Editorial | Stop the hype around Hollywood remakes


Following Disney’s unveiling of the teaser trailer for the remake of “The Lion King” in November, anticipation for the movie, set to be released in July, has skyrocketed. The teaser garnered more than 63 million views on YouTube, and people have talked, posted and theorized about it incessantly.

The hype surrounding this movie is ridiculous.

Slapping together some CGI-ed lions, a hog and a meerkat and then throwing the word “new” in front of the title hardly says creative genius. “The Lion King” is anything but a “new” movie. What’s wrong with the 1994 cartoon? How much more could Disney possibly have to say about a royal lion cub?

In the past few years, there has been a noticeable decline in the number of original films in theaters. A big chunk of the responsibility for this change falls on The Walt Disney Company and its various affiliates. The conglomerate has several more remakes of its classic cartoons in the works, including “Lilo and Stitch” and “Aladdin,” which will feature Will Smith as Genie.

The “Dumbo” remake came out earlier this year, and the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” was released in 2017. While there’s not much to dislike about Emma Watson, the “tale as old as time” didn’t need revitalization. Part of the charm of the classic films stems from the animated characters and the imaginative, whimsical feeling accompanying cartoons.

Now that Disney also owns the “Star Wars” franchise and Marvel Entertainment, remakes and sequels aplenty have popped up, even more numerous than Ariel’s collection of gadgets and gizmos.

Both of the recently released “Star Wars” sequels have fallen flat, shamelessly borrowing scenes and plots from the original trilogy. “Star Wars” was over the moment George Lucas sold the rights to Disney in 2012.

Marvel is no better, remaking superhero movie after superhero movie, using the same familiar backstories and uninspired villains.

Originality in Hollywood is dead. Overdone Disney films have dominated the movie industry, pushing more creative, lesser-known films to the fringes. Producers rely on the name recognition of previous successes instead of spending time creating new, modern plots. It’s difficult to see this as anything other than a scheme to generate profits to fill the helicopter funds of already-rich Disney shareholders or a ploy to keep the company in the spotlight.

There’s something to be said for ending a good thing while it still remains a good thing. Make way for new ideas and let the exhausted, old tropes sink into lazy chairs and retire in peace.

If a movie is memorable enough, it doesn’t need a revival. Remakes are rarely as good as the first, and never better. At best, they grotesquely mimic the old, and at worst, they butcher our favorite movies with worthless characters and contradictory story arcs.

It’s time to allow old stories to follow VHS tapes into obscurity and allow new tales to emerge with the digital age.