So here we are, in the middle of 2018, seeing lots of old (some would say classic) movie remakes popping out at us left and right. And as a self-aware Disney fanatic, I have to say that upon seeing the posters go up for the new "Mary Poppins" movie, I wasn't exactly thrilled. I mean come on Hollywood, you can remake all the superhero and princess movies you like and we'll be fine, but Mary too?
This got me thinking about the many, MANY movie remakes that have been done over the years: "The Great Gatsby", "Jungle Book", "Robin Hood", "Tarzan", "Jumangi", various horror movies, various films dedicated to Queen Victoria and Mary, Queen of Scots, and I can't help but wonder... what is the thought process that goes into deciding on a movie remake?
Was the first version just too outdated to be good? Will the plot line be more interesting to viewers today than it was to its original intended audience? Are the various actors and actresses on the scene today better suited for the roles? Or, dare I ask, is there just not enough originality or creativity left to develop new storylines?
This last thought makes me a bit nervous, because if I'm being honest, I'm not a huge fan of the remakes, and I think it's safe to say that many times, the original is the best form possible. *Exception made for the new Spiderman movies featuring Tom Holland. Let's all thank God they finally found a decent actor to play him who actually looks like he could be a high schooler.*
I mean, let's just look at the latest "Jungle Book" movie. While I'm not the biggest fan of Rudyard Kipling's original story, the first movie Disney made in 1967 based on the book was adorable and very fun to watch as a kid. The newest 2016 remake seemed a bit like it was trying too hard to make a story clearly meant for children more adult-themed, which is what I feel many remakes lately have been attempting to do. Revamp the story to make it a bit darker, a bit more menacing, a bit more quirky even, and it will attract a bigger audience... Right?
I, for one, have to say that this technique just doesn't work so well. With Jungle Book, it failed to appeal to younger audiences because it lost the "fun quality", yet it didn't really appeal to older audiences either because it's still a children's story. And while some old classics may not be children's stories, many of their remake counterparts have tried this same technique of adding darker themes to the story, rendering them, honestly, just not as good.
This brings me to the question, "Why remake an old classic when the remake will clearly be worse?"
Why try to make an already-good movie again, just for the sake of "edginess"? I think we can all agree that even if you weren't the biggest fan of Disney in its beginning stages or of the original "Mary Poppins" movie, Julie Andrews as Mary, featuring Dick Van Dyke with all his chimney-sweeping charm, just cannot be replaced... no matter how cool Emily Blunt is.
That said, let's hope the new Mary doesn't also try to be edgy, dark, and twisty. Those remakes need to stop already.Long live the classics!