Why, Hollywood, Why?

We’ve known it for a long time. Hollywood has gotten lazy. It retreads plots without trying to file off the serial numbers. It continues franchises long past when they should have been ended. Then there’s the gold medal they win for bad taste, bad decision and ultimate WTFery: the remakes of classics.

They pick old TV shows that were once popular and try to recapture what made the special. Or worse, they try to make the relevant to today. Who can forget Car 54, Where Are You?

Or The Dukes of Hazzard?

Or even 21 Jump Street

These three are based on TV shows that ran decades before the movies came out. The originals were far from high cinema. But they could be fun and they didn’t take themselves seriously. What’s really sad about these remakes is the fact these aren’t the worst examples I could find. It’s simply too early in the morning to subject you–or me–to those others.

Then there are the movie remakes that leave anyone with an ounce of sanity and even a passing understanding of business wondering what the hell the powers-that-be were thinking. Among these, you have the Ghostbusters remake.

Who can forget that one? Or forget the way Hollywood railed at us for not loving it because it was “woke” and had female leads. We were evil for not embracing it.

But there’s one remake that’s even worse. Technically, it comes from a TV show, although I seem to remember some of the shows being strung together to make a movie. This particular remake convinced me Hollywood had completely given up on making money and was now in the business of trying to make the worst movie possible. Or perhaps I should say Lone Ranger remakes because there are two that rank at the very top of the worst remakes ever in my mind.

The first was 1981’s The Legend of the Lone Ranger. Not even Jason Robards could save this version.

And let’s not forget 2012’s The Lone Ranger, complete with Johnny Depp wearing a crow on his head.

All of this is leading into yet another “WTF are they thinking?” moment where Hollywood is concerned. You see, yet another remake has been announced. This time, they are taking on one of the true classics of cinematic history. They are going to remake The Wizard of Oz.

Yes, you read that right. Today’s woke–and going broke–Hollywood is going to take us down their version of the yellowbrick road. I don’t know about you, but this is one movie I can already say I’m taking a hard pass on.

Nicole Kassell, who’s been tapped to direct this new version, had this to say. Look at it closely and I think you’ll see why I’m anything but excited by the news:

“While the 1939 musical is part of my DNA, I am exhilarated and humbled by the responsibility of reimagining such a legendary tale,” Kassell said, according to Variety. “The opportunity to examine the original themes – the quest for courage, love, wisdom and home – feels more timely and urgent than ever.”

So, she is going to reimagine the tale.

She’s going to examine the original themes.

Dear sweet lord, save me from this.

If they want to look at Oz and “reimagine” it, why don’t they adapt other of L. Frank Baum’s works? Oh, I know. Because they’ve botched it so badly the other times they tried that the only way they see any money coming in is to bastardize a beloved classic. People will go because they will think it a faithful interpretation of the movie from their childhood.

Wanna take a bet on how bad it will screw that movie up?

I’ll admit I didn’t recognize the director’s name as I read the article announcing the remake. Thankfully, IMDB is there to help. Here’s a link to her page.

Hmm, looking at it I see only one or two movies and a decent number of TV shows. What I don’t see are any titles that come close to the genre Wizard of Oz falls into. I see a lot of crime dramas, a comedy movie, and not much else. While I’m not saying she isn’t up to directing a fantasy tale, I’d sure feel better about it if she’d worked in the genre before taking on what should be the  Herculean effort of remaking WoO.

Worse, I wish I could write this off as nothing more than a creative vacuum in Hollywood. Unfortunately, I have a strong suspicion it is something much more dangerous: an attempt to undermine classics and turn them into nothing more than propaganda tools to spread the word of socialism, wokeness, etc. Hell, for all I know, they are taking their lessons straight from Leni Riefenstahl.

All I know for sure is there is a lot of new and entertaining material out there that could be adapted to movies and TV shows. Instead of destroying beloved films and shows through inept remakes, give us new films to discover and admire and enjoy.

Featured Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay

5 Comments

  1. It’s possible she’s really a fangirl? Basically do like that geek guy who’s in the Iron Man movies and runs Mandalorian? Truly loves the original and will act like it?

    ….

    ….I don’t think it’s likely, either.

  2. OZ has a lot of material to work with, and much of it doesn’t involve Dorothy. There could be a lot of really good possibilities for someone with a little imagination to grow that world into what the books represent. That unfortunately doesn’t include the vast majority of Hollyweird.

  3. How much of this is Hollywood going ultra-risk averse, i.e. the financiers at the top of the tree going “Film H made us a load of money so we want more films like H, while film J made a massive loss, so we won’t make any more films like J”?

    In the long term such a strategy will be a failure because it strips out large swathes of creativity – how many films, books, TV shows etc. that we now consider classics would have failed such a test?

    In the short term this might work (might being the operative word), as long as they remember the importance of quality. After all, a film with a mediocre premise which is written by, directed by and acted by experts will be far superior to a film with an outstanding premise that is put together by nincompoops.

  4. With Jump Street, at least everyone involved clearly knew it was a dumb idea and just leaned into it, even going so far as to kill any future franchise with the sequel’s end credits.
    I think the 80s Lone Ranger failed because they were trying to make a sprawling Godfather style epic drama (as was the style at the time) instead of the fun fast paced action film it might’ve been if done five or ten years later. The more recent version was just rehashing Pirates of the Caribbean.
    I have low expectations for an Oz remake, as it’ll likely lack the heart of the original or even the strangeness of the 80s Return to Oz, let alone the whimsy of the books.

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