What’s Ruining Remakes?


Despite a lackluster reception from critics, 2019’s The Lion King earned over 1.6 million dollars at the box office, making it the highest grossing computer animated movie of all time PHOTO COURTSEY Manuel Franco

Rebecca Wilson, Copy Editor

No matter what enterainment medium you’re a fan of, remakes and reboots are almost impossible to escape.

In the film world, remake announcements have become as predictable as yearly summer action blockbusters. Disney’s animated movies Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella are a few that have been made into live action and CGI (computer-generated imagery) films. 

It’s a similar case for video games. Just this year, we’ve seen remake announcements for games such as Lollipop Chainsaw, and Resident Evil 4.

While there are some genuinely good remakes that improve upon the original, those are few and far between. Most remakes are unnecessary at best and actively bad at worse. 

The problem? An emphasis on hyper-realistic graphics over everything else.

Disney’s 2019 The Lion King is one of the most prominent cases of a remake suffering from an over-emphasis on realism. The exaggerated expressions and lively art style that made the original film so memorable were replaced by CGI animals that, while impressive and incredibly detailed on a technical level, lack the same charm and energy of its iconic predecessor. The end product is ultimately deprived of a real personality.

Hyperealism is one of the biggest draws of remakes. That’s a problem. PHOTO COURTSEYL Manuel Franco

“As someone that grew up with a love for the 2D Disney films, watching the ‘realistic’ version on the big screen never gave me that same happiness that I found in the originals,” says COMPASS senior Alexandra Talavara, the Executive Director of the Millikan Gallery. “I’ve been an artist for my whole life, so seeing the emotion and artistic qualities disappear in the transformation was something that I was particularly unfond of, especially in The Lion King.”

Video game remakes often fall into the same trap. The last decade has seen many remakes of early 3D games, primarily from the Playstation 1 and 2 as well as the original Xbox. An upcoming one, Silent Hill 2, has stirred controversy online regarding its graphics and lighting choices. This shot in particular has people complaining that while the graphics are impressive, it lacks the same weight and horror aesthetic of the original game.

“The entire artistry has been taken down a level,” said one anonymous student when shown a comparison.

“The old one is a lot scarier,” said another. “It has a more haunted vibe with the shadows covering the eyes.”

Again, this isn’t to say that all remakes are bad or even unnecessary. There are legitimate reasons for remakes to be made: for video games, the original game controls may have aged poorly or purchasing the old console system is too expensive. For movies, the original film may have been lost overtime. The problem is not the existence of remakes, but the way that they’ve been made to prioritize realism over everything else. 

It’s almost certain that we’ll be getting more and more remakes in the coming years both in film and in video games. Only time will tell whether this trend of realism over everything will continue to bring down the genre.