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Posts Tagged ‘reruns’

 

I’ve had two discussions this week about plots, or more specifically remakes that use the same exact plot and why do we need them in the world?  It’s a fun topic and in the end, every show has been a rerun since the theater of the ancient Greeks.  The roots of every story, play, movie, or television show can be found in Greek theater.

But I still love a good debate so…

For me, plays are meant to be a unique event each time because they are performed live and each performance will have slight variations due to a different audience and another day of life experience for the actors adding new dimensions to the performance, subtle though they may be.  I look at film versions of plays in a similar manner.  Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet is unique from Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet and from Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet.  (I don’t even consider Mel Gibson’s in the conversation as I did not care for it at all).  Each is approached from the roots of theater yet captured on film.  Each film includes distinct performances by the actors and a distinct interpretation by the director, as well as very intentional scenic and musical choices.  I glean something different from each one.

I think that You’ve Got Mail is a unique film from The Shop Around the Corner, the film that inspired the adaptation.  It also acknowledges the original, gives a tip of the hat if you will, within the film.  The sign on the Fox Bookstore building says “just around the corner” and they make references to mail…letters.  If you know the film The Shop Around the Corner, you’ll pick up on these wink wink, nudge nudge references.  If you don’t, they don’t stick out as out of place.

I don’t understand the need for remakes (I don’t care what you call them) if they only are a remaking of an original film without bringing anything new to the table.  The shot by shot remake of Psycho…why did we need that?  Hitchcock’s is perfect, no need to redo it.  I remembered how perfect on Mother’s Day when Encore Suspense treated us to a 24 hour marathon of it.

Arthur, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, why do we need to remake them when the originals were fabulous?  Give me a new twist at least.  And changing the gender of a character doesn’t count…just changes pronouns.  Scream could have been just another slasher flick in the tradition of the classics that changed the genre in the late 70s and early 80s, but it did something new in acknowledging the pedigree that bore it.  That made it original.

Another recent revamp was made by two of my favorites, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.  But Willy Wonka will always be visualized in my mind as Gene Wilder in a fabulous purple velvet coat.  I have a brown velvet coat that I call my Willy Wonka coat.  🙂  I will watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and embrace it as an individual movie because of my love of Tim and Johnny, but Gene Wilder will always be  Willy Wonka.  Their latest, Dark Shadows, has yet to be seen, so I cannot comment yet.

Are these amazingly fine lines to be drawing in the sand?  Yep.  I wonder though as I reflect if I haven’t noticed a wee bit of a trend.  When a film is adapted from a book or play, I’m far more open to seeing a new version of it.  Perhaps because for me I always approach a film version of a book or play with some skepticism since I’ve already got my own version of it in my mind’s eye.  It don’t expect it to live up to my expectations and so I am sometimes pleasantly surprised.  A remake of a story that was originally intended for film I am less flexible about because if it was written for film, it was intended to be a finite and finished product.  A play is meant to be produced over and over just as a book can be read over and over.

Now some might ask me what I think about The Three Stooges movie.  I’m fine with it-I haven’t seen it yet but my hubby and sons did and they gave it their own Three Stooges approval.  First, it incorporated the concept of short films, another wink wink, nudge nudge example.  Second, even with the original Three Stooges, there were four different groupings of them (Moe and Larry with Curly, Shemp, Joe, or Curly Joe and the original trio was Larry, Moe and Shemp to begin with but without the name Three Stooges).  They were always the same characters but in different short films, a different situation.

In the end, we keep repeating and remaking these stories on stage or screen because we will never finish exploring the human condition and the human existence.  We are egotistical by nature.  We also are a social creature and we feel better after sitting in a dark room together with a bunch of strangers watching ourselves and examining how we handle this thing called life, reruns and all.

 

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