Every few years, we get an unfortunate trend in cinema that is just a blight on everything. This thing gets popular and makes money and for a while becomes critic proof and succeeds regardless of low quality.
In the 80s, it was the constant slasher sequels. Nightmare on Elm Street 1? Great. 2 is a misfire, but 3 was really good! Okay, we're done though, right? NOPE! We got three more to go. By the end of it, Freddy was a shadow of his former self, and the franchise was like a patient on life support that they were desperately trying to keep alive with one dumb idea after another. But they kept making money, so more more MORE! Virtually every horror franchise of the 80s got put through the ringer with sequel after sequel after sequel: Halloween, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and on and on and on. However, this trend was still forgivable to a degree because this was the era where horror was really complemented by amazing practical effects, so amidst all the bad sequels, we still had new and fresh ideas for the genre pop up, and even the remakes were really good (The Fly, The Blob, and The Thing).
In the 90s, it was the disaster movies. Independence Day was a huge hit, and all of a sudden, we got bombarded with these things. Deep Impact, Armageddon, Twister, and so on and so on. By the end of it, I'd pretty much seen every major landmark on Earth get destroyed. Granted, these weren't quite as annoying as some of the other major trends. The movies were kind of bland though.
In the 00s, it was the death of comedy as the parody movies took over. The Scary Movies, followed up by Date Movie, Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, and on and on and on. The few I did see were some of the unfunniest movies I have ever seen in my life, and its damage is still being felt today as classic movie parodies like what Mel Brooks did in the best years of his career no longer exist. But for a while, they were the in thing and they inexplicably made money. Granted they were cheap to make, so they didn't have to make much, but for a while, it kept working for people and I don't get why.
Then by the end of the decade, we saw the rise of Michael Bay's Transformers and Twilight, both of which made tons of money despite critical slashings and even vocal movie goers calling them some of the worst movies ever made. To Twilight's credit, I think the people making those realized that was a fad, so they got those things out there FAST, but for a while there were all these shameless knockoffs of it that were hysterical. When I saw modern and moody romantic takes on Snow White and Red Riding Hood getting released, I almost lost my mind with laughter. But Transformers got trashed by critics entry after entry, but kept working and making money. I remember when I saw Age of Extinction's box office for the opening weekend and my jaw dropped. Transformers sort of started a bunch of trends that we still see in big blockbusters today, which is a whole other thing, but it was a series that was undefeatable for a while and inspired some knockoffs, but we seem to have finally moved past it.
And that brings us to today. What is the blight on cinema today? Well, in a broader sense, it is the sequels and reboots. I swear to God, you couldn't pay me to watch another Alien, Predator, or Terminator film. Those franchises peaked decades ago and I am beyond done. But to be fair, some remakes and sequels and reboots have actually worked for me (Planet of the Apes, the Creed movies, and the Monsterverse). However, for me, in a more specific sense, the worst of the bunch are the live action Disney remakes because god help me, it is the laziest freaking thing I have ever seen in my life.
They are literally just making weaker versions of movies we liked as kids, and cashing in on nostalgia, and it freaking works. I hate to see laziness rewarded, but for right now, Disney is getting away with it. Dumbo didn't do well, and neither did Pete's Dragon (probably the only one of the bunch so far that warranted a remake), but that's because those are the wrong ones to remake for general audiences today. See the 90s kids are going gaga for the ones they experienced as kids (Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, etc.) and the ones with the princesses in them (Cinderella, Maleficent/Sleeping Beauty, etc.). For right now, those movies are guaranteed hits, and I simply don't get it. I guess a large part of it is parents taking their kids to see something they saw as kids, but I'd advise all of those parents to just stay at home and watch the originals with their kids. They get a better experience and you get to spend time with your kids. (SideNote: God I can't wait until I have kids and start showing them Godzilla and the original Transformers animated film, lol). I'm just thankful that my favorite one, The Great Mouse Detective, will NEVER get remade. No money to be made there. It helps to like the underappreciated one sometimes.
Maybe I'm just too cynical, but if something is going to be remade, I'd rather get a different experience from it. You're making Little Mermaid? Make something closer to the original story (LOL!, no way Disney will do that). Want to remake Beauty and the Beast? Instead of remaking the Disney film, why not make something closer to the classic story? Want to remake Aladdin, why not set it in China like the original tale or better yet, why not make an Arabian Night's anthology film that also works in Ali Baba and a couple of other classic stories? Or why not remake some of your previous failures? Remake The Black Cauldron (or Chronicles of Prydain) and see if you can get it right this time. (supposedly they are, but I'll believe it when I see it). I actually kind of like what I've seen from Mulan so far. They aren't banking on nostalgia, but rather making a straight war movie, and that kind of works for me.
My point is, I'd rather see real creativity and effort put into this things, rather than just putting sprinkles on top of yesterday's leftovers and telling me it is a new dish.