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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Remakes with major changes to the story - are they ever any good?

   
Author Topic: Remakes with major changes to the story - are they ever any good?
Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 03-24-2017 12:03 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So the new CHiPS is getting terrible reviews mostly based on the fact that the filmmakers changed it from two heroic CHP motorcycle cops to two bumbling sex-craxed idiots.

The upcoming remake of "Going In Style" apparently has changed that movie from a moving, yet funny, commentary on aging combined with a story of three old guys who decide to spice up their lives by robbing a bank, to a silly plot about three old guys having their pension funds stolen, so they get revenge by robbing a bank. From the two trailers I've seen, it looks completely awful.

Why do studios keep taking perfectly good stories and screwing them up? I can see adding modern touches to a story to make it relevant to today's audiences, but come on.

OK rant over, back to your weekend plans.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 03-24-2017 12:18 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do you consider the two Oceans Eleven movies to be in the category of a major change? I think both versions are quite good and of their respective times.

I VERY rarely find a good reason for a remake of most any title. Do something new.

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Leo Enticknap
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 - posted 03-24-2017 12:59 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
By changes to the story, do you mean the time and place in which it's set, material changes to who the characters are and what they do, or both?

When updates to either are done purely and simply because the story is considered good but the original movie to be old and thus unsellable, I agree. When it adds a new perspective on an old story, the result can be positive. For example, I like the 1976 King Kong, because the oil crisis and the opening of the World Trade Center offered a new opportunity to recycle the original story into a setting in which it worked as well, if not better, than its original context of the Great Depression and the exploration/colonization documentaries of the 1920s. The Peter Jackson version, however, seemed to me to be pointless: all it did was to double the length of the movie and add twenty-first century visual effects.

And, done right, remakes can address deficiencies in the originals. For example, if Peter Jackson can ever stop fixating on the name of a certain black labrador and actually get his remake of The Dam Busters done, I hope that it will show honestly that the raid killed hundreds of innocent forced laborers who were trapped in a basement that flooded, that the damage to the Nazis' war production infrastructure was minimal at best, and that Guy Gibson was a bully, bordering on mentally ill, who was hated by almost everyone under his command (very few of whom volunteered to join his squadron, as the original movie portrays). I get why it wasn't possible to go there in the 1955 movie, but it should be now. Ironically, the name of the dog is one of the very few unarguable historical realities that film actually got right!

So, remakes with major changes to the story can be a good thing, especially if there are serious problems with the original story. But of course most remakes are simply an attempt to make a second lot of money out of the same piece of intellectual property, with no deeper thought given to it than that.

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Sam Graham
AKA: "The Evil Sam Graham". Wackiness ensues.

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 - posted 03-24-2017 01:10 PM      Profile for Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email Sam Graham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I would argue that CHiPs was trying to do what they so successfully did with 21 Jump Street, but with terrible results.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 03-24-2017 01:49 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Leo Enticknap
So, remakes with major changes to the story can be a good thing, especially if there are serious problems with the original story. But of course most remakes are simply an attempt to make a second lot of money out of the same piece of intellectual property, with no deeper thought given to it than that.
I agree with this. ^^

The recent "Ben Hur" was another pretty good example.

I did like Ocean's Eleven but I have never seen the original so can't really compare.

I've always thought "Airport" would be a good candidate for a remake. They'd have to figure out a different way for the guy to get the bomb on the plane, but that'd be a good challenge for a screenwriter.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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From: Annapolis, MD
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 - posted 03-24-2017 02:51 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Then there are the remakes where it is merely the same sort of story. "The Shop Around the Corner" versus "You've Got Mail" is a recycling of a story line but with a modern setting.

While I don't see the point in the "remake" it also does no harm to the original and they even used a different name (though had the original name tucked into the story).

Then again, the Shop Around the Corner was an adaptation of a play of yet a different name. Illatszertár

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Sam Graham
AKA: "The Evil Sam Graham". Wackiness ensues.

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 - posted 03-24-2017 03:58 PM      Profile for Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email Sam Graham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
've always thought "Airport" would be a good candidate for a remake. They'd have to figure out a different way for the guy to get the bomb on the plane, but that'd be a good challenge for a screenwriter.
That could be a moment of hilarity where the TSA is preoccupied with some idiotic real-world example while the bomb guy breezes right by.

I wouldn't mind seeing a new Airport movie. I watched that recently and it has NOT aged well.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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 - posted 03-24-2017 04:18 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With the exception of Detective (and possibly Overload, to a lesser extent), Arthur Hailey's novels are a snapshot of a point in time. Updating them to a today's world settings would remove a lot of the interesting aspects from the stories since they tend to be character studies rather than a straightforward problem-to-solve type of story line.

However, that doesn't translate easily to on-screen action.

There are all kinds of non-current books that could be made into dandy movies, though. Modesty Blaise, for example, is a sort of female James Bond. The books are marvellous but the attempts to make movies out of them (three as far as I know) have been less than successful and I really don't understand why.

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Justin Hamaker
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 - posted 03-24-2017 05:45 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My thought has always been why should a movie be remade if they can't bring something new to it. But it should still resemble the original story/concept. In the case of CHIPs, they should have just given the movie a different name and changed the character names. The people who are old enough to remember the tv show CHIPs are unlikely to be interested in this movie, and the target audience is going to be too young to even know about the series.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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 - posted 03-24-2017 07:10 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Some remakes are pretty good, even ones that make big changes from the original. Here's a few I liked:
The Fly (1986)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The Thing (1982) -not the 2011 re-re-make
True Lies (1992) -based on Frech Comedy La Totale!
True Grit (2010)
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Other remakes are so bad they either anger us for how they piss on the legacy of the original movie, or they're bad enough we don't even remember they were made when the classic movie title is mentioned.

There's a growing string of "horror" movie remakes that were completely unnecessary. They didn't live up to the originals in terms of thrills, edge or pop culture impact. We didn't need remakes of Nightmare on Elm Street, The Omen, The Hitcher, Prom Night, Halloween, The Fog, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left, The Blair Witch Project and Friday the 13th, especially if they were going to be that damned dull!

There's far more shitty remakes than good ones. Here's some on the shitty list:
Ben Hur (2016)
The Karate Kid (2010)
Clash of the Titans (2010) -shitty fake 3D
The Wolfman (2010)
Bad News Bears (2005)
Arthur (2011)
Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Footloose (2011)
Straw Dogs (2011)
Fame (2009)
Poseidon (2006)
The Pink Panther (2006)
Total Recall (2012)
Death Race (2008)
Rollerball (2002)
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
Psycho (1998)
The Stepford Wives (2004)
Walking Tall (2004)
Swept Away (2002)
The Wicker Man (2006)
The Invasion (2007) -anyone remember that?

If Hollywood movie studios keep up this bullshit we'll get to the point where we can't name a classic movie from 20 or more years ago that doens't have a shitty modern day remake.

One big mistake the studios have been making with these remakes: these days they're always trying to remake movies that were big hits previously. Why not take a movie whose original didn't work so well and do a better job with it, like what John Carpenter did with The Thing? But we probably know the stock answer to that question: doing so involves taking chances. Movie studios would rather ride the coat tails of a hit movie that has an already established "brand."
[Roll Eyes]

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

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 - posted 03-24-2017 08:18 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey...I got an idea!

Let's combine the remakes with the whole Netflix debacle. Remakes can go day and date with Netflix or other high-dollar $50 rentals!

Those are the types of movies that could withstand that sort of release. After all, most should be made-for-tv anyway.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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 - posted 03-24-2017 09:31 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It would be perfect, those remakes made for TV are already shot with video cameras!
[Razz]

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Leo Enticknap
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From: Loma Linda, CA
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 - posted 03-25-2017 06:36 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
I've always thought "Airport" would be a good candidate for a remake. They'd have to figure out a different way for the guy to get the bomb on the plane, but that'd be a good challenge for a screenwriter.
That kind of challenge is always fun to see risen to well, one of my favorite examples being A Perfect Murder (1998), which updated Dial M for Murder by introducing cellphones into the plot. Furthermore, this is, IMHO at least, a clear example of a remake being a vastly superior film to the original. The Hitchcock version is f-----g abysmal, totally unwatchable, and would have disappeared almost without trace if it weren't for the fact that it was in 3-D and the 3-D version survives. Even Milland and Kelly can't make the plummy, stagey dialogue come to life, it's about as suspenseful as listening to a Fidel Castro speech, and yet another example of Hitchcock doing his weakest work when working with a new technology for the first time.

Douglas and Paltrow, on the other hand, do a much better job of convincing the audience that they are having an illicit affair and plotting something seriously gnarly.

But I suppose the other question here is, when a film is based on a some other work of fiction (book or play), is a second version a remake, or a separate adaptation of the same source used by the first? William Friedkin has repeatedly asserted that Sorcerer should not be considered a remake of The Wages of Fear, but a separate adaptation of the Georges Arnaud novel, which was also the basis for Clouzot's film. IMHO, that claim has significant justification, because Sorcerer covers bits of the book that Clouzot's screenplay simply didn't touch, most importantly background scenes at the start of the film which explain how the four main characters ended up in a little town in the back of beyond.

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