You’ve seen this one before

Published 7:14 am Monday, May 6, 2019

I’m not a huge fan of Hollywood’s (or more specifically, Disney’s) obsession with remakes, but I’m not completely opposed to it either. Actually, the idea of remaking a perfectly good film just simply leaves me scratching my head in confusion.

Why waste all that time and energy when you could just… watch the original?

Proponents of the trend would say that a remake can be an opportunity to improve upon and expand the original. See Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” live-action film from a few years ago, for example, which added more scenes to flesh out the story. Except the original film doesn’t really feel like it needs extra scenes for padding, right? Doesn’t that just make it seem like the original was a rough draft?

Another argument in favor of a remake could be the appeal of experiencing the story in a different way. I assume that’s the reason Disney decided to make a “live action” version of The Lion King which boasts a cast of animals instead of humans, defeating the purpose of live action itself. The animals are, in fact, CGI anyway which is really just another form of animation. It’s supposed to look more real, but I wonder will it actually make the story any better? Isn’t it just the same thing?

I sometimes wonder if Pixar is hoarding all of Disney’s original ideas. Why else would Disney keep giving us remakes of some of their best 90’s cartoon movies?

But it’s not just Disney who has a penchant for remakes either. Several animated Japanese shows and movies are getting live action remakes now too. (Remember “Ghost in the Shell” starring Scarlett Johansson from a few years ago? It was critically panned so you’ll be forgiven for forgetting about it.) John Cho is slated to star in a television remake of “Cowboy Bebop” soon, and as a very big (and biased) fan of the original animated series, I wonder what’s the point of it all. It’s not like it’s impossible to get your hands on a copy of the original series to watch.

How long do you think the entertainment industry can carry on like this before we all get collectively tired of it all? I would have guessed a few years ago, but the remakes are still going strong. (So are superhero movies, by the way, so I guess it does take at least a decade or more for our collective society to get tired of something, right?)

Maybe the answer is that we just enjoy the comfort of a familiar story. I know I’m guilty of watching my favorite movies and TV shows over and over again even though I can probably quote half the dialogue while it’s happening on screen. If you enjoy a story enough, it can be fun to go through it again even though there are no surprises left anymore. You don’t really have to even think when you watch something you’re already familiar with. You can just roll with the emotions.

By the way, I’ve actually touched on this remake topic before in an old column. I’m circling back to it again this week because I was reading about the upcoming Lion King movie, and also I was having trouble deciding on a topic to talk about this week.

Okay, maybe I can see why Hollywood likes to fall back on remaking old movies…

Anyway, like I said earlier, I’m neither for nor against remakes. Sometimes they’re unnecessary and sometimes they’re fun. Though most of the time I would prefer to simply watch the original again instead.

But honestly, I still think the entertainment industry needs to bring in new voices and new perspectives in storytelling. That should be the focus instead of relying so heavily on telling familiar stories in somewhat new ways. There are still tons of tales out there just waiting to be told.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or by phone at 252-332-7206.