The Play’s the Thing…
It is interesting that this disdain for remakes/reboots/re-dos does not extend to the theatre where we often welcome the new revival of an old favorite be it musical, comedy or drama. Now, this is do doubt due in no small part to the ephemeral nature of theatre, however this ‘welcome’ seems also to extend to films based upon plays, particularly Shakespeare.
Consider all the versions of Romeo & Juliet (including Shakespeare In Love) or A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy) or Henry V and Richard III. Perhaps next to R&J is Macbeth who has captured the most attention of directors as diverse as Wells, Polanski and Kurosawa. And all of these different versions do not just invite comparison, indeed they seek it out, and we enjoy looking at how Olivier and Branagh approach the St Crispin Day speech or the treatment of Lady Macbeth by Polanski and Kurosawa.
Why do these films cause little or no umbrage? To quote Geoffrey Rush’s character from Shakespeare In Love, “It’s a mystery.”
Currently the ‘hot button’ issue is the proposed re-make of Big Trouble In Little China, with most fans asking “Why?”
Perhaps this resistance has to do with story.
If the new Big Trouble took the characters and told a new story fans would welcome it, but to simply re-tell the same story with new actors…
(Remember the shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho? That’s OK, few people saw it and fewer still remember it.)
One of the major complaints about Star Wars EpVII The Force Awakens is: “How many times are we going to blow up the Death Star?”
Of course, the bottom line here is money. They call this Show Business for a reason, and if there is one thing Hollywood loves more than themselves it is money.
Tired of re- makes/boots/imaginings/tools? Then vote with your wallet and do not see them at the cinema, purchase them on DVD or Blu-ray, watch them on streaming services or on cable TV. Hollywood does hear the ring of the cash register and they listen to it closely. When the registers go silent, Hollywood will look for the next bell ringer.