During a conversation I had with one of the other techs here, he mentioned an article he had read about several remakes that are in the works, including films such as Short Circuit, Weird Science, and Police Academy. Of course, these aren't the only examples that we've seen recently of such productions. Quickly coming to mind are the Star Trek films (which are also a reboot), the TV series Hawaii Five-0, the A-Team movie and of course the latest superhero reboots, such as Superman and Spider-Man.


Of course, remakes are nothing new. I joked that the second movie ever made was probably a remake of the first one, and a quick bit of research shows me that The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland is a remake of a movie made in 1925, and in 1956, Alfred Hitchcock remade The Man Who Knew Too Much, which he had first made in 1934. So while they're nothing new, a remake also doesn't necessarily have to be bad.


I think there can be justification for a remake, primarily due to advances in technology making it possible to better tell stories. The one that jumps to my mind here is Godzilla. I have no idea if the new movie is going to be any good or not, though given Toho's involvement I'm cautiously optimistic. With a larger budget and modern special effects and CGI, a much more dramatic movie can be made than the ones featuring a guy in a rubber suit stomping through a model town.


A possible remake of WarGames was mentioned in the article, and that's one that I think makes a little more sense than the others on the list. When it came out in 1983, many people still had never seen a computer or used one, let alone tried to connect it to another computer. Today, though, well, if you're reading this then it shows you've been exposed not just to computers, but to the Internet itself. The global environment is as perilous today as it was then, with Russia, China, terrorists and rogue states all out to keep us awake at nights. Now I'm not saying this is a remake that should be made, just that it's a little more reasonable than some others.


Why are remakes made? In some cases, I think there really is a desire to use modern technology, larger budgets, more experience and influence, and so on, to better tell a story that couldn't be done properly the first time. I think a majority of such productions are the result of being seen as “safe bets” by studio executives. No executive wants to be known for green-lighting a box office bomb, and if an executive gives the go ahead for a movie such as The Plaid Hard Drive's Adventure through Suffolk, and it bombs, well, it's going to be pretty tough for them to shift the blame and keep their job.


However, if the executive approves spending a few dozen million dollars on a remake of, let's say, Casablanca, and it turns out to be a bomb, well the exec can claim it's not their fault. After all, it's project with plenty of name recognition and media buzz, and the fact that the original is so popular is proof that people love the story and the characters, yadda yadda. Never mind the fact that much of the original's success is due to the charisma of the actors involved and the nature of the time it was made. It's entirely possible that the exec would be aware of those factors, but they weren't important. What was important was someone protecting their job.


That's my opinion, at least. When I remake this in twenty years with new hologram technology, maybe I'll feel differently.