Remakes are Absolutely Fine

I think I know what my parents feel like when I see original movies from the nineties being remade. It’s becoming common. Sure, The Lion King was a dud, but Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast were great. I’m even interested in The Witches remake set for next year.

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I’m thirty now, and my friends and family are all starting to have children. I’ll be having children within a few years too. So there’s this passing of the torch between parent and child of experiencing the same idea in a new way. Film remakes are actually kinda perfect at helping to bridge the generational gap. Worst case scenario is that you could write off the remake and then make them watch the original. They may even be excited to find out there is another version of this NEW movie they’ve just watched. I think giving these movies a twenty-year breather from the original is pretty reasonable. The people that are making these remakes are usually inspired by the original and want to make something that can match it.

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Disney’s acquisition of Fox has given them a huge library of IP they can do with as they wish. They announced they have plans to reboot Home Alone, Night at the Museum, Cheaper by the Dozen, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these choices. These are likely going to be made for Disney’s streaming service (Disney+) and not see a theatrical release. Are you telling me if you subscribe to Disney+, you wouldn’t be down to watch a new Home Alone if it dropped in December? Besides, Home Alone is an idea that is fun to play with as technology and social interactions change. I would probably even watch the original straight after it.

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So I’m not sure why there is hate for remakes? I hate when features like the one HERE, by the Independent write “Home Alone is proof Hollywood’s dying a terrible death”. Reading these articles makes me facepalm so fast you could confuse me with being attacked by a face-hugger. Hollywood has been remaking movies since the beginning of the film industry. It wasn’t until The Wizard of Oz had been adapted for the screen a third time that we saw the beloved The Wizard of Oz (1939), yet I’m sure the newspapers weren’t going, Hollywood is running out of ideas. Looking at the list of the highest-grossing films of 2019 already shows that remakes don’t make up for nearly that many films. Yes, a lot are sequels, but most are still original films.

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Remakes are fine. Disney will be making plenty in the future and then remaking those remakes in another twenty years. I have expectations going into Disney +, and the content they’re making for it fits those expectations. That’s why Disney+ is not the Netflix killer. Netflix has so many weird cylinders it’s firing off that it will make Disney+ feel like a niche service. I think everybody would expect to be jumping into Disney+ for the nostalgia and the adaptations over anything else.

And after all, wasn’t Home Alone 2 just a remake of the first one?

Robert Ring

The Lion, the Mouse and the Remake

The Lion King (1994) is one of the most beloved films in the house of mouse, and for many, it is their favorite. For one it’s a great film, however, I think it also has a lot to do with the timing. The Lion King along with the other titles in the Disney Renaissance were all exceptional, and all very much BINGED.

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If you think back to the eighties when the Betamax and VHS started to take off it was still a mostly rental experience. You would head down to the local video shop and rent the movie for a night or a few days. To buy one movie outright could cost close to $100 US, and that was back then. It’s understandable as film studios were scared of home video killing the movie theater experience and named absurd costs. By the nineties, nearly everyone with a tv owned a VHS player and the cost to buy a movie was now consumer-friendly. Enter the kids of the nineties. We owned every new Disney movie, and they weren’t released as frequently as today, so we spent a lot of time binging the same VHS over and over again. We ran those tapes so often that the tapes began to deteriorate. Basically, every child of the nineties could perform these movies off script like a performance of Shakespeare in the Park.

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Twenty-five years after The Lion King (1994) was released, I can still recall every scene. To this day the movie is not dated. Sadly, The Lion King (2019) is not good, but terrible even. The movie looks beautiful, sounds great, yet what looks like live-action animals talking ruins the movie. The talking works with some of the animals like Timon, Pumba, and Rafiki. Just not the lions, not at all. Even the characters mentioned don’t quite fit because the original voices are so engrained into us that we have trouble buying anyone else in the role. Disney really needed to get this one right for the fans of the original. The Jungle Book (2016) worked well because I don’t think we collectively remember the original as well. And from memory, the animals all worked for me. With The Lion King (2019), Jon Favreau shot it to look like a nature documentary and he should have gone all the way. First off take out all the spoken dialogue. Cut it down to eighty minutes. Keep the songs and just play them over the film. Have David Attenborough, or better yet Nathan Lane, the original Timon to narrate the film. These changes would take the movie from a meh to a woah.

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I’m sure there are defenders for The Lion King (2019), but it falls in the same category as live-action movies with talking animals to me. It’s hard to not see Disney using this film as a cash grab because.. well, a billion in revenue already? That’s more than the original made. In another twenty-five years, this version will be dated and the animated will continue to be a classic enjoyed by everyone.

Long Live the King (94)!

Robert Ring

Movies in the Digital Age

I was a serious collector of DVDs from the mid-2000s. I amassed thousands of DVDs. I would buy more than I could watch, and to this day I still own much more than I have seen. The great thing about owning physical copies is the ability to view the title whenever I choose. By doing this I was able to grow my knowledge outside the norm of most. I own and re-watch nearly every television show from the 90s, making it feel as if I spent my teens during that time instead of my 1s and 2s. Then I would have no one to talk about my experiences with these shows because they had no idea what something like Northern Exposure or Twin Peaks is. Streaming has effectively started bringing people that were once like me to the front. I love streaming services for that fact. You get to have all these watercooler moments with people and share in your love for the latest season or movie that hits one of these services.

I rotate between Netflix, Stan, and Amazon. Amazon is the weakest. Stan is perhaps the one I use most, and I think its library of content is similar to Hulu. Netflix is like a made for tv cinema with new attractions debuting every week. Then there are times where I know what I want to watch and spend about twenty minutes looking for it. Alternatively, I search for the title on Just Watch, but usually, I think I remember which streaming service I saw it on, and find myself nearly always wrong. Other times you cannot find it at all. Then I’m forced to search online stores to see if it’s still in print. Even worse is when it’s not available in the country, and you need to order overseas. Look at Say Anything, and it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. You can’t buy it here, and I think you can only stream it on iTunes. I get why some titles are only available on specific streaming services, but why are some just straight out unavailable? Even streaming services only keep content on there for a certain amount of time. And it’s times like that when I’m happy with my collection of physical discs. Overall, it’s not all bad compared to the era of VHS, and at least we all kind of share the same film and television lexicon, while people like me need to help steer others to the stuff, not in the readily accessible content. I like where we are at, for now.

Robert Ring

2017, Say No More

2017 was a year that movie news and journalism really pissed me off.

Every movie news outlet is spending most of it’s time producing content surrounding DC, Marvel and Star Wars news. No joke, this appears to be eighty percent of the content on such sites as Screenrant. The content is mostly rumours and speculation for clicks. On top of that once the film comes out the backlash is unparalleled because all these fanboys have built up a comic book movie they don’t get in the final product. I cannot stand people defending the bad superhero movies for being “true” to the comics, or despising the good ones for deviating from the comics. Any excitement for comic book films now comes from the director helming the project, and even then I would rather their talents used elsewhere.

For now The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Rolling Stone are about the best you can find for movie news, although this year Hollywood has been shaped by an actual movement and that is quite something indeed. Starting with Harvey Weinstein it became apparent that the untouchable hollywood echelon could indeed fall. Weinstein was always a bad guy and nobody would dispute it, however the shockwave that followed unveiled Kevin Spacey, John Lasseter, and Louis C.K., to name a few in a long and growing list of sexual assault perpetrators.

Not all was bad in 2017. Women have finally been given more of a stage on the long road to equality. On the screen people were cheering for the first superhero blockbuster starring a woman, and directed by a woman with Wonder Woman, while the indie film scene saw another female lead and director potentially looking to win Best Picture with Ladybird. Did I mention Mildred Hayes from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri? I wouldn’t pick a fight with her.

I hope 2018 does a better job at celebrating film and film culture over the constant naysayers.

Happy New Year,

Robert Ring