The 2016 Ghostbusters remake did many things of note, including highlighting gender diversity, enraging the “get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich” squad, and showcasing why Kate McKinnon is an absolute wonder. Remove those factors, however, and the film is a highly forgettable affair that, like The Force Awakens, adheres too closely to what came before it.
Ghostbusters, as well as Kong: Skull Island, The Rocketeers, and the long-rumored Beetlejuice 2, showcase Hollywood’s incredible willingness to return to the cinematic well again and again to sip from its potentially money-giving waters. Sometimes remakes are worthwhile projects, such as Ocean’s Eleven and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Others are quite bland and/or horrid; think Arthur and Robocop. This isn’t a new occurrence; Grandma Wilson saw good/bad versions of The Fly and Out of the Past before she exited the world.
That said, it certainly feels like contemporary Hollywood double dips now more than ever before. I, admittedly, don’t have definitive numbers, but Den of Geek has attempted to chronicle every upcoming remake. The situation is daunting, frightening, and frustrating. Hollywood needs a rule set to determine when it should ponder dipping into its vaults to resurrect a brand. Fortunately, I have one that I freely offer to any director, screenwriter, producer, or executive! Pass it along.
DO NOT REMAKE A MOVIE IF:
- It is widely considered the progenitor, or a definitive work, in its genre. So, no Citizen Kane or Die Hard.
- It has already been remade. That means Cape Fear and The Thing are off the table.
- It’s one of an acclaimed filmmaker’s first five theatrical releases. Therefore, Jaws and Taxi Driver cannot be touched.
- It pushed visual effects forward. Think The Matrix or Star Wars.
- It stars at least two of the following: Shane Black, Bill Duke, John McTiernan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Carl Weathers. Yes, I love Predator. And Commando.
- It has David Patrick Kelly playing a weaselly little character who either delivers, or receives, a classic line.
- It is Beverly Hills Cop or The Goonies. Show some respect.
Okay, I admit that a few of those rules are made in jest. That’s because I’m not adamantly against movie remakes; they simply should be judiciously made. Flicks that flopped (The Rocketeer) and or didn’t live up to their potential (Drop Dead Fred) are perfect remake fodder. Everything else? Leave it alone, Hollywood. You have other things to do, such as spam sequels, soft reboots, and cinematic universes.
Image courtesy of Amblin Entertainment, Cappa Films, Tribeca Productions, and Universal Pictures.