Is Nollywood Ready for Remakes?
In 1991, Zack Orji made his debut in the Igbo subtitled film or 'home video' as it was mainly called then- Unforgiven Sin. This was then followed by other Igbo films, some subtitled, some not; Frame Up, The Sorrows of Ken, Nneka The Pretty Serpent, Betrayal, Living In Bondage.
More came: Mortal Inheritance, Full Moon, Daybreak, Deady Affair, Fatal Desire, Sakobi the Snake Girl, Domitilla, Glamour Girls, Onome, Broken Chord, Body of Vengeance, Violated, Homeless, Rattle Snake, True Confession, Silent Night, Pam Pam, Yesterday, Tears For Love, Dry Leaves, The Child, King of My Country... the list is endless. Once Yoruba films stopped having a monotony in the country's film industry- we had a lot more to choose from to be entertained, the good and the not so good.
Now, while Nollywood is going steady and getting better with more films getting out of the usual formula of obvious plot holes and predictable storylines- there has been a particular observation on Youtube. A smattering of 'vintage Nollywood films' was uploaded some time back, the 'pioneer home videos' that established what we now know as Nollywood. And underneath some of these videos, were the following comments-
-Just enjoying myself with old movies...cos I don't understand new movies anymore
-Unfortunately, Nollywood don't make great movies like this anymore. This is a wonderful story. I miss our best artistes but it is an honour to have known them.
- This movie is dope! the vocabulary and acting is so on point. I feel like I am in the national theatre watching this live. please bring back the days of good movies
- Real Nolly 4 real... Don't know what's really happening now in the industry
Please, guys where are you hiding... come and save the future generation... Things are getting out of hand biko
Based on these comments, the Nigerian audience are those who remember or half-remember these movies and feel nostalgic. And why not; how many people don't love the old school films they watched as children, which can be found in TCM: The Sound of Music, The NeverEnding Story, Ben Hur, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz etc and say the same thing... 'they don't make 'em like these anymore.'
Hollywood has been known to re-release their vintage movies from the 1930s to the 1990s but these days, they have also been churning out remakes- some quite good, others an insult to the original. Some classics films ARE NOT meant to be touched at all.
But we aren't talking about Hollywood.
Based on the youtube comments above- a lot of people feel our vintage films are a lot better than the ones we have now and long to revisit them. The obvious solution is for the producers/directors of these classics to re-release them on DVD, there are SO many vintage Nollywood tucked away somewhere; remembered or half-forgotten by fans and unknown to the younger generation.
And yet, another question comes up... what about remakes?
Is Nollywood ready for the remake phase? Should some of our vintage Nollywood films be remade? Yes. While some say the vintage Nollywood films are better than the present, not all of them are- some could use with a better re-telling, tuned up dialogue, better visual and audio presentation and have a better ending; acted of course by a new cast. Those are the ones that should have a remake, if Nigerian filmmakers do decide to embark on it. The much better and memorable ones should be the ones left untouched, BUT should be re-released on DVD or Blu-ray; imagine the mad scramble for those old films and the profit that could be made!
Let's not rely on what we can get on Youtube or some other streaming platform. We need those old films back, in the proper way. And it would a great way to pay tribute to the artistes, producers and directors of past Nollywood.
Comments are more than welcome.