There is, in my opinion, no legislating for the human ego, especially when it comes to the cinematic arts. I could include the performing arts as well, but as stage productions are transient, they do not have the same ego massaging impact as more permanent fare. It is not only laziness and fear that drive the televisual and filmic want of rehash or remake content. It is the egotistical belief that they can improve upon the original or former version.
There is a lot of rehashing and do-overs in music, songs get remixed, sung by different recording artists, genre changes even, but the nature of music allows one to know if they prefer a new, alternative version within the first minute. With film or television, one has to invest more time and – especially with beloved works – try and separate the new from the old.
Not every show or film can or should be remade. The remake of Carrie, whilst not terrible, was pretty pointless. Same with Total Recall; first version is still way more enjoyable than its more up to date mutant twin. There has been the odd remake that has matched or improved upon its predecessor. Michael Mann’s remake of his own film LA Takedown is one. Upgrading cast and scope to make Heat.
There will always be remakes and reimaginings of film and television shows, some good, some not so good. There will always be those who want to take a classic, beloved work and remake it. It is always a horrible idea, but as long as there is money to be had and an audience to be suckered, they will keep being churned out.
There is one person who’s films should never, ever, be remade, in any shape or form. History has shown that to take on this man’s works is folly. I speak of the, now departed, greatness that was Patrick Swayze.
Swayze, who died of cancer in 2009, was an actor fondly remembered for some classic films and roles. Though he acted for many, many years, earning nearly fifty credits, Swayze is best remembered worldwide for only a handful of roles; the television series North and South, the films, Road House, Ghost, Point Break and Dirty Dancing.
Never an outstanding actor, there was something iconic about Swayze in his seminal roles that made him irreplaceable. Sam Wheat in Ghost, Bodhi in Point Break, Dalton in Road House and the most celebrated role of all, Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing, It is hard to imagine anybody else playing those roles. Not that that stops the rights owners trying.
There was a misjudged attempt to remake Kathryn Bigelow’s dreamy Point Break. It did not go well, garnering awful reviews and making less than ten percent of its budget on its opening weekend. You would think with one of his remakes being so poorly received, they would leave one of Swayze’s most loved films alone. No. Not a bit of it. They went there.
Dirty Dancing has recently been remade into – I kid you not – a three-hour television film. Three hours. Where did they find three hours of story in a ninety-minute film about dancing and the haves and have-nots? It’s also a musical. It has not hit the UK shores yet, but if the internet meltdown is anything to go by, as well as an IMDB rating of below four and hovering at twenty percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it is not an event to look forward to.
I have written about and regularly Instagram my dislike of remakes or reboots of classic films. Just write a new story or at least plagiarise a bit. To have the gall and hubris to believe that not only can they do a remake, but they can also expand on it, is egotism of the highest order.
What is even more irritating is the modern penchant for remakes does not seem to recognise any film pre-1980! Film has been around for over one hundred years, there are plenty of films that could benefit from a remake – and rewrite – that were made before the advent of special effects.
Back to the main gist – why would anyone want to mess with a Patrick Swayze classic?! The answer? They have no honour and no shame. Leave it alone. Please.