With the warmth of summer rapidly coming to an end and the fall wind blowing up our skirts just a little too far for comfort, I find it appropriate to document some movies from our summer. Like the wind, these movies seemed comforting, but when put together, raged out of control.

No, I’m not alluding to your apparent connection to Steve Carell in “The-40-year-Old-Virgin,” but rather, the trend of movie remakes, and the conversion of television shows to film.

“Bad News Bears,” which has only grossed about $33 million in the box office, steals its plot and title from its preceding four films that premiered between 1976 and 1979. The film dropped the original “the,” which began the titles, so I guess we owe the writers some acknowledgement for creativity.

Next, “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” which made its debut as “The Love Bug” in 1969, had not only experienced four major motion pictures before Lindsay Lohan presented her emaciated self on the screen, but a TV series and a Disney movie as well. Maybe the six pre-existing forms of Herbie should have been left at that.

“The Dukes of Hazard” is perhaps my favorite we-have-already-seen-this-before film of the summer. It not only relies on the success of the TV series that ran from 1979 to 1988, but the series itself was based on the 1975 film, “Moonrunners.” I personally don’t feel as if I live in a time warp on a day-to-day basis, but judging from this summer’s films, it appears that we have lost all inspiration for creativity and have thus turned back to the more stimulating ’70s.

The “Skeleton Key” and “War of the Worlds,” grossing around $46 million and $233 million respectively, also borrow their ideas from preexisting screenplays and motion pictures. Although “War of the Worlds” is stylistically impressive, its restated premise is boring for those seeking original material.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the highest grossing film of summer remakes, has earned nearly $304 million in the box office. While the movie borrows most of its plot from the original 1971 “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” it incorporates the idea of the post-modern fragmented family, allowing it to better connect with today’s youth.

Although the song and dance routines changed, and the Oopma Loompas have a different name and skin complexion, the film did not take its previous success for granted.

I have always struggled with the concept that there are no new ideas, just reincarnations of old ones, but after this summer’s box office disappointments, I am learning to admit its validity – at least in Hollywood.

Katz can be reached at jkatz@campustimes.org.



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