hollywood has tried to revamp a classic movie from 25 to 40 years ago. Since 2011, we’ve also had remakes of “Fright Night,” “Footloose, Total Recall,” “Robocop,” “Carrie,” “Annie,” “Poltergeist” and “Point Break.” Granted, both the 1982 and 2014 film versions of “Annie“ are technically adaptations of the 1977 stage musical; and both 1976 and 2013 movies of “Carrie” are adapted from Stephen King’s famous 1974 novel. The point is there were already decent movies, and no reason to produce new ones.
With movies like “Total Recall” (1990), “Robocop” (1987) and “Point Break” (1991), the success and cult following weren’t so much about how great the storytelling was, but the memorable direction, style and tone. “Point Break“ also had the advantage of its leads, Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze and Lori Petty, having great chemistry to make up for a ridiculous plot of a gang of bank robbers moonlighting as surfers. With the remakes, everything was so bland and rehashed that everyone forgot they existed right after release. Even with the latest “Ghostbusters,” you can tell just by watching the movie that the filming and editing were rushed, and they didn’t take their time by letting it naturally flow through like the 1984 original.
That’s not to say there aren’t remakes that have been worthy. “Scarface” (1983) is a great remake of Howard Hawks’ 1932 flick, Nancy Meyers’ “The Parent Trap“ (1998) is just as fun as the 1961 original from Disney, and “Dawn of the Dead” (2004) is remarkable in its own way as a remake of George Romero’s 1978 cult hit.
Mediocre remakes aren’t a new thing, either. Gus van Sant’s forgettable and unimaginative shot-for-shot remake of “Psycho“ (1998) still takes the cake in that regard. Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Apes“ (2001) and Neil LaBute’s “The Wicker Man“ (2006) have laughable reputations. And though I’m in the minority on this opinion, I’ve always thought Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of “Cape Fear” (1991) was a downgrade from the 1962 version by J. Lee Thompson.
Meanwhile, back in 2016, “The Nice Guys,” The BFG” and “Café Society” are the most interesting movies to come out this summer, and nobody’s talking about them.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.