There are few topics that get movie fans riled up quite the way the subject of remakes does. Some people don’t mind them and are glad that they get people talking about the original versions again. But then there are others who hate remakes because they could never live up to the original, because they show a lack of creativity, etc.
Personally, I’m not inherently against remakes because sometimes they can be done well. After all, The Maltese Falcon, A Star is Born, The Letter, Waterloo Bridge, The Man Who Knew Too Much are all classics that are best known in their remade forms. Or sometimes the remake offers a twist on the original that helps it to stand on its own. A more modern example of that would be the 2007 version of Hairspray. I really enjoy both versions of Hairspray, but the 2007 version is so different from the original that I tend to think of it independently from the 1988 version.
Even though I’m not totally anti-remake, I can’t help but roll my eyes when I hear that yet another remake is in the works. Most of the time, they just seem so completely and totally unnecessary. King Kong was fine the way it was, we really didn’t need Peter Jackson to come and turn it into a three hour movie. Other times, I think the casting is atrocious. Not too long ago, there was some talk of a remake of The Thin Man starring Johnny Depp as Nick Charles. I do like Johnny Depp, I just think he’s all wrong for the part. The recent news of a remake of A Star is Born starring Beyoncé and directed by Clint Eastwood definitely falls into the “atrocious casting” category for me.
I don’t really have an issue with A Star is Born being remade since, after all, my favorite version of that movie isn’t the original Janet Gaynor version. I’m not even particularly bothered by the idea of Clint Eastwood taking on a musical. Hey, he’s Clint Eastwood, I figure by now he’s earned the right to try directing whatever genre he wants. I just really wish they would have gone with an actual actress to remake it with. What I’ve seen of Beyoncé’s acting has been, at best, pretty mediocre. The other big issue I have with it is that it has all the makings of painfully obvious Oscar bait. All of Eastwood’s recent work has been pretty major Oscar bait and Beyoncé so very desperately wants to be a triple threat, Beyoncé teaming up with Eastwood is the most incredibly desperate ploy to try to win a Best Actress nomination I have ever heard of. It’s like she never got over being upstaged by Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls, which was really supposed to be a vehicle for Beyoncé, so now she’s trying to work with someone the Academy has an awfully hard time saying “no” to. It all just comes off as ridiculously lame to me. And I really hate to use the word “lame” to describe a Clint Eastwood project.