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THERE are movies that should be redone, and there are movies that should be left well alone, but lately Hollywood has been producing remake after remake and reboot after reboot. Is Hollywood running out of ideas?

The main difference between a remake and a reboot is that the former is a new version of an older movie whereas a reboot tells a different story from the original. The idea behind a reboot is to turn the tables, to tell a completely new tale and and to encourage viewers to forget the earlier movie.

If I were to give examples, a recent remake is the 2011 movieFootloose,following the 1984 movie of the same name which starred Kevin Bacon. An example of a reboot isThe Amazing Spider-Man(2012), a retelling of the movie with Tobey Maguire made a decade earlier.

The total number of reboots made so far appears to exceed the number of remakes. The reason for this, I suspect, is that movie makers often have their own version of a movie they once watched and if given the opportunity, they would produce this preferred version.

In a way, a reboot suggests some degree of originality because it tells a new story but the irony, of course, is that if a movie is a remake or reboot, it isn’t entirely original.

Speaking as a moviegoer — and I suspect that many others will agree — no one is opposed to remakes or reboots provided, of course, that the new movies are actually good and improves or expands on the original story.

A movie which I found pointless wasTotal Recall(2012), a reboot of the 1990 production of the same name.

Set on Mars, the older movie was far more atmospheric and ground-breaking than the newer version, which I found tiresome to watch.

It’s extraordinary when newer versions are made of movies that might be a little old-fashioned because they were made decades ago, yet perfectly fine and should be left as they are.

If a new movie does nothing to improve upon the original, it shouldn’t have been made in the first place.

Not all reboots have been bad, though.

Three exceptional reboots appeared in the form of Christopher Nolan’sDark Knightmovies that kicked off withBatman Beginsin 2005. The trilogy — a retelling of the old series of movies that began withBatman(1989) — was well-executed, sophisticated and appealed to a more grown-up audience.

While the earlierBatmanmovies which starred Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney were entertaining, they became more cartoonish as time went on.

Nolan, on the other hand, sought inspiration from some of the most notableBatmangraphic novels for his storylines, thus displaying some effort to stay true to the roots of the story.

The year 2014 has been quite the year for remakes.

New versions ofGodzillaandRobocophit the cinemas recently, although I must admit that I haven’t had the time to watch either of them.

Of the two original movies,Robocop(1987) was the bigger hit and regarded by many as a classic.Godzilla(1998) didn’t fare too well at the box office, although personally I enjoyed it.

The bad news is this trend isn’t going to end anytime soon, because I’ve found a list of classics currently being considered for a reboot or remake.

Brace yourselves, for among them areThe NeverEnding Story,The Goonies,Gremlins,Honey I Shrunk The Kids,Highlander,DirtyDancingandGhostbusters.

At the risk of sounding possessive, no one should ever touch theNeverEnding Storyor theGremlins. Those movies were perfect for their time and remakes would be completely unnecessary.

One movie which is attracting a lot of media attention is a future reboot ofBatman, but this time with the added presence of theManof Steel.

The movie known asBatman vs Superman: Dawn of Justiceis due to be released in 2016 and will feature yet another actor as Batman.

Casting Ben Affleck dismayed a large number of movie fans who said he wasn’t suitable for the role.

The choice of actors is important in remakes and reboots, particularly if the later movie is announced too soon after the original.

In the case ofBatman vs Superman, Affleck’s casting was announced a few months ago, some would say a little too soon after Christopher Nolan’sThe Dark Knight Rises(2012).

The problem with not waiting long enough to release a remake or reboot is that viewers might still identify with the original actors.

In this case, moviegoers might not be too receptive towards Affleck because they would still see Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Getting viewers to accept a new actor or storyline can be a challenge if the original movie was well-received.

There is nothing wrong with a newer rendering or retelling of an old movie, but if movie makers keep on releasing remakes and reboots, the impression is that there is a lack of ideas and creativity or an unwillingness to spend money developing new ideas. Go get your own luck dragon, and leave Falkor alone.

Anis Ibrahim
Anis Ibrahim

*When she isn’t watching or writing about movies, Anis writes about travel at ‘Five Foot Traveller’.

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