Ishaan’s Film Corner: The epidemic of remakes


By Ishaan Parmar, Staff Writer

Growing up, I loved the 1941 animated movie “Dumbo.” It is a unique, whimsical movie about an elephant who could fly with his ears, and I would not change a thing about it.

Therefore, I was confused when I saw a trailer for “Dumbo” on YouTube. I clicked on it to find that, in 2019, Dumbo is a 3D animated elephant in a live-action movie directed by Tim Burton. Dumbo, once a cute and warm cartoon, has become a weird, goopy monster.

Disney is remaking “Dumbo,” as well as other classics like “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.” Their goal is not to update old films for new audiences. Their goal is to bank on the nostalgia of people like me. However, there is nothing new in these movies. Disney’s remakes of its animated classics, from “Beauty and the Beast” to “The Jungle Book,” have done nothing to expand on the original story. They are live-action carbon copies of the original films.

In Hollywood, there are undoubtedly young creatives struggling to get their film pitches heard. Their fresh, new ideas are falling on deaf ears while executives at Disney greenlight a live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Giving money to a new project, something that does not have name recognition like “The Jungle Book” or “Cinderella,” even if that amount of money is a small fraction of what would go towards a big-budget remake, is a risk. And Hollywood, it seems, is not in the business of taking risks. They know for a fact that they can spend a lot of money and turn a profit on remaking “Mulan,” but they do not know if they can turn a profit funding an indie filmmaker’s fresh idea. That indie filmmaker’s idea has not been thoroughly market tested like Disney’s remakes.

While there can be a momentary satisfaction in seeing something from your childhood “reimagined” years later, that satisfaction is not enough to hold a good film. If Hollywood takes more chances on new films and stays away from remakes, audiences can find new films to love as much as the old favorites.