Why Are Movie Remakes Considered The Bane of Cinema?

It’s been 30 years since the release of Back To the Future, the first of the iconic time travel trilogy that convinced us all that 2015 would be filled with flying cars and hover boards. While flying cars are a far way off, the film has certainly created a vision of the future that, besides for the films questionable fashion choices, has us endlessly disappointed with our present. So, in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary, many have been proposing the idea of a remake, because what better way to celebrate a film than by making it again?

The film’s screenwriter Bob Gale and director Robert Zemeckis, don’t seem to think so. Zemeckis, when asked about the possibility of a remake, adamantly responded, "Oh, God no. That can’t happen until both Bob and I are dead. And then I’m sure they’ll do it, unless there’s a way our estates can stop it."

Whenever the remake of a classic film is announced, you can be sure that someone will find a reason to audibly grunt or sigh. However, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to The Parent Trap to The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, — not every film remake is evidently bad, and in the case of those three, some may even consider the remake better than the original. So why is that remakes are seen as the bane of cinema?

The original, in its unparalleled, unique and inimitable qualities, has become overly romanticized — and in some ways, rightfully so. While various remakes have been successful in incorporating modern motifs and ideals, the remake often becomes so consumed in bringing the film up to date, that it fails to encapsulate the spirit of the original. Zemeckis explains, "I mean, to me, that’s outrageous. Especially since it’s a good movie. It’s like saying ‘Let’s remake Citizen Kane. Who are we going to get to play Kane?’ What folly, what insanity is that? Why would anyone do that?”

What folly, indeed. Although a remake may excite many, it turns out there’s only room for one Marty McFly in Hollywood. So, contrary to popular belief, imitation may not be the best form of flattery after all.

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