Faux female film remakes

Lucy Tu, Co-Editor-in-Cheif

As I sit in the Village Pointe movie theater, eagerly awaiting the start of “Avengers: Endgame”, movie trailers flicker by on the screen. One film called “The Hustle”, starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, gets laughs from the audience. The movie is a female-led remake of the late 1980s movie “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”.

A few days later, while mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, a clip from the recent film “Ocean’s 8” pops up on my explore page. The movie is also a gender-swapped reboot of the original movie series starring George Clooney. Right below that clip is a sneak peek of the upcoming “Men In Black” sequel, featuring a woman in the leading role. Immediately after noting this clip, I see another from the 2016 female reboot of “Ghostbusters”.

The comment sections of all three posts are littered with angry fans of the classic films, arguing that this overload of female-lead movies is ruining Hollywood’s traditional films. A quick Google Search of “all-female remakes” produces a plethora of results.

Like any avid movie-watcher who loves to procrastinate, I settle in and watch film after film. Afterwards, I’m left with a feeling of discomfort that’s not just because of my buttered popcorn binge.

But before you assault me with accusations of betraying my own gender, let me clarify that I’m all for women in leading roles. The 2017 film “Wonder Woman”, starring Gal Gadot, is easily one of my favorite films of all time. Admittedly, this is partially because it features a powerful, resourceful woman who embodies strength, while also displaying “feminine” emotions without being shamed for doing so.

However, my love and the positive critical reception of this film goes far beyond simply having the main character be a female. Wonder Woman is complex and captivating, as any leading character should be, and she has an equally well-constructed plotline and team of supporting characters to assist her. Moreover, while the film focuses on female empowerment and gender roles, it doesn’t slap you across the face with it to ensure that you understand “this is a feminist movie!”

The issue is that many recent films emphasize a facade of ‘female empowerment’, by splashing famous female celebrities on movie posters or even making crude jokes at the expense of men, simply to capitalize on a progressive movement toward representation in media.

Under the guise of furthering this cause, film companies attempt to make a profit, trivializing the importance of gender representation. After all, out of all the recent films boasting female representation in Hollywood, only a few, including “Wonder Woman”, were actually directed by women when only 4% of directors are female. Using gender representation as clickbait without actually making strides to support it is hypocritical at best and detrimental to the movement at worst.

Each badly-made film becomes another reason why “female movies just don’t work”, when in reality, it’s the film companies’ greed that creates a bad movie, not the female representation. Essentially, film companies profit, and the audience suffers.

All this isn’t to say that we must boycott female-lead movies, far from it. What we do have to do is fight for proper empowerment in well-funded, well-produced films. We must advocate for female representation, not just in acting roles, but in direction, production, and composition. Above all, we must give women their own storylines, so we can redefine tradition within the media.