Why can’t directors, executives and producers leave well enough alone? Uninspired and unoriginal remakes have been flooding theaters for years, and lately it has only been getting worse. There are thousands of worthy books that could potentially be adapted for the screen, not to mention good old-fashioned original screenplays that are bouncing around. Yet, viewers are inundated with dozens of remakes coming out at an overwhelming pace.
There are classics that are up to bat, like an upcoming Frankenstein reboot and teen movies such as Footloose, which was just released. Tacky horror franchises like Child’s Play are even getting the treatment. When did the movie industry decide that rehashing the good and the bad of film’s past was a worthwhile enterprise?
There are dozens of movies currently in the process of being redone and mainstreamed. Some, like Oldboy and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, are being remade to appeal to an English-speaking audience, while others have no justification apart from the obvious: making money while exerting minimal effort.
This laziness extends to the extreme overuse of 3-D technology in modern cinema. The 3-D gimmick has gotten entirely out of hand and offers no real advantage to the movie experience apart from charging moviegoers $4 more for goofy glasses that they’re forced to “recycle” afterward. While in some cases films arguably benefit from this, like Avatar, in others it is a painfully obvious gambit to capitalize on a trend and rack up profits.
The viewer is expected to pay a premium to use technology that, according to experts such as film editor and sound designer Walter Murch, doesn’t even properly work with our brains. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that 3-D movies require viewers to focus at one distance and converge at another, while the natural physical impulse of any living creature with eyes is to focus and converge at the same point.
And like remakes, 3-D largely exists to take a product and rip it apart and exploit it for profit. Of course, studios need to make money, but taking a television show and turning it into a movie, 3-D or not, is just sheer laziness. Look at Hannah Montana: The Movie or Glee Live 3-D Concert Movie.
There are also the rehashing “sequel” 3-D movies that try to breathe stale life into a franchise. Case in point: Step Up 3-D, Jackass 3-D and Cats & Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore, among others. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this fad corrupts the nature of film by using a trendy gimmick rather than implementing real effort. Its popularity encourages such shorthand, diminishes quality and cheapens the end product.
There is also the simple fact that going to see bad movies that have been thrown together in post-production as 3-D projects now costs more money than seeing a film that rests on its laurels without needing to pander. This is reducing one of the supposed advantages of using 3-D imagery. It is meant to enhance the movie-going experience and instead reduces the enjoyment of the experience, as well as lightening viewers’ wallets.
The continued overuse of 3-D and constant “updating” of old films and franchises does a grave disservice to the quality of the movie industry in general, and I look forward to the day when original screenplays are back in style.
– Megan Pendagast
Junior English major currently studying abroad in Australia