In 1903, one of the first films to actually feature a narrative, “The Great Train Robbery,” was released and became a huge success. It was so popular that one year later it spawned a remake that wasn’t nearly as well-received. Looks like Hollywood still hasn’t learned its lesson.

I wouldn’t say orginial ideas in Tinseltwon have finally died off; there were a few original concepts released this year that I found particularly interesting. “Insidious,” “Hall Pass” and “Drive Angry” were all original stories that proved writers still had some juice left in them. The problem is that for every one original movie, we get a dozen remakes and sequels.

“Arthur,” “Fright Night,” “Straw Dogs” and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” are all remakes of classic films released this year. If they were financially successful maybe I’d understand why studios continue releasing these movies. But none of them are.
Not to say that no remake has done well. “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” both had very successful opening weekends, but then plummeted after people realized they weren’t good at all.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I actually enjoy some of these — but I don’t need them. I have the originals and I’m OK with that. Most of the movies being remade had an underlying commentary about society at the time, and all of that is being traded for a bigger budget and, in the case of horror, more gore.

I think the movie industry’s biggest sin in regards to remakes is the American adaptation. You’ve probably seen the trailer for David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” And even though it’s one hell of a trailer, I can’t help but wonder why it’s being made.

The Swedish original was released just over two years ago and was a huge international success, raking in over $100 million dollars in total box office. But American studios didn’t see a dime of that so we’re going to release our own version and hope the world is willing to see it again. I have no doubt it will be extremely successful in the states — it does have Fincher and Daniel Craig attached — but I have my doubts about how well the film will do internationally.

It’s a shame, really. Several more American adaptations are in the works, including “Oldboy” and “I Saw the Devil.” Both of these are Korean thrillers swerving into horror at times. If you’ve seen either one of these films you know that there is no way an American version will be anywhere near as good as the original. I’ve already read the script treatment for “I Saw the Devil,” and even with the potential star power of Edward Norton and John Cusack, it just doesn’t come close to being as powerful as the original.

The sad truth is, I’ll probably go and see all of them. I love movies, and my curiosity will always win. However, if they ever remake “The Godfather,” I’ll burn that city down.