Film Epidemic

Remakes in film have existed almost as long as movies themselves as of recently there seems to be an influx of them. Prequels and sequels can add to the world of a story, reboots can do the same as well reintroducing a new generation of people to the world. As for remakes, how many retellings of a story do you need before it becomes redundant? Are these movies truely to provide new perspective and entertainment to an audience or just easy cash for the entertainment industry to make?


This large increase of revamping older movies and TV shows could make sense for a world coming out of a pandemic and hoping for a bit of the familiarity and comfort that was given in their favorite childhood films. It however doesn’t make sense why most of these films change nothing about the original material and simply just copy and paste it into a more modern lense. 


Of course people would hold the material that they grew up with close to them but simply making a watered down version of something people once loved isn’t anything but profiting off people’s nostalgia. Films that dare to change aspects from the original usually taking away the main idea or what made the original material what it was. One example of this could be Netflix’s “Fate the Winx Saga”. Many people disliked the TV series because it took away the original “Winx Club’s” fun and bright aesthetics with a dark and dull one. 


Many remakes and adaptations also change the race of characters. One recent example many probably know is the Disney “The Little Mermaid” remake. When changing the race of the characters many writers choose to either show People of color (POC) characters experiences with their race and how the world treats them, because of this, it is usually wrongfully depicting their experiences or ignore the characters race, creating an unrealistic story. 


The 2nd method however can work in certain contexts. Films don’t need to be realistic if realness isn’t what it’s trying to convey. This can be shown in the beginning of Netflix’s “Bridgerton”. In the beginning of the series it seems as if a version of our history where there is a black Queen Charlotte and nobles who are other people of color. This of course wouldn’t have been believed to be realistic. The fantasy alternate history many fans believed the “Bridgerton” universe to be was sadly proven wrong once the characters later revealed that black people were only let into their society because the king fell in love with a black woman. This makes the show extremely unrealistic, because there is no way two people falling in love would erase centuries of racism. 


This not only calls to question the authenticity of these films but also the treatment of POC in film and TV itself. Many POC characters are put into stereotypes such as “the angry/strong black women”, “the model minority” and “spicy Latina”. 


In a lot of media black and brown people are portrayed as dangerous thugs or must go through some type of horrific trauma because of storytelling. Films like “Roots”, “12 Years a Slave”, and “Precious”, aka black trauma films are meant to give white audiences a lens into black experiences and the struggles they go through. These films are filled with subjects of police brutality and slavery which are part of our countries cultures but these films are just  highly exploitative, yet they still get tons of viewings and awards. These films allow white audiences to get off on white guilt and the belief that this doesn’t happen anymore. Despite these facts many of these films romanticize relationships between racist and their victims or the abusers in general such as many people’s response to Netflix’s Dahmer series. 


TV series like Netflix’s “Elite” wrongfully portray Muslim woman as docile and there culture as totally old fashioned and backwards for wanting to wear hijabs constantly encouraging them to take of their hijabs and making blatant islamophobic remarks, mostly for the sake of feminism.


Another’s community that has been constantly misrepresented in film is the LGBTQ+ community. Despite many advancements in social and political change in the past few years for LGBTQ+ people, portrayals of them are still extremely saturated and filled with stereotypes. One most prominently being “the gay best friend”.


Very few films are also able to accurately portray the younger generations. For years millennials have been portrayed as lazy and self obsessed, and Gen Z are totally technologically obsessed and are all extremely woke. Most characters also sound as if the writers have never heard a teenager speak in their lives. One recent example of this can be seen in Netflix’s “Ginny and Georgia”. Many people when watching the show believed the show’s dialogue to be extremely “cringy”. One of its most viral quotes “oppression Olympics” was under a lot of criticism during the show’s debut.


Films are meant to show people’s experiences and provide a form of escape from reality. Doesn’t everyone deserve to be rightfully represented? Continuing to make the same carbon copy of previous films is just boring and lazy work. So of course seeing dozens of little girls on TikTok reacting to seeing a black Ariel is extremely sweet and wholesome, would these feelings not be here if it was for the creation of a new black princess instead of a remade one?


Disney and many other companies have both the money and creative staff to make new characters that can represent different groups. They’ve done it successfully in the past so why should we accept this lackluster material from them now. Instead of accepting the same retelling of stories that the entertainment industry has continued to shove down our throats we should stop accepting such mediocrity out of our entertainment. We should discourage film makers from continuing to make the same tired stories and offensive tropes, and encourage new creatives to make their way in this industry and to create new and fresh material with good representation.