October 20, 2019

They're Coming to Remake Everything You Love

“It was the 2019 Pet Sematary that finally broke me. Was this really necessary? I seethed in a theater earlier this year, at a loss for why anyone would green light a self-serious update to a 30-year-old so-bad-it’s-good movie. “Update,” even, was generous; apart from a more realistic cat, a different dead kid, and the switch from celluloid to a digital camera, there was really nothing “new” about the new Pet Sematary. Why, I rhetorically implored the cinema gods, does this even exist?

There’s an easy answer: Everything you love, or ever will love, is going to be rebooted or remade. On Tuesday, Variety reported that the Sony Pictures CEO had been pitched on updating The Princess Bride, sending social media into a tizzy: Cary Elwes (who played the movie’s hero, Westley) tweeted “it would be a pity” to “damage” one of the “perfect movies in this world,” with even Texas Sen. Ted Cruz popping out of the woodwork to agree.

Here’s the truth: The Hollywood remake machine has no sympathy for your precious childhood. It’s going to chew up everything that can even remotely be deemed “nostalgic” and regurgitate it back up, likely as a big-budget, mediocre, soulless lump. Human culture has always been littered with recycled parts; the difference is, now it’s not even bothering to dress them up.

To be clear, the remake itself isn’t inherently offensive; it has been a major cog in the motion picture industry since it practically began, back when 1903’s The Great Train Robbery was followed up by a remake, also called The Great Train Robbery, in 1904. Today, classic films like William Wyler’s 1959 remake of Ben-Hur (which has since been remade again), John Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing, and Brian De Palma’s 1983 Scarface get credited as being better than the originals; it seems as if every generation has their own version of A Star Is Born and Little Women. But at some point along the way, things started to get out of hand: Last November, Den of Geek put together an astonishing list of 121 movie remakes and reboots currently in the works, stretching from Ace Ventura to Zorro Reborn (and it’s already out of date). The situation in television is even more dismal: From the rebooted Twilight Zone to the bizarre-sounding remake of Saved by the Bell, one almost wonders if there is any space left for wholly original concepts.”

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