Jury Coordination and Notes

Recycling or Re-imagining? By Keefer Blakeslee

remakes.jpgHollywood! Whether you love it or you don’t it’s still the movie capital of the U.S. Many of the finest work of cinema come from the palm tree palace. However, with every yang there is always a yin. Case and point – the remake.

Hollywood is known for taking a film that’s already been done and creating a new one with a different twist. Sometimes they can be better than the original and others (most of the time) should have been left alone. Regardless, I’ve always been skeptical about remakes. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!” That’s my motto. Why reboot a film that was already amazing. Honestly, if Hollywood wants to do remakes, why don’t they regurgitate terrible films? That way, they have a second chance to make a great new story and if it’s a flop, it no worse than the original. Instead we get remakes like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Planet of the Apes (oddly enough both directed by Tim Burton) that, in my humble opinion, tarnish classics.

I’ve always hated the excuses studios give on why they decided to “improve” classics. “Because they Keefer.2014.5.jpgnow have better video quality and special effects.” To me, that is not a valid reason. If you’re going to do a remake don’t rely on CGI tricks. I’m talking about Ben-Hur. Say what you want.  Is Hollywood out of ideas or are they just doing it for the money?  There is another legitimate reason why Hollywood might remake films and it’s a good one – to re-imagine the story.

I don’t hate remakes. Even though I’m not 100% in favor of them, I understand why filmmakers want to create them. I believe filmmakers are smart enough to know that you shouldn’t go into a project with the intentions to top the original. The audience decides that. Instead, they go with the mindset of not re-making, but re-imaging.

Directors have different styles of telling stories. If you gave the story, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to a bunch of different filmmakers, each one would have a different vision. Spielberg would focus on the adventure and wonder. Howard would show the survival aspect. Anderson would probably make the Nautilus a pink hotel. Now, these new visions can breathe new life into these classic stories, but they should also bring back what made them great originally.

As I said before, there are good remakes. Recently, my favorites have been Disney’s live action remakes of The Jungle Book and Cinderella. These films not only re-create the magic that made us love the original, but they also give it a modern touch that invites a new generation to be exposed to these stories. Hollywood has given me hope for good remakes – scratch that, re-imaginings. As much as you and I may hate remakes, you have to admit that good can come from them. Now, sequels and prequels, that’s for the next blog.

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