SHE SAID: Remakes

Jeremy, I hate it when I agree with you because I feel like it makes our blog so boring.  Instead of lambasting you, I’m just saying, yeah, good point.  Which is not that interesting because we are supposed to be contrasting views on arbitrary themes.

Also, as we discussed online earlier, you writing a post about the Karate Kid (or the remake) with me as a sounding wall is kind of pointless since I have not seen either film.  Although, it sounds like I’m not to blame for the second one since it hasn’t been released yet.  It’s akin to me posting about the hassles of getting my period and expecting you to deliberate what it’s like being a woman with me.

Carrie - Original and Remake

On a broader note, as far as remakes go, Hollywood is to blame for the the general impressiveness:  either the original stunk and a remake was necessary, or they are unimaginative and running out of ideas. Either way, both are depressing realities to face for a nation waiting patiently while reclining on the couch for someone to inspire us pay $12 to sit in the darkness snacking on overpriced junk food while visually ingesting drivel.  A positive outlook, I know.

To compare it to a similar idea … why are some musical covers more successful than others?  Why is it okay for Susan Tedeschi to slay Angel From Montgomery and Don’t Think Twice, but it’s not okay for a director to remake Karate Kid, The Parent Trap or Carrie?  Why is it okay to remake the Bourne Identity, but not okay for Madonna to massacre American Pie?  Why can I not stomach American Idol?  If an artist, be it an actor, singer, musician, producer or director, can somehow make the piece their own and it is artistically new and interesting enough, then bring on the covers and the remakes.  If you are going to revisit history, best to interpret it, rather than regurgitate it.  If, however, you are simply going to record the original with your voice and/or new mediocre actors, please don’t bother.  The original, even a completely forgettable one, will still blow any successive version out of the water.

Movies are a much more challenging undertaking due to the amount of people involved, the length, and the confines of the story.  Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 remake of Romeo and Juliet is one of the few that comes to mind and its success lies in his placing it in modern day.  Unfortunately, this was not an effective approach for Gil Junger’s 1999 movie, 10 Things I Hate About You.  Had Julia Styles not been hot and grating on a table, this would have been forgotten rapidly.  On a side note, I’m relieved that Hollywood has stopped trying to push crappy movies with the whole “based on a Shakespeare text” defense.

Will this new version of The Karate Kid shed new light on the relationship between student and teacher?  Will the acting provide new depth to the characters?  Will the setting, the medium switching to kung-fu, the star power of young Mr. Smith and Jackie Chan make this newer version go down in the record books?  Probably not.  And chances are, I’m not going to see it anyway.  But, I am looking forward to Grace Potter’s new album, if I can get my hands on it.  She killed, in a heel stompingly good way, the Beatles classic, Come Together, the last time I saw her live in Burlington.  When done well, I love the revisiting of an old classic, the respect shown to the artists that have come before and influenced today’s creators.  I would be upset if it weren’t happening.

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3 Responses to SHE SAID: Remakes

  1. I love the different views you two have on things. I hope everyone who reads HE SAID: Remakes comes and reads this too.

    I have to agree that the new Parent Trap is superior to the old one. I think that one is a different case, though, since it was remade by the same company that made the first one. The magic was definitely still there.

    Enjoy your Grace Potter album. 🙂

  2. talkingtostones says:

    Your point is quite valid. While I also agree with Jeremy’s frustration with all the remakes currently out there and projected, and with the Karate Kid in particular, I think the real issue is more in the middle ground area, as you’re suggesting. Some remakes are terrific. When a remake or cover improves upon the original or adds something more to the story or music, and especially when it shows respect to the things that went before it, then a remake is actually a good idea. Even when you’re emotionally attached to the original and don’t want it to change, as Jeremy’s post discusses. But there are also tons of remakes and covers that are terrible and shouldn’t happen. I agree with one commenter who said that the industry has run out of creative ideas — the creativity exists, but the systems (school and movie systems included) do their best to curb and stomp on real thinking and creativity so they rarely make it to the final product. It’s a shame. There’s another good reason for remakes, too — they introduce a new generation to an old song or show. Yes, the young ones could go watch or listen to the old one, but will they? And if the old movie is made with now-outdated technology, will they take it seriously? Sometimes, for something good to live on, it has to be remade just to trigger new interest in it — then people can also watch or listen to the original version as well and make their own decision about which they like better. I grew up loving the original Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, and then the new one came out. I hadn’t even thought about introducing my young son to the original movie; too many other things going on. But the new one came out, and reminded me — we rented the original and had a great time watching it. Then we watched the new one. We both still prefer the original, but the new ones casts all sorts of interesting new ideas on things. If the original is truly a good version, it won’t suffer from release of the new version & might even enjoy a resurgence of interest. Even a good new version will still not detract from it and could even add to the whole.

  3. Kate says:

    First off, you’ve never seen the original Karate Kid? I’ve seen about 10 movies total in my life and I’ve seen that one a hundred times. Hmm. Now I know what we will do the next time we hang out.

    Second, 82 comments on HE SAID? Whoa!

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