Explore the way directors like Peter Jackson or Rob Zombie have made remakes of films that inspired them in the past (like King Kong and Halloween respectively), and discuss what might happen if this became as prevalent of a trend in literature. What if Stephen King rewrote The Lord of the Rings? Or Chuck Palahniuk rewrote The Great Gatsby? Why do film directors get this creative urge while authors seemingly don’t?
This has a relationship to Seth Grahame-Smith and his books on Abraham Lincoln and Pride and Prejudice both confronting zombies. – Joseph Cernik5 years ago
I guess many authors don't like their characters being re-written in a fashion they do wish to. This is one of the reason why many authors kill their characters before they are being incarnated in someone else's novel. Though it's a heart-wrenching move for the fans of the franchise, but it's a necessary evil to be executed so that the character is not re-written posthumously, after the writer's death. You can of course buy the copyright from the original writer. There is an author by the name of Tilly Bagshawe, who bought the copyright from Sidney Sheldon and has apparently written sequels to his books – Azira101phale5 years ago
Perhaps the fact that more passion goes in to writing a novel due to creating images with words and therefore more work is done to create these images. Whereas, with development in technology and the ability to visualize images there is always room for improvement with films. – Indigo Jones5 years ago
This would be an interesting thought piece, for sure. I think books have the advantage of allowing readers to make their own movies in their heads, so we don't need or want remakes as much. Each director can have his/her own vision for how a movie should look, sound, etc., and each one is free to portray that vision.
This doesn't cover plots, though. If Stephen King rewrote The Lord of the Rings, it might end with Frodo cowering in a corner muttering "my precious" as Sam stands over him tearfully. As I said, an interesting thought piece. I would definitely enjoy reading this. – noahspud5 years ago
With the release of the live-action version of the popular anime based off a popular manga, and the negative reviews already flooding out, should we judge remakes off originals, treat them separately, or perhaps a little bit of both?
You could expand your suggestion for this topic to include a few examples (I'm sure you must have one or two in mind) and perhaps also include references to any particular genre (or genres), as we can't really place all anime features based on mangas in the same basket. One size doesn't necessarily fit all. It would also be worth considering what a live action remake might bring to the original story and whether some elements might indeed work better in a live action setting. There's also the sensitive subject of 'whitewashing' characters for a Western audience, such as Scarlett Johansson's casting as Major Kusanagi in the recent (and in my opinion, very poor) live action remake of G.I.T.S.. Compare this to the casting of Mana Ashida in the live action remake of 'Usagi Drop' (2011), which had been deliberately adapted to remove certain questionable elements in the original manga story. I mention these two remakes (or adaptations) particularly for the different approaches used by their directors - the former was heavilly scripted, whereas the latter had a loose script that permitted a certain amount of experimentation and ad-libbing from the actors, creating a more natural feel to the developing relationships. – Amyus6 years ago
I'm not sure if this is a case of "should we." People are going to judge remakes by originals, adaptations by books, and so on. It's human nature. I think the actual question, as you mentioned here, is *how* to best judge. – Stephanie M.6 years ago
I think I agree a lot with Stephanie. My main focus for this question I posed revolved around the idea that people deliberately shy away from remakes if they are fans of the original. Different art forms allow for very different ways of telling stories, and I think a lot of the time (if not nearly all), remakes do do a poor job of retelling stories due to not finding the right balance of keeping original content and creating new content. Is it up to the audience to be open to new ideas in an already created universe or up to the creators to develop and expand on that same universe. – Zoinks6 years ago
We should because that is what it is based on. There are a lot of movies who do sequels and cant follow the original movie because of copyright laws. They should name it something different. – seniorhomecare6 years ago
I think for a viewer, it comes down to how they watch a film/show. Some people might not be familiar with the original property and will be unbiased going in while others who have seen it will have an expectation (maybe they want to see something that aligns with the original or a new take on it). I think for the viewer it's all subjective. For the creator of the new property, they need to know going in that this is a known story with strong supporters so justice needs to be done to the material (whether they take it in a new direction or not). I think this is most successful when the new creator has a connection with the source material, so they are the best one to be in the driver's seat. – jonj6 years ago
I believe that remakes should be compared to their originals to answer the fundamental question of "Is this necessary?' For instance, a remake can (and often times should) be poorly received if it simply repeats the same beats, messages, tropes, etc. as the original without adding anything new to the conversation or reducing the impact of the original's intent. – Ian Miculan6 years ago
Hollywood is almost obsessed with remaking films despite previous success. Remakes of film though often flop in cinema’s begging the question; Why does Hollywoods keep making remakes? What’s the point? So many remakes face criticism before being released. Diehard fans make judgements of the film before it is even released, while the film itself has a bar often set so high that ‘failure’ is inevitable.
Perhaps companies are simply relying on the success of the previous films in a pursuit of profit. From changing casts to all female (Oceans 11, Ghost Busters) to changing the tone of the film (The Mummy), is Hollywood simply trying to find ways to justify remaking a movie that doesn’t need to be remade?
Being the art form that it is, film is just as prone to a version better expressed, so to speak. One director (or author) believes his rendition was final and releases it. Another director feels his release was not perfect, and remakes it as a sequel. Others simply cannot move on unless they've added their $0.02 to the squabble. No matter what the reason, 'priming the pump' never ends and must be tolerated. As long as there are disagreements, there will be remakes and sequels. – lofreire6 years ago
One thing I'd be interested in seeing someone explore is the Disney side of this topic, how they are doing live action remakes of so many of the classics. It is to appeal to the children of the children who first experienced these movies? Simply to make more revenue? Or is it to maintain copyright to prevent it from entering the public domain? This all is true for other franchises as well. – BreannaWaldrop6 years ago
I'm not sure if it's just because of the age of myself and my friends (mid 20s), but I feel like nostalgia is very much the "flavour of the month". Sequels that were 10+ years in the making, such as Scream 4 and American Pie:the reunion, kicked off an era of sequels and reboots. I don't think Hollywood has run out of ideas like I have heard some people suggest, I just think that there is so much money in remakes. by growing old, Disney is no longer appealing to the audience who helped to make it so successful. Sure they still make films that kids love but by remaking all our old favourites (Jungle Book, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast to name a few) they can also re-appeal to the older generation. – jackson26016 years ago
Explore whether modern remakes of classic films are a good idea or not. Can you ever improve upon the original, especially if the original is considered a masterpiece of its time? Discuss the pros and cons, as well as giving examples of remakes that work well and others that fail to live up to its predecessor.
I would also like to have some specifics as to remakes in certain genres. It seems that the fantasy fiction and super hero films have been receiving considerable attention for remakes, all based on their market dependability of course. But what about those genres that are more of a rarity for remakes? – Jonathan Judd6 years ago
The problem is you pick a remake of near perfect films and they'll never live up to the original. You pick terrible movies with room for improvement and you'll never live up to the nostalgia. People are happy with the originals; just make original content inspired by those sources. I think that's really the best way forward. – AGMacdonald6 years ago
Look at the remakes of today and compare them with the originals and see if the changes that have been made for a contemporary audience improve the property or not.
The remake adds a greater dimension of perception (or misperception) that is not entirely there in the original, perhaps due to the state of the art or the creative force behind it. The issue then becomes the over-reliance on technology (or the performer) to carry the story, leaving thin the inspiration and vitality of imagination, I believe. If you write this article and I rewrite it a year later, what (and who) determines which is better, or worse? I am eager to find out. – lofreire6 years ago
My first thought on reading the heading and pitch was the broad strokes approach to condemning/questioning the legitimacy of remakes. Same as with any work which derives from another, superiority is subjective. I'd also stress the importance of audience - in the case of series like Star Trek, the audience is extremely important because the bulk of the original audience is still around and there are huge expectations. In the case of public domain, so Frankenstein or Dracula for instance, anybody can make a TV show or a movie or a derivative novel without buying rights, and the market is already saturated with retellings of high and low quality so expectation is not as much an issue. Finally, pop culture and social awareness change and morph over time, so content which was totally acceptable in the fifties or sixties would have to change to become palatable to a modern audience, and that isn't a bad thing - it's just a necessary alteration, like tying up a loose end or addressing a minor inconsistency. – Cat6 years ago
Also,examine the need for these remakes. Doesn't the minor alteration of the story render these remakes as a form of fanfiction themselves? – Vishnu Unnithan6 years ago
While Hollywood remakes are rampant at the moment, we have been inundated with a spate of soulless cash-ins; but do video games have to share the same fate? The mechanics of video games are much more complex, and as such can do with a gamelpay and graphics overhaul every decade or two to keep the game alive. It would be interesting for someone to put forward the case that there is actually a need for remakes within the video game market.
This is an interesting article. There are a lot of games that get remade or might get remade in the future. For example: the crash bandicoot collection, FF IIV, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Twilight Princess I think you also need to define what a remake is? Is that different than a rerelease or the same? – Sean Gadus6 years ago
A comparison between the successful Assassins Creed game franchise and the failure to translate it to film would be interesting – bethlauren6 years ago
Over the last couple of years, we have entered a new era of filmmaking. Studios only make safe bets, some of which pay off (The Force Awakens, Mad Max, Star Trek), but many of them bomb (Baywatch, Ghostbusters and King Arthur). Is this due to the death of creativity in these fields? Is looking for the safe bet, sticking to a formula and attaching people with no care for the source material, responsible for abysmal sales?
Remakes have become a common since Hollywood may have trouble coming up with original concepts. – BMartin437 years ago
I would compare/contrast mainstream Hollywood and Indie films. You often find new and creative ideas in the indie movies because the monetary risk isn't as high and the success of those can often shape what risks Hollywood will take – BreannaWaldrop6 years ago
I think this is actually a misleading question as the film titles listed are all Hollywood productions. No, creativity is not dead within the film industry, we just need to broaden our horizon and acknowledge that original and creative films are being made outside of Hollywood, both within American independent cinema and in many countries around the world. Hollywood makes product and product must sell, hence the remakes and reboots, ostensibly made to introduce a younger, upcoming generation to an old popular story or series, because all that really matters to the Hollywood executives is how the latest product performs over the next financial quarter, therefore risks are rarely taken. My taste in films is admittedly biased as I prefer European and Oriental films (although I also have Russian, Polish, Iranian, Turkish and Indian films in my collection, to list just a few) so I tend to ignore the latest mega-hyped Hollywood blockbuster because I find independent film making and 'World' cinema far more rewarding in terms of its style, content and storytelling. True creativity doesn't have a price tag attached and Hollywood has long forgotten this point. – Amyus6 years ago
Creativity is not dead! Hollywood blockbusters are just one type of film industry - many, highly committed productions with sensitive features, rich scripts and unique actors show again and again how diverse the film industry can be. – Guinevere3 years ago
In the last few years Hollywood has both recreated and rebooted a number of classic films, ranging from superhero stories (like Spider-man), beloved franchises (like Star Trek), to cult classics (like Red Dawn), and modern masterpieces (like The Magnificent Seven). Choose what you feel are a few of the best and worst examples of this trend, and make an argument for or against Hollywood’s "rehash" habit.
I remember my film teacher pointing to Ocean's Eleven as one of the very few (I cannot think of another) example where the remake was better than the original. – TKing7 years ago
I immediately think of Sabrina (1954), the original with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, and the remake with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond (1995). It was atrocious.
I guess I would say the best reboot would be the Dark Knight Series, if that is considered as such. I mean, one moment we have Michael Keaton, then the incomparable Christian Bale. – danielle5777 years ago
A very good remake that comes to mind is "Total Recall." The Colin Farrell movie from 2012 was much more true to Phillip K. Dick's original story. I am well aware that this may be a controversial opinion. – Tarben7 years ago
Sabrina was terrible because Harrison Ford does not play a good romantic lead. I think miscasting was the problem. – Munjeera7 years ago
From "Romeo Juliet" to "Oh Brother Where Art Though", reworking classic stories like Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" to Homer’s "Iliad" and "Odyssey" with popular appeal is either a fun and creative on-taking or crass money grab, depending upon who you ask.
Examine similar instances in film where classic plays and literature have been given a new breath and identity through popular appeal, modernized sets, and creative directing. Are there instances where this process has succeeded in maintaining the artistic integrity of the original work while making something visionary? Are there instances where this process was a disaster? Does this act successfully cater to a new generation, or is it pandering/talking down to an audience that would prefer authenticity?
The plus sign was lost in publishing, and I'm embarrassed that I neglected to proofread the "Though" to a "Thou", but other than that, good luck to whoever might take this piece! – Piper CJ7 years ago
This is a great spin on a topic that has been broached but never approached in as "heads on " a manner as this. This is great. I look forward to seeing the examples used. There have been times when I've watched a television show of film and someone mentions it being based on a shakespearean play, and as a literature professor, I am embarrassed and then amused by the fact that I hadn't realized it.
Now, my question is, how to handle when one sees a connection that hasn't been explicitly stated by the creators? Kurt Sutter, of Sons of Anarchy has mentioned the Hamlet theme numerous times, so that is easier, but as for Breaking Bad, what about Macbeth? Just throwing some ideas out there...Great topic, Piper CJ...might have to pick this one up myself!!! – danielle5777 years ago
Almost everything nowadays is reused. The trick is to reuse it in a new way – Riccio7 years ago
I think remakes are helpful because they keep classics relevant to a new audience in the next generation, especially if they are done well with contemporary actors who are skilled at their jobs. – Munjeera7 years ago
Clueless is far and away my favourite example of this topic. With every update given to these sort of classic stories, it's interesting to see how the general point of the story applies to different settings, and how the characters can still be recognizable in alternate times and places. Also, if whoever writes this mentions Carmen: A Hip Hopera, they will be my favourite person. – chrischan7 years ago
I think it depends on the approach of the remake. Some tongue and cheek adaptations can be really subversive and critical in their seemingly low-brow, kitsch or more pop-culture approach. Shakespeare is of course one of the most parodied authors, I'm thinking 'She's The Man'. – Treva7 years ago
A look at films in recent years that weren’t sequels or remakes that received fairly good ratings, but made little money at the box office. An example that comes to mind is American Ultra (2015), which received better ratings than many of the other films that opened the same weekend (all of which were remakes or sequels), yet was a box office flop. The film’s screenwriter, Max Landis complained that "American Ultra lost to a sequel, a sequel reboot, a biopic, a sequel and a reboot."
This phenomenon seems self-perpetuating. These failed new ideas will cause studios to hesitate before investing in further new ideas, which seem risky. It may be more economically encouraging to go with a sequel or remake that is bound to make money, and we therefore find ourselves inundated by constant remakes and reboots (just look at Pokémon Go, which seems to be successful not because it is particularly good, but because its content is familiar).
A few psychological theories could be invoked here in order to explain this phenomenon. One is the mere-exposure effect, a phenomenon wherein people tend to prefer things that they are familiar with (this is how subliminal messaging is thought to work). Therefore it could be possible that people are disproportionately likely to go out and see a film with a familiar name (such as the new Independence Day), even if it has worse ratings than something novel and unknown. Further, people tend to be risk-averse, and may want to avoid the risk of seeing something unknown and not liking it.
you are 100 % right. Nowadays people are taking the easy route by making more adaptations or reboots because its economically less risky. Audience will still want to watch a reboot or adaptations just out of curiosity. On the other hand, when there is a new idea for a movie out, people are less likely to watch it because of the fear of not knowing what to expect. – Tkesh7 years ago
It would be interesting to see how movie budgets have changed over time, say in the last 30 years or so, as an examination of the viability of indie films versus major studio films in theaters. Was the difference in budgets between an indie film and major studio movie larger or smaller than it is now, and what were the respective profits? – chrischan7 years ago