The recently released Ghostbusters remake was emblematic of an odd phenomenon.
Dating back almost to when the movie, featuring female leads instead of the original’s guy cast, was first announced, a vocal group of fans was offended that it even existed. Without having seen even a frame of footage, some commenters were willing to declare that the mere existence of this film somehow ruined their childhood.
Frankly, if a movie has the power to retroactively degrade your youth, there are problems at play bigger than Hollywood’s penchant for unoriginality.
You don’t have to be thrilled about a new version of something you loved. But that is the world we live in. Sooner or later everything will be remade, rebooted, re-imagined, repurposed or re-somethinged. It’s unavoidable. Studios are spending unimaginable sums on movie productions. While fans might wish for original ideas, the fact is that a pre-sold brand is a significant marketing advantage. The “re” train will only pick up speed from here.
That’s not to say that you can’t compare a new version of something to the original. Of course you should. Any discussion of a remake would be incomplete without such a contrast. A handful of remakes will be quite good, maybe even excellent. Others will be absolutely wretched. The majority will fall somewhere between.
You’re not required to like a new version of any piece of pop culture you once enjoyed. If you’ve experienced the new one and don’t like it, that’s your right. That doesn’t mean it’s morally offensive for a new version to exist.
We live in an age where most entertainment is highly accessible, even decades after it first appeared. Movies, television, books, music, graphic novels, computer games. The version you like is probably still available to you. A new take doesn’t degrade what you liked about the original. You have the option of ignoring the remake if you don’t think it’s a good idea.
But insisting that the mere existence of a new version is an assault on your cherished memories is a bit much. Especially when you haven’t even seen the new version yet. Feel free to roll your eyes at the entertainment industry’s lack of originality. Bemoan the endless recycling.
But don’t take it as a personal attack. Your childhood is still there. A new Ghostbusters hasn’t wiped it out.