The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

Mean Girls: Do We Really Need More Remakes?

Mean Girls is coming out on January 12, 2024. Released a mere 20 years after the original movie, it is intended as nostalgia bait for thirty-year-olds as well as an attempt to transfer the musical to the big screen. (As if teenage girls didn’t devour the slime tutorials already. God bless piracy.)

If you didn’t know there was a musical, I’m honestly impressed. Congrats on not having it shoved down your throat by your friends in middle school. I escaped relatively unscathed, only having listened to the soundtrack in preparation for writing this. A mediocre plot and soundtrack lend themselves to something greater than the sum of their parts, making for a musical that is…fine.

The original Mean Girls movie was more than a cult classic; it was a cultural phenomenon. The movie managed to be funny in an absurdist way while simultaneously evoking the feeling of “Hey, wait. That happened to me!!!” Watching it is still relatable today; the American high school experience still perseveres twenty years later. That isn’t a long time by any means, but there have been several changes to the high school landscape since the original film. To Ms. Tina Fey, the creator of the film’s screenplay, this warrants a reboot – mainly the inclusion of smartphones and social media to the idyllic Thunderdome landscape. This reboot promises to make the musical more accessible to fans and provide a modern take on the (admittedly, quite modern) classic saying, “This isn’t your mother’s Mean Girls.”

Looking at the trailer, one wouldn’t see many major changes from the original movie (other than a significantly less attractive Aaron). In fact, the first trailer seems to disguise the fact it is a musical at all. There is, however, one unsightly change from the original movie: TikTok.

To me, adding phones or social media into a movie in order to relate to teenagers is incredibly tacky. Imagine I wanted to broaden my audience to adults, so I started writing about taxes. No one wants that. Just as I don’t know the horrors of getting audited, adults don’t understand how children experience the internet. “Going viral” happens quickly and easily in modern films, functioning as either a cheap deus ex machina to fix the poor life of some sad kid or to bring dishonor onto their entire family. None of which are unfounded claims; these things do happen. However, it’s the execution of these ideas that forces bile up my throat. It never feels as explored as the director thinks it is; it feels thoughtless and shoehorned.

If not an accurate depiction of the high school experience of the 2020s, what purpose does it serve? Maybe if it can’t accomplish that, we can at least expect it to show a more diverse high school experience than the original movie. The cast of the original was mostly white, only using people of color as cheap punchlines to jokes. They lacked the complexity that modern audiences expect.

Even then, I worry the new movie will fall flat in that sense as well. From viewing the trailer, one can see that there are people of color featured in the film. Credit where credit’s due, it is cool that the singing voice of Moana, Aul’i Cravalho, plays Janis. Janis, in both the original film and the musical, had a significant role in the film and was a pretty nuanced character, which is a nice break from the trend of the one-dimensional side characters comprising the diversity in film. The other people of color are cast as the sassy gay best friend and the…stupid…best friend. We can only hope that this version gives them a more nuanced characterization.

Do these half-baked factors really warrant a new movie? Does it deserve a movie based on the musical? It’s cool that they’re bringing the musical experience to the screen. But even still, if we’re keeping track, this is a movie based on the musical based on the movie…based on the book. Do we really need this? I don’t know. I feel upset at all the reboots and remakes and sequels and…I guess beating the dead horse DOES get old. Who’d’ve thunk?

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About the Contributor
Catherine Walsh, Staff Writer
Catherine Walsh is a very sleepy sophomore who, despite her fatigue, loves the kick in the teeth that is theater and the great community that is the GSA. Catherine enjoys shouting her opinion out to the masses, so she finds the General Consensus a splendid place to blow off steam. She also loves her cat.

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