Yes, I’m practically a day late coming to this one. The reason is quite simple: I saw people bitching on Twitter, and I ignored it as some kind of hyperbolic tantrum.
Then I realized it was true (really really true), but by then the Eastwood-Beyonce story broke and I lost my focus.
But hey, we’re talking about it now, and it hasn’t gone away as a story. Combined with that A Star is Born news, it’s even more weirdly relevant. Everyone’s remaking something. That’s all there is to it.
And I can’t really get up in arms about A Star Is Born (which has been remade multiple times) or even about remaking Annie. It is a Broadway show, and has been since 1977. People pay ridiculous amounts of money to see it with new casts. If their kid’s school puts it on, are they going to tell their kid “Sorry, but this was done with Albert Finney, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, and Carol Burnett. There’s no reason to see yours.”?
Then again, I remember coworkers bitching about the 1995 made-for-tv remake so yes, I suppose someone out there does tell their daughter that they’re no Aileen Quinn.
Yeah, I know that’s not what people are really annoyed about. They’re furious that it’s Will Smith remaking it, and that it’s a vehicle for his daughter, Willow Smith. According to Variety, it’s far enough that Jay-Z is collaborating on the music. Sony is staying silent as to whether it’s going to scrap the original songs in favor of new music, or whether or not it will stay in the 1930s. I’m guessing it will be completely updated.
While I admire a parent for supporting his child creatively, it is pretty alarming that he’s essentially picking through beloved old films to fulfill their fantasies. Jaden Smith likes martial arts, ok, we’ll remake The Karate Kid for you. Willow, you like to sing? You want to be Annie? All right, I’ll buy the rights and talk to Jay-Z. I’m not sure any good can come of that, for us or them. Couldn’t he develop original projects for them? Wouldn’t that appeal more to young audiences, instead of offering them a product which is basically the result of a cool rich kid whose dad buys them everything?
(And yes, I realize the majority of children probably saw The Karate Kid without knowing there was an original, or that Mr. Smith had produced it. But with more and more marketing and publicity thrown at young people — and Willow Smith has had more than her brother at this point — how can they continue to avoid it? Kids have a keen sense of jealousy and social standing from a shockingly young age.)
Ah well. More power to the Smiths, I guess. It’s happening and it feels sour and old to criticize it as much as I have. If their kids become superstars and produce awesome films and music, I certainly don’t care. The more of that, the better.
But man, I really want to be in a remake of Space Camp. Dad…?