The Great Remake Debate

Two weeks ago, everyone learned that Chris Pratt is being considered to play Indiana Jones in an upcoming remake. Needless to say, the internet was seriously buzzing. Chris Pratt has become the Hollywood golden child since Guardians of the Galaxy, and it seems like he’s in everything now. I have no problem with Chris Pratt;

But really, who could have a problem with this?
But really, who could have a problem with this?

But a remake of Indiana Jones?

Additionally, the same week that the Indiana Jones remake was announced, news got out of a Ghostbusters remake to be released next year.

In the heat of all these announcements, I have a few choice words: how do I say this…I DON’T LIKE CHANGE.

Call me a sentimentalist, call me close-minded, but I love the original Indiana Jones movies, I grew up with them. I also grew up watching Ghostbusters, which tells you what kind of childhood I had.

Who doesn’t love Harrison Ford as not one, but two of the most iconic film characters of all time? Hans Solo and Dr. Jones?! If you disregard Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, you have three solid Indiana Jones movies that are classic to the core. The world doesn’t need a remake of something that already has a solid fan base, especially when it’s well-loved and timeless.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems highly unnecessary to do remakes.

Why is Hollywood so obsessed with creating remakes of movies that seemingly don’t call for one? Is the film industry that desperate to make money? Are they out of good ideas?

Not all remakes are bad, I will say that. The concept of a remake is not awful, as well. When Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came out in 2005, I thought it was great. Not only am I a big Tim Burton fan, but I love seeing different takes on classic stories. At the same time, though, I still love the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film with Gene Wilders. (I see these movies as two separate entities based off of one central idea.) Along the same vein, I also enjoy the various adaptations of fairy tales, which time and again are remade and retold in books, television, and movies. grimm-wolf

I don’t entirely dismiss remakes, and I can’t say for sure that the Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters remakes will be terrible; we won’t know that for sure until the movies are released. However, I have many reservations when it comes to any remake.

The Indiana Jones movie franchise has been around for 30 years. It produced four films and a mini-series (Young Indiana Jones). Anyone can purchase officially licensed Indiana Jones merchandise, and Harrison Ford’s image of the stoic, rugged Dr. Henry Jones has become so iconic, that it’s instantly recognizable, even after all these years. And who could forget the music?

Every image that comes from Indiana Jones is iconic, from the hat to the whip, so why put a new face with something that has obviously stood the test of time?

The answer lies with Hollywood. I don’t believe that Hollywood is running out of ideas, but rather writers, directors, and producers are more aware than ever of the power of a fan-base. Take, for example, Benedict Cumberbatch:

Are you listening now? I bet you are.
Are you listening now? I bet you are.

When Benedict Cumberbatch descended from the Heavens, and was bestowed upon us as a gift from God to star as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC television program, he won big in the fan-base jackpot. If Benny appeared in anything, touched anything, or breathed the same air as anything, it was golden in the eyes of fans. Not only that, but home boy can act. He’s done television, film, and stage performances that encompass varying subjects, from Frankenstein (stage production) to 12 Years a Slave (2014 Oscar-winning film). Ever wonder why we see him in so much? His fan-base. Not only does Hollywood recognize Benny’s talent, but they definitely take note of his star appeal and massive fan following. This makes him golden in the eyes of producers.

Forever golden in my eyes.
Forever golden in my eyes.

This same process is happening with Chris Pratt. Parks and Rec fans know him first as Andy from the show, but after playing Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, everyone took notice of him. Now he’s everywhere, including the upcoming film, Jurassic World. JURASSIC-WORLD-Chris-Pratt-Raptor

Pratt is a good actor, a good guy, very charming, and, most notably, funny. I’m sure these credentials were major deciding factors when the decision was being made as to who should be Indiana Jones. I will admit, I think Pratt is a great option to play this character; I have no reservations in that matter. I do, however, have reservations about the underlying reasons why he might have been chosen.

Hollywood doesn’t care about sentimentality, they care about money.

While Benedict Cumberbatch is a great actor, producers know his wealth. They know that whatever he’s involved with will bring a large fan-base, and lots of money. We’ve seen this process time and again with so many other movies and TV shows.

It’s the same with the Ghostbusters remake. Ghostbusters is the #1 comedy of the 80s, and has had a huge cult following ever since. In recent years, there has been a surge of popularity with this particular film, with rumors of a third movie, and the release of a video game.

This is a thing.
This is a thing.

The announcement, though, gave a particular detail about the remake: an all-female cast. I LOVE the decision of having an all-female cast, and I believe that they have chosen their actresses well, even if some fans are not happy about the decision.

I believe that the producers and writers in charge of both the Indiana Jones and Ghostbusters projects have a solid start to the films, but so many other factors spring to mind. Setting aside the idea of a popularity contest and cash cow for the studios producing these movies, what is the plot going to be like for both films? Are they going to be totally reimagined entities, like Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or are they going to be continuing the original stories for each movie?

This is where much of my hesitation resides.

In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the audience meets—SPOILER ALERT—Indy and Marion’s son (played by Shia LeBeouf).Then, towards the end of the film, it’s casually alluded to that Indy’s son is going to take over his legacy. Now, I don’t know about you, but Chris Pratt and Shia LeBeouf look nothing alike.

There is the possibility that Pratt might be replacing LeBeouf’s character from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but it’s unlikely. So, if anything, Pratt’s Indiana Jones film will be a remake. Now I have so many more questions:

Will it be a remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Will it be a mix of the original three movies? Or will it be a completely new story?

That look you give when you don't know how to answer a question.
That look you give when you don’t know how to answer a question.

Same with Ghostbusters; I have the feeling that it will be a clean slate remake with a very similar plotline to the original movie, but it can go any way. What if the female counterparts are the daughters of the original Ghostbusters team? What if it’s a completely different story? Does this mean we will never see another Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?

LEND ME SOME SUGAR. I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR.
LEND ME SOME SUGAR. I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR.

This is why remakes make me nervous: there are so many different factors I consider, especially when it comes to movies I’ve loved since childhood.

In the end, the fan-base is everything to these movies. The production companies that are cranking these movies out are relying on the strong cult following that surround each franchise. Additionally, the producers are attempting to boost the fan-base, and bring in a new generation of fans—which is great. Movies that generate any following rely on this system of old fans and newcomers to make money and produce sequels, prequels, and yes, even remakes. But if these old fans, like myself, are not happy about the reboot, then it’s a waste. So, one can only hope for the best.

Granted, yes, these remakes could be brilliant. They could give great credit to their individual film franchises, adding new chapters to the legacy. They could also be so-so, or awful. But, all we can do for now is wait and see how these films develop, with bated breath.

For more information about the remakes, check out these links to learn more: Indiana Jones remake and Ghostbusters remake.

Image Credits:

Chris Pratt

Grimm

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benny in the River

Jurassic World

Ghostbusters Game

Stay Puft Man

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3 thoughts on “The Great Remake Debate

  1. You’re not even a “blog buddy” of mine but I just wanted to reach out and say I really enjoy reading your posts. They’re always lengthy, engaging, and humorous. Keep up your fun blogging and I’ll keep reading!
    -Dave

    Like

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