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.

Disney PLus

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

Oz the Great and Powerful

The land of Oz has never looked so good.

I’ve been a big fan of the lesser known Oz film adaptation, Return to Oz since childhood. Of course I have seen The Wizard of Oz (1939) plenty of times before, but Return to Oz fascinated me. It was in many ways the polar opposite to The Wizard of Oz, the happy world of Oz we last saw was shattered beyond belief, leaving behind only the smallest of remnants that represented that world. Seeing Oz in this way was terrifying, this film was far from family fun fare.. it was dark, creepy, and can I say “eerie as fuck” is an appropriate definition for the feeling you had while watching it. I love every minute of it, and to date it was probably one of the most frighting films I saw as a child. Sadly, Return to Oz doesn’t hold up as well today as it’s predecessor, nevertheless it showed me how vast the land of Oz could be.

Coming into Sam Raimi’s version I was anxious, as well as reserved about how I felt about it. All the promotions before the film’s release had me convinced it would be like Disney’s recent Alice in Wonderland, which I wanted to be so much more. From the very get go I was immersed in the great initiative that was taken towards this latest adaptation of Oz, which sees the origin story of Oscar “The Wizard”, played by James Franco come into power of Emerald City. I’ve seen many reviews pan Franco’s character, but I think his performance is adequate to the tone of this film. Oscar is a con man at face value with women and in magic. Beneath the con man is a man who wants to be great, a man who wants to be a combination of Thomas Edison and Houdini. Thrown from Kansas in a raging storm that captures his hot air ballon, Oscar then comes crashing down into the land of Oz. Here he claims to be “The Wizard,” the one in the prophecy who is said to defeat the evil witch, and take the throne of Emerald City. Accompanying Oscar on his journey are two very emotionally touching CGI companions. Finley the flying monkey in a little bell hop uniform, and a little girl made of porcelain. Oscar’s journey also brings the origin story of the witches played by Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachael Weisz full circle. I’m not one to eagerly jump at 3D films, however I feel it enhanced the experience for me. I was totally immersed in the wonderful world.

This film pays homage to The Wizard of Oz in more ways than I expected, for eg. it also starts with the black and white Kansas scene. I think this is a prequel made very well. It was respectful of it’s source material and gives an interesting take to the events that occurred before it’s beloved predecessor so many years ago. Some scenes may prove frightening for small children, but overall a great family film for everyone. I really loved it. I want to see many more films like this in the land of Oz, and I know there is so much left to be told which I find exciting.

Jump into the world of Oz

4/5 – Stars

Robert Ring