Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

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Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by eselle28 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:13 pm

How do people generally feel about these, particularly ones of things you remember enjoying the first time around? It seems like it varies a great deal. Comic fans often seem to accept them as long as they're done well (or am I looking at that wrong, through an outsider's eyes?), fans of books frequently dislike movie adaptations or at most claim that the movie isn't as good, and reactions to remakes of TV shows and movies seem to vary depending on the work and the people involved with the project.

I'll say that my reactions tend to swing around a great deal. I'm terribly excited to learn that Twin Peaks is coming back to television, but I cringe whenever Michael Bay takes an interest in something I liked as a child anad I was terribly pleased to hear that the "Say Anything" TV show was cancelled. (On a side note, while that movie is mostly remembered for having a Big Dramatic Gesture that should not be attempted in real life, it's also an interesting example of a romance where the male lead doesn't have many traditional alpha male characteristics.)

Anyway, given that new spins on existing material are so common in popular culture, this is a thread where people can post reactions to announcements or discuss opinions.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:11 pm

I hate most reboots/remakes, but there are a few exceptions. The main one for me is that some things come to be sufficiently mythical that there's room for multiple tellings, a core that stays the same but different people's take on what it means or how it connects to society or imaginings of what would happen if... Superheroes are the main one of those right now, but Shakespeare works and Sherlock Holmes both also have entered that space, and some anime seems to pull off remakes in a way that feels like this to me rather than like the kind I hate.

I'm okay with and sometimes enthusiastic for adaptations that use the medium intelligently and are faithful to the spirit if not necessarily all facts.

I have so much rage-to-be about the Clue movie remake. The original is perfect. It cannot be improved on.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by The Wisp on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:33 pm

I'm pretty indifferent to any individual one. Some are better than the original, some are terrible, and most are somewhere in the middle.

However, I'm sick of how many of Hollywood's big budget productions fall into these categories. Do something original for once. This is why I really appreciate what Christopher Nolan did with Inception and seems to be doing with Interstellar; he's actually creating original work for the screen that's high budget and high quality.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by eselle28 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:38 pm

Enail wrote:I hate most reboots/remakes, but there are a few exceptions. The main one for me is that some things come to be sufficiently mythical that there's room for multiple tellings, a core that stays the same but different people's take on what it means or how it connects to society or imaginings of what would happen if... Superheroes are the main one of those right now, but Shakespeare works and Sherlock Holmes both also have entered that space, and some anime seems to pull off remakes in a way that feels like this to me rather than like the kind I hate.

I'm okay with and sometimes enthusiastic for adaptations that use the medium intelligently and are faithful to the spirit if not necessarily all facts.

I have so much rage-to-be about the Clue movie remake. The original is perfect. It cannot be improved on.

The mythical exception is a good point. I think we've all seen enough reworkings of Sherlock Holmes that the mere fact that there will be another one won't upset many people.

What about universes or extensions? We've told lots of stories in the Star Trek universe, and while many people were unhappy that they're currently retelling stories about Spock and Kirk, people don't seem to mind stories later in the timeline if they're in the same general spirit. Though it does seem to be trickier if specific characters were involved. People seemed to be okay with movies about Star Trek characters telling more of their stories, but there have been other times where I wanted a specific story to be over and was annoyed that it was opened up again.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:40 pm

I'm okay with new stories in the same universe, but I like an existing story to be done when it's done, so I definitely prefer that they move on to a different time or corner of it rather than extending and adding on to the existing stories and characters. I'm a big fan of knowing when something's done and stopping then.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by fakely mctest on Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:00 pm

I think it also depends on how you feel about the source material.  There are certain things that we have more or less enshrined in our heads and I think that no adaptation is going to measure up, but maybe if we felt less of a sense of fiercely protective ownership about the source material it wouldn't bug?  I mean, I am unabashedly excited that this is a thing:



But then it's Jem and the Holograms, which I remember fondly, but without particular emotional attachment.

I thought Tom Tykwer's adaptation of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer was incredibly well done so I think having a competent director also helps, but, again, not attached to the Patrick Süskind novel.

I'm probably lucky insofar as most of my cherished childhood favorites wouldn't be adapted in a million years (The Animal Family), are stuck in development hell (The Phantom Tollbooth), or have stakes that are too small to make a good big-budget film (A Girl of the Limberlost).

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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:37 pm

It depends entirely on what it is. I like most movies based on comic books, for instance, but movies like Man of Steel, Blade, and Fantastic Four are just terrible (imo). Whereas I somehow did manage to enjoy Ghost Rider. Comic stories do tend to tug at the same themes over and over again, but for me it's neither a deterrent not a selling point. What I like is the way they tend to play with those themes. Lately there has been some interesting reconstruction of the anti-hero: Superior Spidey being so ambitious that he takes on too much responsibility as he gives himself more and more power. Loki literally fighting himself as his attempt to make people confused about which side he's on confuses even his own personality. Venom's current host idolizes Spider-Man and Captain America, making him the "boy scout" on teams like the Thunderbolts and the Guardians of the Galaxy. This in turn seeds the beginnings of another dramatic reform for characters like Red Hulk and Elektra when they realize he's judged them correctly!

When I got my hands on games like Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby Triple Deluxe, and New Super Mario Bros U, I said something like "This is just more of the same...And I love it." Sometimes the formula really does work that well for me. And I discovered also that I really did enjoy some of the additional features that to others probably feel tacked on, like the Smash Bros-esque minigame in Kirby.

Then again, those feelings don't tend to transfer to RPGs. I liked all four of the real Breath of Fire games, but the GBA re-releases added nothing at all to the experience I remembered. Even the glitches were the same. Fable Anniversary doesn't appeal to me at all. Meanwhile, Shining Force and Final Fantasy 6 did get worthy remakes on the GBA. I didn't feel like Chrono Trigger DS added much of value in gameplay, but I admit the progress trackers and previously PS-exclusive cartoons tickled my desire for completion.

I'm probably one of the few Asimov fans who liked the I, Robot movie (it's not I, Robot at all, but it's a fun movie). I might be one of the only Douglas Adams fans who liked the Hitchhiker's Guide movie. I can enjoy the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but only if I "forget" that it's supposed to be Lord of the Rings. Same goes for the first Hobbit movie. The second is like Man of Steel: such a terrible movie on its own that it doesn't even matter whether I know the source or pretend it's original.

A friend recently complained that Selfie is good but problematic. I remarked that I always just assume mass media television focusing primarily on 'ships will be problematic, but also, isn't that one supposed to be a My Fair Lady remake?
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Mel on Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:42 pm

I'm with enail about the "sufficiently mythical" criteria. Beyond stories in those worlds, I'm generally not fond of remakes/adaptations.

Book --> movie, the book usually is better, though there are a few exceptions where I don't think the movie is better but equally good doing its own somewhat different thing (see: Watership Down, The Princess Bride). That said, if anyone ever decides to make a movie out of one of my books, I will be totally on board! Heh.

Movie --> movie, usually the original movie is good if it's stuck around in public consciousness enough that execs think they could make a profit remaking it, and usually the new movie ends up over modernizing/Hollywood-izing the story; I'd rather just rewatch the original in most cases.

Foreign film --> N. American adaptation, see above about Hollywood-izing, not to mention Americanizing; again, I'd almost always prefer to see the original.

I can't think of any remakes or adaptations right now I am actually looking forward to. Very nervous about the Never-Ending Story remake they keep talking about (being very nostalgic about the original movie--which yes, I realize was also an adaptation). Very nervous about the Into The Woods movie, especially hearing they've removed some core components that made the story so complex.

Like Wisp, I'd love to see more original stories being produced. When nine out of every ten movies is an adaptation, a remake, or a sequel, it's a pretty sad statement about the current state of Hollywood creativity.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by UristMcBunny on Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:42 pm

I think for me a lot of it depends on why a remake or reboot is being made.  Sometimes, it's clear that the reboot is being treated as an opportunity to tell the story in new ways, or do things that couldn't be done the first time around, but that the remake is still very much loyal to the spirit of the original.  Other times, it becomes very clear very early on that the whole thing is just a cash-grab relying on nostalgia and plugging modern formulaic film-making into something that doesn't benefit from it.

I am, for example, very excited by the prospect of an all-women Ghostbusters remake.  I was excited about Evil Dead (although I haven't had the chance to watch it yet).  

I was optimistic about the Star Trek reboot until I saw the first film and watched the first... 30 minutes or so... of the sequel.  It became very clear very quickly that the people involved in writing and directing - whatever they claimed - had zero understanding of the tone, message, purpose or spirit of the original.

I was not in the slightest excited for the Turtles movie, or the spiderman remakes.  The spiderman ones felt like the were just jumping in so soon after the originals that there simply hadn't been enough time for such a thing to be needed, and I don't trust Michael Bay to do anything worthwhile with nostalgia.  

Who is writing and directing tends to be important.  I also always want to hear what the stars of the original have to say about it. That said, I cannot for the life of me imagine I could ever be happy about, say, a Labyrinth or Dark Crystal remake. Simply because so much of what was essential to the tone and spirit of them feels like stuff no director in a million years would do now. And because it would be all too easy for 3D and CGI to ruin them.

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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:54 pm

What disappoints me most about Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that it still could have been really good. I thought they got almost everything right with Harry Osborn, to the point that I didn't really care if they skipped Norman (whose current presence in the comics is enough for me to forgive the blatant and clumsy way they brought him back in the middle of what is now only the second-worst Spider-Man story). Electro was almost right, too—I thought Jamie Foxx totally nailed his psyche. But then the "final battle" happened, and he wasn't Electro anymore. He was Galactus from F4:RotSS. He was every villain from a Saban TV show. He was Villainous Object, stripped of motive and personality, and put in front of Spider-Man so there would be something to punch. One of the scenes seemed to exist solely so they could market a 3D version of the movie and mimic the scene in a video game.

But the Peter-Gwen 'ship was honestly just kind of creepy in a lot of places—it had "cute" moments, but there were also parts where Peter was straight-up being a stalker and not even getting called on it because wub made it okay. And I might have even let that slide, except they didn't have the gumption to alter her fate at all. Giving her a throwaway line about it being "her choice" doesn't change the fact that she's being stuffed in a 'fridge for the sake of Male Hero's character development.

I can't even begin to describe how bad the final scenes were. There's just too much Wrong to point to a single thing.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Conreezy on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:02 pm

I have so much rage-to-be about the Clue movie remake. The original is perfect. It cannot be improved on.

Oh God no. No.

That can't be true.

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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:17 pm

Conreezy wrote:
I have so much rage-to-be about the Clue movie remake. The original is perfect. It cannot be improved on.

Oh God no.  No.

That can't be true.

I'm just going to go ahead and express what I'm sure we're all feeling:

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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by eselle28 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:21 pm

Enail wrote:
Conreezy wrote:
I have so much rage-to-be about the Clue movie remake. The original is perfect. It cannot be improved on.

Oh God no.  No.

That can't be true.

I'm just going to go ahead and express what I'm sure we're all feeling:


It's hard enough to remake a traditional classic, but I don't know how you'd go about remaking a movie that has so much cult appeal.

Unfortunately, stupidity pervades the world, and they are also doing a remake of The Crow.

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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:25 pm

Oh man! Stupidity does pervade the world. Nope nope nope with a nope on top and a double order of no way in hell on the side.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by reboot on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:29 pm

Enail wrote:Oh man! Stupidity does pervade the world. Nope nope nope with a nope on top and a double order of no way in hell on the side.

This requires

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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:31 pm

That is a super-high-speed nopetopus!
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by eselle28 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:46 pm

reboot wrote:
Enail wrote:Oh man! Stupidity does pervade the world. Nope nope nope with a nope on top and a double order of no way in hell on the side.

This requires


Or maybe even a

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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by The Wisp on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:24 pm

The worst kind of adaptations are those that clearly have little respect for the source material, but use the title and characters for marketing. The I, Robot movie comes immediately to mind.

I'm fine with using an adaptation to make a creative interpretation, deconstruction, or reimagining of the work, as long as it still clearly respects the original. But don't just duct tape the title onto a movie that might as well have just been an original script and call it a day.


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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Lemminkainen on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:25 pm

I feel like the crucial question for medium-to-medium adaptations is something like: "Did the creators of the adaptation think about what actually works in the medium, and change things so that they work?" Over-faithfulness usually seems much deadlier than under-faithfulness. One really common manifestation of this problem is trying to cram far too much stuff in: trying to cram a whole TV season of plot into a film like The Last Airbender, for example, or even trying to fit all of the storylet beats in the Harry Potter books into movies.* The best adaptations of print literature usually also try to find ways to visualize subjectivity (which is essential to most novels)-- Life of Pi does a good job probing character memory and imagination, for example, and the criminally underrated Hunger Games adaptation does fun things with camera work to differentiate footage representing characters' subjective experiences from footage representing what audiences in the Capital see.

Something that's trickier: adaptations which change the themes of the material they borrow from. I actually think that this is totally valid, provided that the thematic change doesn't ethically bankrupt the original work, and that the re-themed adaptation is still artistically coherent.** For example, I thought that Baz Luhrman's Gatsby adaptation was fantastic, even though its themes are basically the polar opposite of the novel's.

I'm fine with reboots and remakes as long as they're independent works of art rather than cheap cash-ins. Extra bonus points if they play with the original work in interesting ways, or introduce elements which make it deeper or more interesting. The 2000s era Battlestar Galactica
is probably the best example of this I can think of.

*The only actually great Harry Potter movie was 3, where Alfonson Cuaron had some latitude to change stuff so that the narrative actually worked well on film. Structure-wise, the books would probably have worked much better as TV, and way better as anime. (It's perfect! Can't you just imagine Hermione shouting "BAKA!" at Ron while hitting him with a book, or Gilderoy Lockhart appearing with a shower of bishie sparkles and roses and dramatically introducing himself as "GIRDEROY ROCKUHARTO!" or Harry, Hermione, and Ron making emotional speeches about friendship while standing up to Voldemort with the sheer force of their iron wills, or super cool-looking wizard duels with people really dramatically shouting the names of their spells?)
** Making the adaptation themeless or wishy-washy or emotionally non-resonant also is a huge problem-- The Golden Compass adaptation, I'm looking at you. Also at you, Troy.

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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:30 pm

Heh, I actually hated the 3rd Harry Potter movie and at least somewhat enjoyed all the others. It felt ridiculously Hollywood-ized and untrue to the characters, and I thought they completely ruined one of the scenes I'd most been looking forward to. Of course, I'm probably the only person out there who completely loved some of the 2nd movie (the good scenes were totally brilliant even though the rest was awful!), so it just goes to show that it's all ridiculously subjective!
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by The Wisp on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:43 pm

Enail wrote:Heh, I actually hated the 3rd Harry Potter movie and at least somewhat enjoyed all the others. It felt ridiculously Hollywood-ized and untrue to the characters, and I thought they completely ruined one of the scenes I'd most been looking forward to. Of course, I'm probably the only person out there who completely loved some of the 2nd movie (the good scenes were totally brilliant even though the rest was awful!), so it just goes to show that it's all ridiculously subjective!

I'm with you on the 3rd movie. The 3rd book is my favorite, and I feel like that while adaptations were necessary, they really altered the tone of the movie from the books in some ineffable ways that ruined it for me.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Werel on Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:30 am

I am terrified of the upcoming Syfy adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. One of my favorite novels + an astonishingly bad network with a history of astonishingly bad movies = oh god can I even bear to watch this miniseries? pale

Mostly I'm afraid they'll give it the Giver treatment. "Nope this is no longer about social control and the destiny of mankind's soul, it's about HELICOPTER GUNSHIPS AND KERSPLOSIONS PCHHEEWWWW"
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by The Wisp on Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:58 am

Werel wrote:I am terrified of the upcoming Syfy adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. One of my favorite novels + an astonishingly bad network with a history of astonishingly bad movies = oh god can I even bear to watch this miniseries? pale

Mostly I'm afraid they'll give it the Giver treatment. "Nope this is no longer about social control and the destiny of mankind's soul, it's about HELICOPTER GUNSHIPS AND KERSPLOSIONS PCHHEEWWWW"

OMG, that's one of my favorite novels, too. I didn't know about the adaptation. I think I suffered mood whiplash reading your post Razz


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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by Conreezy on Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:54 am

Werel wrote:I am terrified of the upcoming Syfy adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. One of my favorite novels + an astonishingly bad network with a history of astonishingly bad movies = oh god can I even bear to watch this miniseries? pale

Mostly I'm afraid they'll give it the Giver treatment. "Nope this is no longer about social control and the destiny of mankind's soul, it's about HELICOPTER GUNSHIPS AND KERSPLOSIONS PCHHEEWWWW"

It was 15 years ago, but Sci-Fi (as they were known then) did some decent adaptions of Dune novels.  Not the greatest, considering the budget, but better than that ridiculous Lynch version in 1984.

So take heart?

I've read for years that a movie of the Hyperion Cantos is stuck in development hell. I hope it stays there.
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Re: Remakes, Reboots, and Adaptations

Post by eselle28 on Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:05 pm

Conreezy wrote:

It was 15 years ago, but Sci-Fi (as they were known then) did some decent adaptions of Dune novels.  Not the greatest, considering the budget, but better than that ridiculous Lynch version in 1984.

So take heart?

On the other hand, they also did that wretched Earthsea adaptation.  

I've read for years that a movie of the Hyperion Cantos is stuck in development hell. I hope it stays there.

Oh, man, that needs to stay in development hell. I can't imagine that being done in a way that's going to work on screen without sucking the spirit out of the material.
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