In the age of franchises and name recognition, every day another sequel, remake or reboot seems to be announced. From cinematic royalty like A Star is Born to the obscure reaches of Maniac Cop, no brand is too high or low profile to be used to get bums in seats on opening night. Not that all these films are bad. Blade Runner 2049, Creed, Star Wars VII & VIII, the retellings of A Star is Born and Stephen Kings IT and even soft reboots like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, prove there is still room for new artists to put their spin on other stories. However, some upcoming film updates just seem like a bad idea. And I’m going to list 5 movies that, in my opinion, do not need to be updated in any way.
Before we begin I’d like to clarify three things. Firstly, with so many updates coming, it would be easy to just list movies within a certain category or genre and call it a day e.g. the Disney live-action remakes. So, to keep this list interesting I will limit myself to one entry per genre and they will be presented in no particular order. Secondly, just because I express trepidation in this list I do not automatically think these upcoming movies will be bad. Like any film goer I love being surprised and if any of these movies turn out to be great I will gladly retract my words. This is merely a speculative piece, using available information to inform my reactions. Finally, this list is just my opinion. If you disagree with me, that is fine. But let’s keep this civil and constructive. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
1) Horror: Halloween
By the time you read this article, the new Halloween movie will already have hit theatres and the horror community is alight with anticipation. The problem is, Halloween is a movie that never needed a sequel. Like it’s contemporaries, the original Black Christmas and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween thrived on using the unknown to terrify audiences. Michael Myers was scary in the original film because there was no explanation for his murderous rampage. He stalked and killed those he came across, for no reason. The problem is that many of the sequels and reboots focus too much on giving Michael a motive for his actions. The new movie brings back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and retcons Halloween 2’s (1981) revelation that she is Michael’s sister. While Laurie Strode is the quintessential final girl, and it’s nice to see Jamie Lee Curtis return to the franchise, the revenge motive still gives too much reason for Michael to be around. And this retreads the themes already explored in Halloween H20: 20 years later. Making the film seem like an uninspired cash grab that does not understand what made the original great. Not saying that the new film won’t be entertaining. But, for the scariest Halloween experience, watch the first movie as a standalone. You will never feel safe going out on Halloween night again.
2) Children’s Animation: The Lego Movie
The Lego movie is a victim of its own success. When it came out in 2014 it was a breath of fresh air. A Lego branded kids movie that was not a low effort to scrape money from brand recognition. Instead, it was a smart satire on consumer culture, fandom, and genre tropes while also being an entertaining and heart-warming action film that was suitable for all audiences. Since then the spinoffs prove that the Lego movie formula really was lightning in a bottle. With the new films not understanding the essential ingredients. Continually trading on brand recognition and glib self-referential dialogue without the interesting characters, social commentary or sense of pathos that made the Lego movie great. So now they have decided to continue the Lego movie with a direct sequel. But the Lego movie worked better as a self-contained narrative. It told its story in a way that felt conclusive and this made the film unique. Therefore a continuation of a story that has already told everything it needed to, is sure to become tedious fast. Which is a sad state of affairs for arguably the best-animated movie of the decade.
3) Comic Book Action: The Crow
The crow is a rare beast. Not only a good action film in its own right, but it also stands as a memorial to lead actor Brandon Lee, who died in an on-set accident during filming. With that history behind it, continuing or retelling the story is both futile and in poor taste. As proven by the low effort sequels. No one will top what director Alex Proyas and star Brandon Lee did in adapting the crow. So doing a crow movie at this point is only being done to exploit the fondness a whole generation has for the movie and the source material. Other movies on this list have the potential to, at least, entertain audiences, but this is one property that won’t work with anyone else. So, stop trying to make it happen.
4) Musical: West Side Story
In today’s climate of racial tensions, constant violence and the degradation of the younger generation, it is understandable why West Side Story would be remade. It is a film that perfectly fits into modern times. It addresses all the above issues in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. But the original film still exists. And is not only a classic, which deals with the aforementioned topics in ways that are as heavy as they need to be without becoming preachy, but includes performances, songs, and scenes that have passed into film legend. So why remake it? It smacks of the same logic that brought us the Psycho remake. A movie made solely to remind you of how great and ahead of its time the original was. With Steven Spielberg as director, the film will be technically flawless. But this seems like a waste of his talents. Especially when he could be creating the next underappreciated Oscar gem or the next generations childhood touchstone.
5) Science Fiction: Avatar
Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time (not adjusted for inflation). Its imagery was beautiful, its production technology revolutionary and blockbuster cinema to this day owes a lot to it. But once you get past the technical aspects, Avatar is kind of boring. It tells the same story we have all heard a thousand times before about not judging and the destructive powers of colonialism with no nuance or subtlety. Its characters are all broad archetypes buoyed by Sam Worthington’s boring performance. And its mammoth runtime makes getting through it a chore because it stretches its runtime to show us visually pleasing but thematically irrelevant spectacles rather than trying to engage us through relatable characters or unique storytelling. And the prospect of watching more movies with these flat characters, when the original’s plot was stretched beyond breaking point, does not excite me. No matter how beautiful the visuals are.
Thus, concludes my list of remakes, reboots, and sequels that do not need to happen. But I would like to know what you guys think. Are there any upcoming or hypothetical continuations to movies you do not want to see? Do you agree or disagree with any of the choices on my list? Then please let me know and let’s get a discussion going. And while all these movies are on a negative list, like I said at the beginning I always hope to be proven wrong. So here’s to hoping that these updates do just that.
Also Read: Retro Review: Halloween
Frankly, I think that the original 1961 film version of West Side Story is far too special, and too much in a class by itself to necessitate a re-make or re-boot of it. The original 1961 film version of West Side Story is a great, golden oldie-but-keeper of a classic movie-musical that Spielberg should’ve just left alone, and done something else. I’ve seen the cast of the re-boot of WSS, as well as other pictures, and don’t like the way Spielberg’s remake of this film is shaping up so far.
That being said, Spielberg has done a number of wonderful films, but I have a feeling that he’s getting rather far above himself on this one.
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