Could watching the remake before the original mean you like it more?

I hate the thought of remakes for no reason than to cash-in on a previous movie’s success. Recent examples would be Point Break, Robocop and although not released yet, you arguably Ghostbusters. These movies didn’t need to be remade or re-imagined or rebooted but have been nevertheless and to mixed responses and success. Robocop’s remake was pale in comparison to it’s original. Point Break annoyed a lot of the original’s fans (although I actually prefer it, more on that later) while the fury surrounding anything to do with Ghostbusters means it is on to a loser before it even hits the cinemas.

Is this our problem though? Do we watch a movie with a preconceived notion of what it will be like and then adjust our expectation accordingly? Since I started writing reviews for movies I have watched every film, no matter how awful I think it looks or is going to be, with the philosophy that every film starts as 5 stars and then loses that (or maintains) as it progresses. I know I will find that difficult with Ghostbusters because I loved the original but there are some who won’t.

People have already decided to hate on the new Ghostbusters

There are people who will view the new, Paul Feig directed Ghostbusters as their first Ghostbusters movie. They will have no affinity with the original, won’t get the cameos, in-jokes, past references or anything pertaining to the Dan Aykroyd classics. Without any preconceived notions, they may love the new Ghostbusters. They may love the characters, enjoy the jokes and get a kick out of the special effects.

This could also go one step further. They may even prefer the remake/reboot. If the new Ghostbusters is your first Ghostbusters and you go back and watch the originals, you may find the effects (shush, whisper it) dated, the comedy archaic and the plot too similar to the new one, but because you’ve watched that first, you prefer it!

I prefer the Point Break remake

This has happened with me specifically. Before watching the recent remake, I had heard great thing about the original 1991 Point Break movie starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. I watched the remake first though and actually enjoyed it, loving the action and the stunts even if the plot was poor. Imagine my horror when I watched the original and found that the stunts were lackluster, the characters poorly written and the plot worse than the new version. I watched the remake with no preconceived notions and subsequently enjoyed it more.

If a film is remade for the right reasons and the update in technology or the chance to rectify poor mistakes from the first can be utilised, then it should be heralded as a better movie. Nobody could have predicted the success of the live-action Jungle Book remake and as much as I love the animated original, I wasn’t so caught-up with emotion for the first that I couldn’t see the benefits of the technology for the remake. I prefer Jon Favreau’s movie because it is more immersive, more serious and actually feels like a child among animals.

The new Jungle Book is an example of how effective remakes can be

If we take a step further back and imagine that the first time you see Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book on-screen is the 2016 remake, you will struggle to go back to the Disney, animated original. Recent effects over-shadow the animated movie of before and could very well mean you prefer the new one, or even worse, dislike the original.

Of course, this doesn’t work for every remake. Robocop was remade with a more toned down plot, a worse looking main character and all the bite and satire removed from the movie. There may be people who like the new Robocop but after watching the original, it would be hard to see anyone preferring the remake. I could be wrong though.

Nothing could save the Robocop remake

Maybe the lesson to take away from this is that we need to watch movies with an open mind and appreciate what a remake is trying to do. If it is trying to bring an older movie to a fresh audience, that is a good thing. If it is updating the tired effects of an older film, that works too. Righting past wrongs in terms of plot or other movie elements is also a good idea. With Ghostbusters hitting cinemas at the end of next month and other classics like The Magnificent Seven getting remakes, maybe this will help our enjoyment and their success.

Overall, the order you watch a movie and it’s remake can affect your enjoyment and that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. A movie will always benefit from being viewed with an open mind and no preconceived notions. That means that when Ghostbusters hits cinemas at the end of next month, maybe audiences who love the original should try pretending like it is their first experience of the supernatural-battling foursome. You never know, maybe you’ll enjoy it.

How do people feel about this remake?

7 thoughts on “Could watching the remake before the original mean you like it more?

  1. There’s definitely something to be said for a remake/reboot being somebody’s “first.” On a similar note, I remember hearing that a lot of the people who actually like the Star Wars prequels are kids who hadn’t experienced the original trilogy yet (though I still say : “Trade negotiations! Just what every 5-year-old cares about!”). The big haters of them were the mega fans of the OT.

    I also think your Point Break anecdote is…on point. Nostalgia goggles can be pretty strong, and if you remember something being great, I think a lot of people will continue to think it’s great until they’re smacked in the face with it again, only (in some cases) to realize that “great” for a kid isn’t quite the same as “great” for an adult.

    1. Definitely. The nostalgia goggles is definitely a whole different door to what people love. There are plenty of movies I loved as a kid which I struggle to sit through now and others I’ll avoid because I love it so much I don’t want that memory tainted.

      I hadn’t thought about the Star Wars prequels. That would have been another great example.

  2. I asked this question when watching the Old Boy remake because of how shocking the original was how could someone enjoy remake,

    On a side note i did enjoy parts of Robocop remake even after being a fan of the original, i liked how it tried to use the idea of technology not too far away to create the robocop.

    I have found from my own experience that certain films mainly horror work because they try to embrace the modern style of horror making themselves different vision of remakes.

    After last year it seems to be the reboot sequel rather than remake which is working well though you look at Mad Max, Creed, Jurassic World (Not perfect i know) compared to Fan4stic

    1. Reboot sequels seem to be an easy fix for the issues of the past and that could well be a post for another day. You are also right about the way they remake horror movies although I think this struggles somewhat.

  3. There are quite a few remakes that I like better than the originals and I still like the originals too. Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Maniac 2012, are 3 that I can think of off hand. I think the trailer for the new Ghostbusters is just awful as is the humor…there wasn’t one funny part in the trailer, all the punchlines fall flat.

    1. I’m in the camp (although a relatively small one) that actually quite likes the new Ghostbuster trailers. I think they offer what will be the general vibe and feel of the movie and I wouldn’t have expected anything different considering who the director and stars are.

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