Off the Beat With Louis Otero: New Can Be Better

By: Louis Otero

I have no problems with reboots. I do however, have a problem with horror movies. I don’t dislike them. I just hold them to especially low standards. The genre is overpopulated by half-hearted attempts at a quick buck. Still, there are some massively talented directors that work in that genre today. Among them is Adam Wingard, director of “Blair Witch”, a movie that serves as a sequel/reboot to 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project”. While the film has not done well critically or financially, I found the film to be better than the original. It certainly had its flaws but overall, “Blair Witch”, was more intelligent, better directed, and a more narrative sound. I think much of this critical backlash has to do with the negative connotation that comes along with the labels of “reboot” and “sequel.”

Since the early 2000’s critics and fans alike have been complaining about existing properties in Hollywood sidelining original ideas. However, reboots, sequels, and adaptations have been around since the very beginning of the film industry. To assume that a remake of a movie is going to bad, just because you liked the original, isn’t fair to all of the talent involved in making the new movie. No one sets out to “ruin your childhood.” In fact, that statement makes no sense whatsoever. For example, I love “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Fox’s TV remake looks like complete garbage, but that doesn’t matter. This new movie doesn’t erase the original from existence. Yes, we all get attached to properties that were special to us as kids. However, we need to keep in mind that just because we like something, doesn’t mean we own it.

There are plenty of really great movies that are just remakes of older movies. “The Departed”, a remake of 2002’s “Internal Affairs”, was not only critically and financially successful. It also won a slew of Oscars in 2007, including best picture. Not every reboot is a slam dunk. While “Let Me In” may not have been Oscar-worthy, most would agree that it was a serviceable retelling of “Let the Right One In”, one that allows US audience to relate to the story in a new way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to see an original idea played out onscreen, but there is something innately exciting about the idea of a remake. To see a new artist tackle another’s work in film is much like listening to someone’s cover of your favorite song. They may not sound the same. They may make changes to the tone, and rhythm, but often their interpretation can bring new meaning to the original. The people involved in the creative process usually love the source material as much as its fans. This alone should be enough for you to put biases aside and judge these films as you would any other.