Feminism is now on its glorious fourth wave, meaning more representation for women. This has not only affected the world of politics and law, it has also affected the box office.
Filmmakers are either remaking beloved classics with all-female casts or they’re casting women into roles predominantly ruled by men. Some of the biggest examples are Ghostbusters (2016) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Additionally, an all-female remake of Ocean’s Eleven (2001) will be released this year and Steven Spielberg has even mused about casting a female Indiana Jones.
Some people are excited about these changes, some not so much. Obviously, there are benefits and drawbacks to these remakes. Without definitively taking a side, let’s examine some of them.
Hollywood isn’t exactly a completely male-dominated industry, but there could obviously be more representation for women. When directors create movies with increased emphasis on strong female leads rather than on male stars, it shows Hollywood’s commitment to change. And, in the case of Ghostbusters, casting a strong woman of color, Leslie Jones, as one of the leads is a giant step forward for diversity.
Diversity may not always be good, but it does bring new faces to old movies, which refreshes franchises and reignites interest. The old generation could share something of theirs with the new generation.
It also provides disadvantaged groups with a chance to see someone who looks like them on-screen. While you may not think that’s super vital for the film industry, many would love to see more of this diversity. Just look at the popularity of Black Panther (2018).
Con: Poor Story Line
One possible detriment to remakes is a poor story line. This effect isn’t confined to female-oriented remakes — it is a characteristic of many well-intentioned remakes and sequels. For example, The Planet of the Apes (2001) had high expectations that it would live up to its 1968 original. Despite spectacular makeup effects, its story line failed miserably.
There’s an argument to be made that when you remake old movies with females, that becomes your story line. Focus on the actual story that everyone is expecting decreases and emphasis on the fact that the lead is a woman increases, something you most likely wouldn’t focus on if the lead was a male. And while it is a step toward diversity, it isn’t exactly an exciting plot line.
Pro: New Role Models
Boys and men have numerous role models to turn to in the cinematic world, but those numbers dwindle significantly when little girls and women look for female role models in Hollywood. While there are a few notable examples — Ripley, Black Widow, Maggie Fitzgerald (Million Dollar Baby (2004)), G.I. Jane — they hardly hold a candle to the dozens and dozens of male leads.
With this new influx of female leads, little girls have even more women to look up to. Women have more female leads they can try to emulate and use as motivation. These new female leads show that girls can do anything boys can do, something every little girl should be told.
Con: Can’t Separate It from the Original
One thing about remakes — they can have a big effect on the original movie. For example, you may associate the remake Red Dawn (2012) with the 1984 original. While you understand the differences between the movies, you still have a hard time seeing certain characters in certain roles, especially if you saw one before the other.
The same thing happens if you recast a movie with a strong female lead or with an all-female cast. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you might have a hard time watching the original without thinking of a certain character in the remake or vice versa. This could essentially ruin the original movie, the remake, or both for you.
Pro: Refreshing Popular Movies
While I personally have my reservations against remakes and sequels, I know they’re still very popular. When movies are remade, people enjoy the nostalgia and the memories they bring. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) came out in theaters, there was a revival that included not only those who’d worshipped the franchise since the beginning, but also new fans.
With more movies being remade with all-female casts or with strong female leads, people will get to relive their favorite movies all over again. It will generate enthusiasm in the film world and rejuvenate old fandoms, bringing in younger people and creating happy communities.
Con: Fandom Fighting
However, remaking an old movie or adding sequels could be viewed as tainting the original and produce the opposite effect. Kind of like how franchise prequels affect how you view the original — such as The Godfather II (1974) — these new remakes and sequels could affect how people see the original movies. While it could generate a sense of togetherness in the fandom, it could also create friction.
Having fighting within a fandom is never productive and it ruins the franchise and experience for everyone else. If old movies are remade with female leads, this kind of infighting could occur.
There are good aspects and bad aspects of remaking old films with all-female casts or with female leads. Some of the benefits are a rejuvenated franchise, more role models for women, and more diversity in a predominantly male Hollywood. However, some of the drawbacks are that it can create fighting within fandoms, taint the original, and the plot lines could be weak.
Whatever side you’re on, just know that there will be more of them. Hollywood loves two things: voicing its opinions and creating sequels and remakes.
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on all-female remakes/sequels or remakes/sequels with female leads? Comment down below!
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