The economic logic driving remake mania isn't hard to figure out -- the film industry, facing mounting production and marketing costs, is becoming ever-more risk-averse. I understand that it is often easier and cheaper to remake old properties than to develop new ones. And I understand that there is now a new generation of viewers who have had only limited exposure to the films of the 1980s, and thus those properties are especially ripe for being remade. (It doesn't hurt, of course, that many of the executives moving up the ranks are children of the '80s as well.) As a child of the '80s myself, I am certainly not averse to seeing Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and company suit up again - especially if they are working with a decent script.
I know that remakes -- or "reenvisionings" if you wish -- are not inherently bad. I am optimistic about the new Star Trek, thought the newer Ocean's Eleven was far superior to the original, and found Edward Norton's Hulk to be more, well, incredible than Eric Bana's. I am even open to the possibility that The Rock's (sorry, Dwayne Johnson's) Race to Witch Mountain is superior to the 1975 Escape to Witch Mountain. Anything is possible.
Yet as each day goes by, and yet more remakes are announced, I can't help but wonder if we are close to hitting the remake absurdity threshold. In the last couple of days alone, I have read that the following remakes are in development:
- The 1983 David Cronenberg-directed Videodrome;
- Alien (with Ridley Scott returning to direct);
- Predator (with Robert Rodriguez directing).
- Universal is developing a remake of the 1991 bomb Drop Dead Fred for Russell Brand...
- And Oliver Stone is developing a sequel (ok, it's not a remake, so I'm cheating a little here) to...Wall Street. Shia LeBeouf (!?!) is in talks to star.