If there’s anything that advancements in technology have brought to movies, it’s the ability to do more. Production has gotten bigger, effects have gotten better and as a result, filmmakers believe they can make movies better than previous generations. This has resulted in a number of remakes and reboots that have spanned a variety of genres, from sci-fis like “Star Trek” to more recent superhero films like “Fantastic Four.” The quality of all of these remakes varies, but here’s the real question to ask: Are they all really necessary?
Much like the answers on our midterms, the answer to that question is not always clear-cut. Of course, there are some movie franchises that are designed to be remade. Part of the appeal of “James Bond,” for instance, comes from its multiple reincarnations. “Spectre,” which premiered last week, is the most recent addition to Daniel Craig’s take on the British spy. Throughout the decades, it has also sparked heated debates about who played Bond best. Whether you are fan of the classic Sean Connery run or a supporter of the contemporary Craig run, “James Bond” is a franchise that spans several generations. These connections would not have been possible if filmmakers had not decided to revamp the series again and again to provide a fresh take on the character. We expect movies like “Bond” to be continuously redone, speculating about who will take the titular role next-- my money’s on Henry Cavill. Remakes can play a significant role in pop culture if they bring new life to a series, just as “Bond” has demonstrated.
However, not all of these remakes have done as well, which makes us stop and wonder why they were really needed in the first place. Since 2002, Spider-Man has already been recast three times. Although I personally thought that Andrew Garfield portrayed the wise-cracking web-slinger better than Tobey Maguire, the fact that the reboot came so soon after “Spider-Man 3” made “The Amazing Spider-Man” films feel a little unwarranted. Clearly, audiences and critics felt the same way because these newer films were much less popular at the box office and in reception than the originals. It remains to be seen how well the third iteration, Tom Holland, will do as he enters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the rest of the Avengers in the coming films because the character already feels a little exhausted, it is hard to say whether yet another reboot will be refreshing or redundant.
If a film is going to be remade, it should come down to whether or not the filmmakers can take the characters or the plotlines in a new and intriguing direction. It is not enough to simply add some new villains or improved effects because those features are not what make or break a film. The new “Fantastic Four,” know as “Fan4stic,” film earlier in the year is proof of this: The special effects are superior to what they were in the first two films, but no amount of CGI can cover up a spotty narrative and plotline. In contrast, what made the new “Star Trek” successful was the movie’s ability to build upon a pre-existing fanbase through fluid and engaging story arcs. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto’s portrayals of Captain Kirk and Spock, respectively, were also refreshing takes on the well-known characters. These differences are what can determine the film’s success.
When it comes to these movies, filmmakers think they know what it takes to make a better film than the one that already exists. The kind of story they plan to tell using these characters determines whether or not they are correct. Reboots are oftentimes hit-or-miss because of this, and this trend is likely to continue when more remakes are inevitably made in the future.