Don't mess with Willy Wonka - Greg Gelpi

Two words: New Coke.

Enough said. That should suffice to make my argument, but a column is more than two words, so I will elaborate.

Only on very few occasions should the original be tampered with either through a remake or an imitation, and those instances are by far the exception, rather than the rule.

To my extreme disappointment the rumors I have been hearing were verified Sunday as my girlfriend Nancy and I watched television.

What I had hoped to be mere farce was actually true, the Hollywood folks with their Prada bags (from Milan, not New York) of creativity and originality, have decided to desecrate one of my all-time favorite movies, that being Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Whether Tim Burton, the director of the remake, is out for the quick buck or his ego tells him deceptively that he can top the original, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that he has spun a new version of the classic tale with his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and that some feats, such as this, shouldn't be attempted.

Perhaps, one of today's artists should recreate the Mona Lisa?

And what was the lesson Coke learned from tinkering with its original? But, lo, history has a fondness of repeating itself as do the story lines and movie plots of the Hollywood elite.

Watching the movie trailer, Nancy declared that she would never see the movie. It was just that blunt and that simple.

"Why?" I had to ask.

Because the original was "perfect," she responded.

And with all of the so-called brilliance and free-spirited creative juices of Hollywood we see a feature-length remake of The Dukes of Hazzard with Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg and The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler remaking the Reynolds character.

As in word association, when I hear Boss Hogg, I think of a robust, rather portly, figure with a drumstick in each hand and a face full of grease. I don't think the same of Reynolds, who is known for his macho man's man roles in movies.

And how about replacing Reynolds with Sandler in The Longest Yard? Sandler did play a little football as Bobby Boucher in The Waterboy, but beyond that he doesn't fit the role of a hardened prison inmate football player and actually doesn't match the persona of Reynolds.

Sadly, though, Hollywood will continue to butcher movies all in quest of the almighty dollar and every penny that goes along with.

Slapping together a remake is cheaper and easier than actually writing and producing an original work as the Veruca Salts of Hollywood have discovered.

Granted, some remakes are OK on occasion and some even top the original. For instance, Jimi Hendrix's song All Along the Watchtower. But, those are few and far between and the movies I have mentioned I venture to say won't be one of these rare occurrences.

Let me wipe the dust off of a New Coke and toast to less than stellar ticket sales to all movie remakes, but particularly that of Willy Wonka.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.