Home Alone director Chris Columbus is not a fan of the Disney+ reboot that is currently being filmed in Montreal. “I’m a firm believer that you don’t remake films that have had the longevity of Home Alone” he stated in a new interview with Insider. He added “…What’s the point? It’s been done. Do your own thing. Even if you fail miserably, at least you have come up with something original.”
I get this. All of this.
A good remake is one that provides a useful update that will expose it to an audience that would not otherwise watch the original, or one which offers a different and valuable take on the same story. There are some people who simply won’t watch black and white movies. I don’t get it, but it’s a real thing. And that means that there are some great stories that people won’t experience because it’s in a format that they don’t enjoy, so it’s worth remaking the story into a form that they can actually engage with. Similarly, the way that a story plays in one decade may not hold true several decades later, or maybe refocusing a story on a different character provides an interesting insight or take, so it can be worth remaking a story in those cases.
A bad remake is one where a company knows that a certain story resonates with people, so they just remake the existing story as a means to draw money from the audience without providing anything new or different. Let’s say, the live action Disney movies, in most cases, simply don’t add anything of value outside of keeping it in the now and preserving copyrights.
Lion King, Jungle Book, Cinderella, Aladdin…sure, they all made money…but there’s nothing special or memorable about any of them. Is that the point? That they are entirely forgettable disposable art. Pleasant but unnecessary. People see them, they enjoy them well enough, and they promptly forget about them?
I don’t think Columbus is arguing for artistic merit. He’s made some good movies, but Citizen Kane is not among them. Pixels is an awful movie loaded with references to existing properties, but at least it’s not a sequel or reboot. In the same interview the guy even points out how ironic it is that he made Home Alone 2. Columbus strikes me as being from this specific school of movie makers like Joe Dante that were looking to make fun, entertaining movies with wacky special effects and stunts. I can respect that.
With how many people are out there and independently producing art, from novels to movies, etc., there is no excuse for not producing original stories. If they can take podcasts and turn them into TV shows on Amazon Prime, why can’t Disney start grabbing up Indie comic book titles or novels and churning them out?
Then again, maybe it is an age thing. I don’t really think anyone has even bothered to try to tackle a poignant examination of my Gen X childhood. To be honest I don’t think there’s really any way to present that particular experience with any sort of comedic wholesomeness. I seriously doubt anyone really wants an hour and a half or so of cynical wisecracks or depressing reflection on the experience growing up in the 1980s. That’s why we get our nostalgia in the form of either product-based, but “adultified” ISHT (Transformers, GI Joe) or exaggerated “shout outs” to pastimes most of us weren’t even allowed to enjoy (playing D&D in Stranger Things) because Satanism. And even then, the end product would be a horror story. Happy Holidays.