February 3rd, 2009

hoard potato, tv, movies

The Hoard Potato: Nothing New Under The Sun

Earlier this morning, pseudomanitou listed 55 movies slated for a remake.

The comments bring up some recurring bits of folk wisdom that both amuse and annoy me.

First and foremost is the idea that Hollywood used to be chock full of original ideas, but now is just cranking out new versions of old movies -- like they've never done that before.

Second, of course, is the assumption that remakes are, by default, a Bad Thing, either because the original is an Untouchable Classic -- or, paradoxically, because the original was utter crap that doesn't deserve revisiting. In most conversations of this sort, the possibility that a remake could be an improvement is acknowledged, but only barely; PM, to his credit, grants that possibility with surprising frequency in his list.

When a remake is successful, people tend to polarize into Those Who Think The Original Was Better and Those Who Think The New Version Is Better. It's rare to see both original and remake heralded as Equally Valid Interpretations Of The Same Themes.

Let's put some perspective on this, Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Humphrey Bogart version of The Maltese Falcon is not only a remake, but was the third movie version of Hammett's story in a ten-year span.

The Al Pacino version of Scarface? Remake.

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings is a remake.

Oh, and one from the list? One that PM gripes about because it's "iconic"?

John Carpenter's The Thing is a remake.