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View Full Version : Remakes, reboots, and expectations



Noclevername
2014-May-13, 07:03 PM
I recently read an article on Howard Tayler's blog called "No, Michael Bay Has Not Destroyed Your Childhood (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/blog/michael-bay-not-destroyed-childhood)".

Basically, it says that the films based on our childhood nostalgia books, comics, shows and films, are almost always going to be disappointing if we go into them comparing them to their source material. The only solution is to judge the remakes and adaptations on their own merits, as their own things.

For example, the new "Star Trek" films. I like them, as fun time wasters; I find them entertaining, though not exactly great cinema. But they aren't Star Trek. They are action films that take advantage of the name and a few basic concepts borrowed from Star Trek.

It's hard to put aside the nostalgia, since that's basically what draws most of us to these new versions in the first place. But if you can manage it, you can judge the remakes to stand or fall by themselves, not as "But they didn't get that right!" Because in the vast majority of cases, they aren't trying to get that right.

Swift
2014-May-13, 07:28 PM
Basically, it says that the films based on our childhood nostalgia books, comics, shows and films, are almost always going to be disappointing if we go into them comparing them to their source material. The only solution is to judge the remakes and adaptations on their own merits, as their own things.

And I'm fine with that way of looking at them. But the blade works both ways. You are trying to get me to see the movie based on the fact that I love Star Trek (for example) and am nostalgic for it. Then you serve up some bad movie - and its bad not because I'm comparing it to my childhood vision of it, but because it is just a bad movie.

And that's for a series that I really liked. Dishing up yet another remake of Spider Man or Superman, is not going to get me excited to go see that movie.

But the bottom line is I'm not the market for these movies, the average 12 to 20 year old is, and since they didn't see the original, or the first or even second remake, its all new to them, beyond some vague name recognition ("Star Trek... I think's that the movie that grandpa really liked").

Noclevername
2014-May-13, 07:38 PM
And I'm fine with that way of looking at them. But the blade works both ways. You are trying to get me to see the movie based on the fact that I love Star Trek (for example) and am nostalgic for it. Then you serve up some bad movie - and its bad not because I'm comparing it to my childhood vision of it, but because it is just a bad movie.


As 90% of movies will be. The difference between the bad movie you saw and a bad movie you've never heard of is that one got advance hype, and perhaps personal anticipation, because it's the "new" Star Trek, and the other got regular advertising and an unfamiliar title.

starcanuck64
2014-May-13, 08:01 PM
But the bottom line is I'm not the market for these movies, the average 12 to 20 year old is, and since they didn't see the original, or the first or even second remake, its all new to them, beyond some vague name recognition ("Star Trek... I think's that the movie that grandpa really liked").

For some reason this inspired for me the image of a grey haired guy with a cane going berserk in a theatre because they didn't get Spock right in the new movies.:)

It's a little sobering to think that the first Star Trek movie came out 35 years ago and a lot of the original fans of the TV show might not be around any longer demanding a certain kind of faithfulness to the original. Which leaves it up to the current generation to define it in their own terms.

Noclevername
2014-May-13, 08:10 PM
And, increasingly, the originals that inspired the remakes in the first place, are becoming available for viewing or reading online. The Powers That Be know they can milk nostalgia even more, by actually giving you the stuff that made you nostalgic in the first place. For instance, I can watch Star Trek on Netflix or free online (http://www.startrek.com/videos/star-trek-the-original-series/all/full/episode). (but even then, it's only the "remastered" version with new special effects, rather than the ORIGINAL original series.) :(

Swift
2014-May-13, 08:23 PM
For some reason this inspired for me the image of a grey haired guy with a cane going berserk in a theatre because they didn't get Spock right in the new movies.:)
I don't have a cane.

:p

Gillianren
2014-May-13, 09:09 PM
I do! A few grey hairs, even.

But yeah--if you don't want people to complain about how it matches the source material, don't pretend to be using the source material. Problem solved.

Noclevername
2014-May-13, 09:19 PM
I do! A few grey hairs, even.

But yeah--if you don't want people to complain about how it matches the source material, don't pretend to be using the source material. Problem solved.

And make good movies.

redshifter
2014-May-13, 09:31 PM
I tend to go into any movie based on a book with the expectation that it's probably not going to measure up. That way I'm not disappointed. If I let the nostalgia factor creep in, disappointment is almost guaranteed! I went into the new Star Trek movies trying to keep an open mind and while I enjoyed them as entertainment, I still found them wanting. I'm not sure I'm OK with the Spock/Uhura relationship thingy, that gets too far from who Spock is IMO. Maybe the counter argument is 'well, Abrams is exploring Spock's human side'. Not sure I'm buying that...also Spock being forced to watch Vulcan imploding from the Vega colony, yet in TOS (or was it an earlier ST movie), Spock says Vulcan has no moon. Then there's the whole Into Darkness movie. Entertaining sure, but Abrams destroys Vulcan in the previous movie, ostensibly rewriting the ST universe, and all he could do is redo Khan? C'mon...

I guess part of this is because younger audiences likely aren't at all familiar with TOS or even what ST was really all about. And they're the ones who spend big $ at the movies. And this is a business. Directors are trying to appeal to as large an audience as possible which sadly tends to alienate the purists.

I'm gonna laugh my head off when kids who grew up on Star Wars episodes I - III freak out when Abrams destroys that franchise...Maybe that's what the title of epsisode VII will be: Star Wars ep. VII: Another franchise goes down...

I think what saddens me most about all these remakes/reboots/etc. is the lack of creativity. Do something new!! I guess it comes back to the $ and go with what you know will put rear ends in seats.

Gillianren
2014-May-13, 09:56 PM
And make good movies.

Let's not expect miracles.

No, to be fair, there have been plenty of movies based on other sources that I have enjoyed. The most recent Jane Eyre changed less from the book than the Orson Welles version. Heck, I liked Winter Soldier. (He specifically mentions how happy he is that there's a polio vaccine now!) But I thought the new Star Trek was both a bad adaptation and a bad movie, true.

starcanuck64
2014-May-13, 11:42 PM
I tend to go into any movie based on a book with the expectation that it's probably not going to measure up. That way I'm not disappointed. If I let the nostalgia factor creep in, disappointment is almost guaranteed! I went into the new Star Trek movies trying to keep an open mind and while I enjoyed them as entertainment, I still found them wanting. I'm not sure I'm OK with the Spock/Uhura relationship thingy, that gets too far from who Spock is IMO. Maybe the counter argument is 'well, Abrams is exploring Spock's human side'. Not sure I'm buying that...also Spock being forced to watch Vulcan imploding from the Vega colony, yet in TOS (or was it an earlier ST movie), Spock says Vulcan has no moon. Then there's the whole Into Darkness movie. Entertaining sure, but Abrams destroys Vulcan in the previous movie, ostensibly rewriting the ST universe, and all he could do is redo Khan? C'mon...

I guess part of this is because younger audiences likely aren't at all familiar with TOS or even what ST was really all about. And they're the ones who spend big $ at the movies. And this is a business. Directors are trying to appeal to as large an audience as possible which sadly tends to alienate the purists.

I'm gonna laugh my head off when kids who grew up on Star Wars episodes I - III freak out when Abrams destroys that franchise...Maybe that's what the title of epsisode VII will be: Star Wars ep. VII: Another franchise goes down...

I think what saddens me most about all these remakes/reboots/etc. is the lack of creativity. Do something new!! I guess it comes back to the $ and go with what you know will put rear ends in seats.

That is sad when you think about how little limitation there is now with modern movie making technology. Basically any story you think up can be told.

Swift
2014-May-14, 01:31 AM
I think what saddens me most about all these remakes/reboots/etc. is the lack of creativity. Do something new!! I guess it comes back to the $ and go with what you know will put rear ends in seats.
Doubleplus yes! Though I think it is not so much money as a lack of imagination and a lack of risk taking (which does get back to money). Hollywood is convinced that remaking Batman for the 10th time is a safer bet than coming up with something new, even when the evidence may not support that conclusion.

Gillianren
2014-May-14, 02:58 AM
The last few Batman movies did very well at the box office, though, and at least the middle one was also hugely critically acclaimed.

parallaxicality
2014-May-14, 08:57 AM
Doubleplus yes! Though I think it is not so much money as a lack of imagination and a lack of risk taking (which does get back to money). Hollywood is convinced that remaking Batman for the 10th time is a safer bet than coming up with something new, even when the evidence may not support that conclusion.

It's more risk than lack of imagination. There's still enough money flowing around Hollywood to ensnare a good portion of the world's imaginative people. According to my favourite pop culture analyst, Moviebob, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TbZQzalnco) the root of the problem is dishonest accounting. No one, not even the execs, knows how much a movie has made, or whether it has recouped its production/marketing costs, until months, even years, after the film has left theatres. The only rubric they have is opening weekend, which is a misty indicator at the best of times. So because no one has a clue what is actually profitable, no one has a clue what people actually want to watch, so they greenlight projects based on pre-existing properties on the assumption that if they liked them, they'd probably like movies based on them.

Noclevername
2014-May-14, 09:01 AM
It's more risk than lack of imagination. There's still enough money flowing around Hollywood to ensnare a good portion of the world's imaginative people.

But the money is still largely controlled by unimaginative, or least uncreative, people.

Glom
2014-May-14, 09:30 AM
But the money is still largely controlled by unimaginative, or least uncreative, people.

I thought Rick Berman had retired.

iquestor
2014-May-14, 12:09 PM
I guess I'm an oddball as I was a big fan of TOS and I really liked Abram's Star Trek. The original series had just as many bad science problems and internal consistency issues as the new ones, so I don't understand the arguments that the new films suck because of things like 'red matter', Vulcan gaining a moon, lens flares and Spock having a love life; The old series had giant hands holding the Enterprise in orbit, Kirk acting like a horse in a chess game, floating heads in space and the IDC Medal. But I love them both.

I would not expect a severely faithful re-creation of TOS, because it wouldn't, couldn't work with todays market. Today we have better technology to do films, a more mature audience, and a better understanding of science. Making Star Trek today as it was in the late 60's would be to make a parody, a comedy even, rather than a serious series. And that would be a travesty.

R.A.F.
2014-May-14, 01:29 PM
...I don't understand the arguments that the new films suck because of things like...snip...lens flares...snip.

You don't understand why some would take issue with a lens flare EVERY 10 SECONDS....really? Simply put, they are a distraction, and a sign of sloppy movie making.

I don't mind that ST has been rebooted, but it's been rebooted badly...it doesn't have any (for lack of a better term) "heart", and I don't see that changing...


Abrams is the "flavor" of the day, but that won't last forever....his track record on TV just took a major hit, with 3 of his shows cancelled.

Then again, how many shows does he have on right now?....like 10 or something?

Noclevername
2014-May-14, 01:38 PM
I would not expect a severely faithful re-creation of TOS, because it wouldn't, couldn't work with todays market. Today we have better technology to do films, a more mature audience, and a better understanding of science. Making Star Trek today as it was in the late 60's would be to make a parody, a comedy even, rather than a serious series. And that would be a travesty.

Yeah, because the rebooted ST was all about the maturity and science. ;)

iquestor
2014-May-14, 02:24 PM
Yeah, because the rebooted ST was all about the maturity and science. ;)

well, I never meant it was all about factual science and maturity;

I mean the new ST took advantage of new special effects technology, and the advances in science was (somewhat) taken into account. you didn't have giant heads and hands in outer space, so you have to admit its at least more realistic in those respects.

You also have to admit that todays audiences are more educated in science and have higher expectations of films than they did in the 60s. We have matured as an audience, and many aspects of the new ST had to take that into account, in my opinion.


You don't understand why some would take issue with a lens flare EVERY 10 SECONDS....really? Simply put, they are a distraction, and a sign of sloppy movie making.


distraction? maybe to some. he put those in there, they aren't real lens flares, or at least, mistakes. they were on purpose.


I don't mind that ST has been rebooted, but it's been rebooted badly...it doesn't have any (for lack of a better term) "heart", and I don't see that changing...

I disagree, I like it for the most part.

NEOWatcher
2014-May-14, 02:44 PM
distraction? maybe to some. he put those in there, they aren't real lens flares, or at least, mistakes. they were on purpose.
I would say more than "some". If it caused Abrams to apologize for his lens flare addiction (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/oct/03/star-trek-into-darkness-jj-abrams-lens-flare), I would say that he got a strong message from the viewing public.

I'm not sure if they were real or not (I'm sure it's easy to do one for real), but they were intentional.

I'd like to hear his words for why he likes them. I have heard speculation that it's to make it seem like a documentary, but that doesn't make sense to me. I feel it removes me from the action.

But; that's not what this thread is about. Flares or no flares, it's a reboot.

I really don't have a problem with the new movies. I do need to suspend my memory of the characters because they are a lot more "gritty" than the traditional ones, in fact the entire franchise has gotten "gritty".

The only problem I have is how they changed the overall theme from one of humanity to one of action.

starcanuck64
2014-May-14, 02:58 PM
well, I never meant it was all about factual science and maturity;

My take on it is Abrams took a fan favorite and turned it into just another action series.


I mean the new ST took advantage of new special effects technology, and the advances in science was (somewhat) taken into account. you didn't have giant heads and hands in outer space, so you have to admit its at least more realistic in those respects.

It's also lost to a great degree the fairly unique blend of optimism, innocence and romance that was a big part of TOS and what followed. It wasn't just people in big ships blasting each other, there was always a human element(even with the aliens) that can be washed out by to much flash(or lens flare).


You also have to admit that todays audiences are more educated in science and have higher expectations of films than they did in the 60s. We have matured as an audience, and many aspects of the new ST had to take that into account, in my opinion.

And grown jaded to a degree, which may explain why a lot of the blockbusters depend on so much flash at the expense of good story telling. I'm still waiting for someone to take the new possibilities to the next level with a truly excellent story that leaves me feeling something more than just sated at the end of a movie.

starcanuck64
2014-May-14, 03:13 PM
This is where the lens flare craze got started.

http://www.examiner.com/article/defending-the-space-western-joss-whedon-s-firefly-as-slipstream-art-part-3


Because the concept of Joss Whedon's Firefly was so different from canon science fiction, he didn’t want it to look as polished and refined as a normal sci-fi show. Thus was born the Cheese Aspect: a way of filming that would match the Space Western, multicultural, rough-and-tumble setting.

Everything was handheld. There were purposeful lens flares, zooms, out-of-focus shots, whip pans, anything that would add to the show’s “down and dirty”, documentary-style cinematography. Tim Minear said, “Zooms are actually considered kind of cheesy, and that ‘cheese aspect’ really added to the show.”

I think it worked well for Firefly, but it had a definite purpose that may not translate well to other stories.

parallaxicality
2014-May-14, 03:47 PM
I see the ST reboot universe as Trek on life support. It is keeping the franchise profitable, and its name in people's minds, and that's good. There's no point in crying franchise rape, because Enterprise and the last two Next Gen movies already did that. Now let's wait a generation so that better minds can mature and start writing the show again.

As to my thoughts on reboots in general? Well, they're as good or bad as the people coming up with them. There is no such thing as a property that is "right" or "wrong" to remake. Who would have thought that Battlestar Galactica, one of the cheesiest and downright craziest franchises to follow in Star Wars's wake, would ultimately prove to be one of the best scifi TV shows ever when it was remade? Conversely, I was primed and ready to hate The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but to this day it remains my favourite incarnation of the Terminator franchise not directed by James Cameron. We may complain about Michael Bay screwing with the TMNT universe, but the cartoon we all grew up with was itself a radical reinvention of the original comics. My only problem is when reboots/remakes attempt to "fix" problems with the original that largely exist in the heads of people making them; for instance: JJ Abrams saying he wanted Star Trek to be more like Star Wars, when the whole point of Star Trek is that is isn't like Star Wars, or Christopher Nolan trying to make Superman darker and edgier, and in the process completely missing the point of Superman. Sometimes a reinvention is called for, but is unlucky in the people calling for it; for instance, there was an artistic argument for a remake of King Kong with modern effects and fewer racist undercurrents, but not by someone who would make it last for three hours. There was a case for an adaptation of Red Dragon that didn't look like an 80s Revlon commercial and decide to score its ending with "In A-Gadda-Da-Vida", just not one directed by Brett Ratner. So yeah, remakes can be tricky, but they are not bad in themselves, and shouldn't be thought of as such.

Noclevername
2014-May-14, 03:48 PM
I think it worked well for Firefly, but it had a definite purpose that may not translate well to other stories.

Whedon used it sparingly, and appropriately (IE, when panning over a Sun-lit scene).

iquestor
2014-May-14, 03:50 PM
star said
And grown jaded to a degree, which may explain why a lot of the blockbusters depend on so much flash at the expense of good story telling. I'm still waiting for someone to take the new possibilities to the next level with a truly excellent story that leaves me feeling something more than just sated at the end of a movie.

yes, agreed. todays audiences want everything spelled out to them, rather than having to think.


It's also lost to a great degree the fairly unique blend of optimism, innocence and romance that was a big part of TOS and what followed. It wasn't just people in big ships blasting each other, there was always a human element(even with the aliens) that can be washed out by to much flash(or lens flare).

I see your point here. TOS was especially about people in difficult situations, and keeping your 'humanity' - solving real cultural problems. The aliens races and cultures in TOS were just foils for the problems between countries here on Earth in the 1960s. There were many episodes which talked to social problems, from Hippies and youth movements (Khan) to bi-racial relationships (Kirk kissing Uhura) . The new ST and new movies/series in general don't, and for some reason cannot embrace this theme, probably due to the 'maturing' of audiences, or perhaps lack of attention span and need to be constantly entertained. Maybe with the lens flares, Abrams was trying to capture the innocence and youth of humanity trying to take their place in a very recently expanded universe.

perhaps

Swift
2014-May-14, 03:51 PM
Back to the topic of reboots, as others have said...

My biggest problems with sequels and prequels and remakes and reboots, beyond the fact that they are often bad movies and they often seem to be needlessly against canon for whatever series it is (though I guess a reboot is deliberately against canon by definition), is that I'm bored with them. And though I mentioned Batman as an arbitrary example, you can pick just about any of them. I'm just bored with another rehash of something that has already had 3 or 4 or 7 or 10 movie versions. I just want to see something original for a change, particularly original science fiction, and most particularly original science fiction that is really science fiction, and not action-adventure with spaceships.

And no, I have no belief this will really happen.

Gillianren
2014-May-14, 04:31 PM
As I keep saying, it's not as though the whole thing is new. Consider the Best Picture nominees of 1939, generally thought to be one of the greatest years in the history of film.

Dark Victory--based on a play
Gone With the Wind--based on a book
Goodbye, Mr. Chips--based on a book
Love Affair--original, but remade very successfully as An Affair to Remember in 1957
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington--original
Ninotchka--original
Of Mice and Men--based on a book
Stagecoach--based on a short story
The Wizard of Oz--remake, based on a book
Wuthering Heights--remake, based on a book

So that's three original stories and two remakes out of ten movies. Now, obviously, the difference is that those are (leaving aside my personal dislike of The Wizard of Oz) well-made movies that worked to develop characters and put effort into their filming. And in fact, what I dislike about The Wizard of Oz is what I consider Man of Steel and the new Star Trek to have gotten wrong--a lack of understanding for the character and the universe. However, there are new movies that aren't remakes or reboots that I still don't like; my tirade about The Wolf of Wall Street or Dallas Buyers Club actually goes on considerably longer than my tirade about The Wizard of Oz.

And, okay, I know people here are sci-fi fans, to the point that I've been told not to use that term. (Apparently coined by Forrest Ackerman, if you can believe the documentary I watched last night.) But obviously, we all watch more than just science fiction, right? So how many people actually go see the movies that aren't based on anything? There are great-sounding movies that I know won't ever make it to my multiplex, because no one expects anyone to want to see them. When I lived in a smaller, less artsy town, there were plenty of films I could never go see at all and was lucky to even find in my local video store.

redshifter
2014-May-14, 05:59 PM
My take on it is Abrams took a fan favorite and turned it into just another action series.



It's also lost to a great degree the fairly unique blend of optimism, innocence and romance that was a big part of TOS and what followed. It wasn't just people in big ships blasting each other, there was always a human element(even with the aliens) that can be washed out by to much flash(or lens flare).



And grown jaded to a degree, which may explain why a lot of the blockbusters depend on so much flash at the expense of good story telling. I'm still waiting for someone to take the new possibilities to the next level with a truly excellent story that leaves me feeling something more than just sated at the end of a movie.

:clap:

NEOWatcher
2014-May-14, 06:11 PM
I think it worked well for Firefly, but it had a definite purpose that may not translate well to other stories.
So; it is that "documentary" feel thing.
That's like the handheld shaky camera think in Blair Witch. It might be suited for a horror flick where you really don't want to show things clearly, but not for other things. (Unless of course it's like Mr. Bean showing a film [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m9dtB6CT50]in Cannes[/url)
I want to feel immersed, not feel like I'm watching someone's interpretation.


... and they often seem to be needlessly against canon for whatever series it is (though I guess a reboot is deliberately against canon by definition)...
I just want to see something original for a change
If it's against canon, isn't it original to some degree? I think it's the prequels and sequels where canon really matters, not the reboots.

I though ST-2009 (I wish they would have actually named it something) was rather original storywise, but ruined by the filming and set selection more than anything. Just about anything nowadays is going to be derivitive of something else.

I'm not so sure that it's the story, or laziness of the writers or the character development that they are relying on... it advertising and the "catch". It's all about branding anymore.

starcanuck64
2014-May-14, 09:59 PM
Whedon used it sparingly, and appropriately (IE, when panning over a Sun-lit scene).

I found it very artistic, it was beautiful in the way it was done. I can rewatch Firefly episodes many times and still feel like I'm watching something fresh. I don't get that with some of the series and films that have lifted this approach, even BG isn't as good on second viewing as Firefly is on the 6th or 7th for me.


I see your point here. TOS was especially about people in difficult situations, and keeping your 'humanity' - solving real cultural problems. The aliens races and cultures in TOS were just foils for the problems between countries here on Earth in the 1960s. There were many episodes which talked to social problems, from Hippies and youth movements (Khan) to bi-racial relationships (Kirk kissing Uhura) . The new ST and new movies/series in general don't, and for some reason cannot embrace this theme, probably due to the 'maturing' of audiences, or perhaps lack of attention span and need to be constantly entertained. Maybe with the lens flares, Abrams was trying to capture the innocence and youth of humanity trying to take their place in a very recently expanded universe.

It's hard to put into words what Star Trek meant to people who watched it when it first came out or shortly afterwards. As a 5 or 6 year old I remember watching it with my older brother and sister and it was magic. Nobody said anything while the show was on and even for a child it just made sense, that's something very hard to do in the first place and almost impossible to recreate, even the movies or the series that followed didn't match it for that I don't think.

Abrams pays homage in a lot of ways, Karl Urban as Bones probably comes closest to the original characters and gives the best TOS feel I think, but in the end it's more about taking something that did have magic behind it for many people and using it as a vehicle for something much more commercial. Maybe that's the wave of the future, but that's not what the original was about I think.

starcanuck64
2014-May-14, 10:16 PM
It's more risk than lack of imagination. There's still enough money flowing around Hollywood to ensnare a good portion of the world's imaginative people. According to my favourite pop culture analyst, Moviebob, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TbZQzalnco) the root of the problem is dishonest accounting. No one, not even the execs, knows how much a movie has made, or whether it has recouped its production/marketing costs, until months, even years, after the film has left theatres. The only rubric they have is opening weekend, which is a misty indicator at the best of times. So because no one has a clue what is actually profitable, no one has a clue what people actually want to watch, so they greenlight projects based on pre-existing properties on the assumption that if they liked them, they'd probably like movies based on them.

That would seem to create a self reinforcing loop.

If the accounting is being fudged to protect the executives responsible from possible job loss if the movies they green light are flops and this in turn makes it harder to determine what films are actually successful and what movie goers want to see, how are they going to break out of this.

Except I think it's more of an inward spiral as the proven story lines and characters are mined for whatever creative value is left.

Ara Pacis
2014-May-19, 07:41 AM
As I keep saying, it's not as though the whole thing is new. Consider the Best Picture nominees of 1939, generally thought to be one of the greatest years in the history of film.

But adaptations aren't the same as remakes and reboots. At least an adaptation can be the first time it's been made as a movie, so it can seem fresh. What I dislike are the constant reboots of a franchise while the body of the last one is still warm, e.g. Spiderman.

This is something I've been thinking about for the couple years. I'm developing a story that I want to be filmed, but I also know not everything will fit into 90-120 minutes and if it does poorly, then the whole story won't be told. So, I figure I should write it as a series of e-novels and short stories, and that would be a low investment into seeing if people like the universe. If so, then an adaptation to the big or small screen might have more momentum. Assuming it ever gets interest, assuming I ever finish it. But, I'm keeping that in mind as I write scenes, recognizing that some will be for the screen, some will be for bonus disc content, and others will be to draw people to the novels and ancillary printed media or spin-offs. Hey, I can dream.

HenrikOlsen
2014-May-19, 09:58 AM
But adaptations aren't the same as remakes and reboots.
Did you miss that The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights were remakes?

Ara Pacis
2014-May-19, 10:17 AM
Did you miss that The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights were remakes?

in 1939?

parallaxicality
2014-May-19, 10:32 AM
Well yeah they were. WoO had three adaptations before 1939. I'm not keen on calling re-adaptations "remakes" though; much as I hate the current weasel-wording trend of calling remakes "reimaginings" or "reboots", I think there is a case to be made about re-adaptations. Leonard Maltin, in his film guide, called "Red Dragon" a "needless remake of "Manhunter", which made me wonder if he called Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings a remake of Ralph Bashki's. So I checked and yes, he did.

Gillianren
2014-May-19, 04:00 PM
in 1939?

You know, when commercial film was decades old? Yes. The 1939 Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights were both remakes. The earlier adaptations weren't exactly obscure.

Another one I like to trot out is that a lot of people complain about modern films ripping off previous versions, but the 1949 Little Women literally used the same script as the 1933 version. The differences between the John Wayne True Grit and the Coens' version are more substantial by far. And a lot of people say, "Well, that's different--they're just readapting the same source material." Sure. But so are the people making Batman movies. Why is it okay to do literally dozens of versions of Camille, frequently even more than one in the same year--and that includes silent versions of the opera, somehow--but it's not okay to do two Superman movies seven years apart? Okay, so it would be nice if more of the Superman movies were good, but the idea that remakes and so forth are new is just wrong.

Ara Pacis
2014-May-20, 06:43 AM
You know, when commercial film was decades old? Yes. The 1939 Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights were both remakes. The earlier adaptations weren't exactly obscure.Obscure enough that I didn't recall them off the top of my head.


Another one I like to trot out is that a lot of people complain about modern films ripping off previous versions, but the 1949 Little Women literally used the same script as the 1933 version. The differences between the John Wayne True Grit and the Coens' version are more substantial by far. And a lot of people say, "Well, that's different--they're just readapting the same source material." Sure. But so are the people making Batman movies. Why is it okay to do literally dozens of versions of Camille, frequently even more than one in the same year--and that includes silent versions of the opera, somehow--but it's not okay to do two Superman movies seven years apart? Okay, so it would be nice if more of the Superman movies were good, but the idea that remakes and so forth are new is just wrong.

The difference is exposure. Something made for mass appeal that uses the latest and greatest visual effects techniques is going to get more exposure, more ad space and more mindshare. Furthermore, certain types of fandom is fanatic, so they will be scrutinized by many more people than an art film re-adapting an old book for a smaller market, even if its audience is just as passionate and critical as comicbook, fantasy or sci-fi fandom.

The difference between 1933 and 1949 is 16 years, but the time between Spiderman 3 and The Amazing Spiderman is only 5. I have no problem with remakes when new tech, new social mores or simply a new generation is ready to have "their" version of the story. I know that comics have reboots, but I don't read comics. I did like "Star Trek" 2009, but I don't think it's technically a reboot, since it established continuity with the original series.

Gillianren
2014-May-20, 04:40 PM
Obscure enough that I didn't recall them off the top of my head.

Sure, in some cases a hundred years later. But they weren't obscure to audiences at the time.


The difference is exposure. Something made for mass appeal that uses the latest and greatest visual effects techniques is going to get more exposure, more ad space and more mindshare. Furthermore, certain types of fandom is fanatic, so they will be scrutinized by many more people than an art film re-adapting an old book for a smaller market, even if its audience is just as passionate and critical as comicbook, fantasy or sci-fi fandom.

And you don't think Gone With the Wind and Wuthering Heights were intended to have mass appeal?


The difference between 1933 and 1949 is 16 years, but the time between Spiderman 3 and The Amazing Spiderman is only 5. I have no problem with remakes when new tech, new social mores or simply a new generation is ready to have "their" version of the story. I know that comics have reboots, but I don't read comics. I did like "Star Trek" 2009, but I don't think it's technically a reboot, since it established continuity with the original series.

I thought it threw out continuity with the old series pretty much completely. You know, by having all the characters be approximately the same age and blowing up Vulcan and so forth. That was actually one of the things that bothered me about it, how much it ignored because apparently the original continuity wasn't interesting enough. (Does no one in the screenwriting industry understand how much energy it takes to blow up a planet?) And I'm failing to understand how there's any difference between the 1933 Little Women and the 1949 Little Women other than cast. Remember, I've seen both; they're the same movie, only sixteen years apart. There are a lot more differences between Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man (not that I'm a huge fan of either, mind) than there are between those two movies.

NEOWatcher
2014-May-20, 05:58 PM
(Does no one in the screenwriting industry understand how much energy it takes to blow up a planet?)
Sure they do, that's why it's so cool to them. Who needs reality?

This whole thing is just a modern way of thinking.

Years past (and even now), live theater has done, redone, adapted and brought new ideas to the same plays time and time again. It's always been about the staging and acting.

The movies weren't really much different in the earlier days. People were used to seeing different productions of the same stories. And the technology of the time didn't really lend to much more than the same variations as the theater has presented.

Nowadays, with all the different CGI, movie techniques and other things that modern technology brings, people get bored. They always want something new. The rise in these advanced techniques also brought about what seemed like endless possibilities that weren't limited by actors and sets. Once we get into that expansion mode, it's hard to give it up.

Noclevername
2014-May-20, 09:47 PM
Nowadays, with all the different CGI, movie techniques and other things that modern technology brings, people get bored. They always want something new.

Or the filmmaker THINKS the audience wants something new. So why do they give them the same old plots, with new planet-busting special effects?

What people generally want is new stories, not old ones dressed up in fancy CGI accessories.

Ara Pacis
2014-May-21, 05:08 AM
Sure, in some cases a hundred years later. But they weren't obscure to audiences at the time. OK, I see your (or Henrik's) point.


And you don't think Gone With the Wind and Wuthering Heights were intended to have mass appeal?My comment above was referring to different films.


I thought it threw out continuity with the old series pretty much completely. You know, by having all the characters be approximately the same age and blowing up Vulcan and so forth. That was actually one of the things that bothered me about it, how much it ignored because apparently the original continuity wasn't interesting enough.They went back in time, after that, things are free to change. I don't know about any age discrepancies, but maybe I'm not a superfan. Or maybe those changes are possible in different timeline. I don't know if they established that time travel creates a new timeline, or simply hops to an already extant alternate timeline. Fictional physics is hard to follow.


(Does no one in the screenwriting industry understand how much energy it takes to blow up a planet?) It was an implosion with something that caused a black hole, presumable it provided it's own energy by tapping the gravitational potential energy.


And I'm failing to understand how there's any difference between the 1933 Little Women and the 1949 Little Women other than cast. Remember, I've seen both; they're the same movie, only sixteen years apart. There are a lot more differences between Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man (not that I'm a huge fan of either, mind) than there are between those two movies.

I agree with NEOWatcher, it may be related to audience expectations from watching plays and various productions. I never complain about a high school musical repeating something they or another school did not long before. I think the issue with movies is that they seem to claim, or people seem to claim about them, that the new one is meant to be the definitive version where Hollywood finally gets it right. The One and only One a fan will finally spend money on to have in their library. Silly, I know, but sometimes it seems like that from the fans I talk to. You know how canon polishers are (did I just invent a new term?).

captain swoop
2014-May-21, 07:08 AM
I can see a case for remaking a book 16 years after a previous version. I can see a case for remaking a Silent movie as a talkie.
I can't see a case for constantly re-telling the origins of Batman, Spiderman etc when there are masses of other stories and adventures featuring the characters that could be made in to films.

A good example of a remake is El Dorado with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum from 1966. This is a tighter and faster remake of Rio Bravo from 1959 also starring John Wayne but with Dean martin playing the same role as Mitchum.
El Dorado is almost a scene for scene remake in colour. Both are good films though.

NEOWatcher
2014-May-21, 02:02 PM
Or the filmmaker THINKS the audience wants something new. So why do they give them the same old plots, with new planet-busting special effects?
What people generally want is new stories, not old ones dressed up in fancy CGI accessories.
That doesn't explain why these remakes are drawing in so many people.

NEOWatcher
2014-May-21, 02:12 PM
A good example of a remake is El Dorado with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum from 1966.
That reminds me of the Alamo.
The 1960 version wasn't exactly a great success, but it was popular. It was also very innacurate.
The 2004 version was a bomb, but it was a lot more accurate, told more of the story, and I thought it was a great portrayal.

I think the is a case where people just wanted to see John Wayne.

Gillianren
2014-May-21, 03:34 PM
I can see a case for remaking a book 16 years after a previous version. I can see a case for remaking a Silent movie as a talkie.
I can't see a case for constantly re-telling the origins of Batman, Spiderman etc when there are masses of other stories and adventures featuring the characters that could be made in to films.

This, I do agree with. I want a moratorium on origin stories for a while, especially if the character has appeared in previous films. We know Peter Parker was bitten by a spider. We know that Superman is a Strange Visitor From Another World. I hear they're going to make a Dr. Strange movie--we don't need to know why he is what he is, even though he's not a familiar character. We didn't have to see every movie cop go through the police academy to be interested in them; we as an audience are perfectly capable of just accepting a world wherein some people are superheroes and don't need to see what made them one.


A good example of a remake is El Dorado with John Wayne and Robert Mitchum from 1966. This is a tighter and faster remake of Rio Bravo from 1959 also starring John Wayne but with Dean martin playing the same role as Mitchum.
El Dorado is almost a scene for scene remake in colour. Both are good films though.

Actually, this is as far as I'm concerned not an example at all. I just watched Rio Bravo for the first time, and while there are some rough similarities (like how they're both in colour), the plots are actually fairly different. It's nowhere near scene-for-scene, since several prominent characters in each don't exist in the other. In El Dorado, Mitchum plays a drunken sheriff. In Rio Bravo, Dean Martin plays a drunken deputy who even gets fired from that. In El Dorado, John Wayne is a gunslinger who stops in the town where his best friend is sheriff to fight a rancher who previously tried to hire him. In Rio Bravo, John Wayne is the sheriff who has arrested the rowdy brother of the local bigwig rancher. The McDonald family in El Dorado has no equivalent in Rio Bravo, despite driving much of the plot. Joey McDonald, remember, shoots John Wayne at the beginning, and half of Mississippi's story arc is courting her. Colorado, in Rio Bravo, is a gunslinger; Mississippi can't even shoot. They get compared a lot, but in my opinion, there are more differences than similarities.

Noclevername
2014-May-21, 03:37 PM
That doesn't explain why these remakes are drawing in so many people.

Hope springs eternal.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-21, 03:38 PM
The difference between remakes now and remakes then is the difference between the permanent and the ephemeral.

Books are generally permanent. Books generally don't get remade. There are exceptional cases, such as Joanna Trollope and Alexander McCall Smith rewriting Jane Austen books to make them more accessible, and in a similar vein, classic stories "retold" in simple modern-day language for children, EFL students and so on. There's also John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation, a reboot of H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy, which strikes me as just weird, and often novels coexist with earlier, shorter versions of themselves - some of Raymond Chandler's books, for instance, or Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars which coexists with the earlier, shorter and in some ways more atmospheric Against the Fall of Night.

But generally, if Ian Rankin were to declare, "My forthcoming novel is The 39 Steps," or Stephen Baxter were to say, "I've nearly finished the first draft of Rendezvous With Rama," readers would be wondering what the heck they were up to.

By contrast, TV and film were as ephemeral as theatre until video became generally available. It was reasonable to stage a play that had been performed a year ago because if you hadn't seen it a year ago, you'd missed it. Cinema wasn't that much different. I remember when Star Wars was first shown at the cinema, I was excited because I thought its popularity might encourage them to show 2001 again. And within a year, it really happened!

TV and film are now about as permanent as books. With the general availability of widescreen TV with a good sound system, watching a DVD can be a more pleasant experience than going to the cinema. As such, it seems to make much less sense to me to keep churning out the same old story now than it did half a century ago.

parallaxicality
2014-May-21, 05:01 PM
I'd agree to a point; unlike books, which haven't really had a technological upgrade since Gutenberg, the technology behind movies is constantly changing, and many ideas that had to be left by the wayside (such as the spider scene in King Kong) can be revisited once the technology catches up with imagination. Also, I don't consider re-adaptations of novels remakes.

Gillianren
2014-May-21, 06:38 PM
Well, there are things like The Wide Sargasso Sea, which is Jane Eyre from Bertha's perspective. Or Rose Daughter, which was Robin McKinley deciding she didn't like what she did in Beauty after all and re-retelling "Beauty and the Beast." Do those count?

Here is another thought I have had--people are okay with new movies based on books, but not new movies based on comic books. Because comic books movies don't count as adaptations, somehow?

parallaxicality
2014-May-21, 08:35 PM
I don't get what you mean. People didn't seem to care when Hulk was remade. Or when Superman was remade twice. They just cared that they weren't very good movies. Anyway, comic books aren't exactly Tolstoy; there aren't that many subtle themes and concepts to bring to the fore. Once you've done one story, you've pretty much told it all the ways it can be told. Unless you tell it badly, of course.

Noclevername
2014-May-21, 08:51 PM
I don't get what you mean. People didn't seem to care when Hulk was remade. Or when Superman was remade twice. They just cared that they weren't very good movies. Anyway, comic books aren't exactly Tolstoy; there aren't that many subtle themes and concepts to bring to the fore. Once you've done one story, you've pretty much told it all the ways it can be told. Unless you tell it badly, of course.

Depends on the comic.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-21, 09:31 PM
Well, there are things like The Wide Sargasso Sea, which is Jane Eyre from Bertha's perspective. Or Rose Daughter, which was Robin McKinley deciding she didn't like what she did in Beauty after all and re-retelling "Beauty and the Beast." Do those count?

A book (or a story in any other medium) like Sargasso is clearly doing something other than simply retelling Jane Eyre. Similarly, Stoppard's Rozencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is clearly not a remake of Hamlet. Michael Moorcock's Behold The Man is not a remake of the Gospel. But as far as I know, Fantastic Voyage 2 is indeed a remake of Asimov's own novelisation of Fantastic Voyage.

As you may recall, I am not dogmatically opposed to remakes on principle. I approve of them if a) the remake does better justice to the story than the original (regardless of whether it's an adaptation or not) or b) the premise is so open-ended and fascinating that the remake is a new story in its own right. I would argue that these are in the minority.

A new film adaptation of a book (or story in some other medium) may or may not be a remake. When Ringu was filmed as The Ring, I don't think Suzuki's Ring novels had been translated into English. Lindqvist's novel Let The Right One In was available in English before either film versions had been released, but the English language film Let Me In had more in common with the Swedish film than the book.


Here is another thought I have had--people are okay with new movies based on books, but not new movies based on comic books. Because comic books movies don't count as adaptations, somehow?

Possibly, but I think it's more likely that these people simply don't like comics. My mother was always very disparaging about comics (still is, probably) and I've often wanted to prove her wrong, because in theory there's nothing to stop comics from being great literature (or its medium's equivalent). But I've never managed it, not even in my own mind. People have recommended the comic book works of Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and the like, but they always feel shallow. I've found my interest in The Walking Dead waning, quite severely at times, because it feels like an adaptation of a comic book.

Gillianren
2014-May-22, 02:32 AM
I don't get what you mean. People didn't seem to care when Hulk was remade. Or when Superman was remade twice. They just cared that they weren't very good movies. Anyway, comic books aren't exactly Tolstoy; there aren't that many subtle themes and concepts to bring to the fore. Once you've done one story, you've pretty much told it all the ways it can be told. Unless you tell it badly, of course.

I disagree vehemently with this. Oh, sure, there's your basic Silver Age lunacy, where Lois is always trying to trick Superman into marrying her and Jimmy Olson is turned into a gorilla at least twice, but there are plenty of comic books with depth. Look, for example, into the later works of Will Eisner. There's Fagin the Jew, his retelling of Oliver Twist from Fagin's perspective. Or Maus, by Art Spiegelman, about his father's experiences during the Holocaust. There are comic books which really explore the conflict between Magneto's Kill All the Humans rhetoric and his own past as a concentration camp prisoner. There are Batman comics which explore the sanity, or lack thereof, in a man whose reaction to grief is to dress up like a giant bat and stalk the night--which posit, for example, that Gotham is at least in part the way it is because of Batman. Having Batman draws people like the Joker.

captain swoop
2014-May-22, 06:16 AM
oops, you are right, Rio Lobo is Coloru! For some reason in my mind I see it in B&W.

NEOWatcher
2014-May-22, 02:19 PM
Here's another example of why reusing characters and names important.
'Batman v Superman' official title: Who likes it? (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/21/showbiz/movies/batman-superman-dawn-of-justice/index.html?hpt=hp_t3)

Of course the news loves any controversy and any entertainment news. So; why not make a controversy about entertainment news. A popular name helps too. I doubt this would be a story if it was "normalman v familyman"

Of course, they base this "controversy" on a few random tweets that are probably kids in their basements who've never seen the light of day based on some of the comments they made. Especially the ones complaining about the plot of the movie which they only inferred from the title.

Gillianren
2014-May-22, 04:07 PM
I have mostly refrained from commenting on that movie, because it's not out yet. I remember being terribly snarky about the idea of Heath Ledger as the Joker, and it's made me a lot more humble about casting decisions ever since. At least until I can watch someone screw up the character.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-22, 05:32 PM
I disagree vehemently with this. Oh, sure, there's your basic Silver Age lunacy, where Lois is always trying to trick Superman into marrying her and Jimmy Olson is turned into a gorilla at least twice, but there are plenty of comic books with depth. Look, for example, into the later works of Will Eisner. There's Fagin the Jew, his retelling of Oliver Twist from Fagin's perspective. Or Maus, by Art Spiegelman, about his father's experiences during the Holocaust. There are comic books which really explore the conflict between Magneto's Kill All the Humans rhetoric and his own past as a concentration camp prisoner. There are Batman comics which explore the sanity, or lack thereof, in a man whose reaction to grief is to dress up like a giant bat and stalk the night--which posit, for example, that Gotham is at least in part the way it is because of Batman. Having Batman draws people like the Joker.

I can't really express an opinion of Fagin the Jew or Maus, without having read them. But as the other examples... well, that's not my idea of "depth". It sounds like an extension of the fannish need to find shades of grey whether they are there or not. It's a kind of faux sophistication that has plagued Doctor Who in recent years.

Noclevername
2014-May-22, 05:59 PM
I can't really express an opinion of Fagin the Jew or Maus, without having read them. But as the other examples... well, that's not my idea of "depth". It sounds like an extension of the fannish need to find shades of grey whether they are there or not. It's a kind of faux sophistication that has plagued Doctor Who in recent years.

So what about things like Ghost World (which became a movie with Scarlett Johansson), American Splendor (made into a multi-award winning film), Our Cancer Year, or American Born Chinese? If you want superheroes, what about Alan Moore's Swamp Thing or Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol or Animal Man?

So yes, there are comics that are more than punching guys in capes. There are comics with depth and complexity. There are even comics that are real literature. They just aren't the ones they make summer blockbusters about.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-22, 06:02 PM
I've already mentioned Alan Moore. I've been directed towards a few comics that are supposedly a bit more literary or whatever, but I've generally found them wanting. I would still be happy to be proven wrong, though.

Noclevername
2014-May-22, 06:30 PM
I've already mentioned Alan Moore. I've been directed towards a few comics that are supposedly a bit more literary or whatever, but I've generally found them wanting. I would still be happy to be proven wrong, though.

I don't know what the comics scene is like in the UK (probably there is a large difference in availability of the small-press comics) but my suggestion is to go to a dedicated comics shop, seek out the lesser-known comics and avoid the "big name" pow-bam stuff they sell at chain bookstores (although personally, I find those books to be fun escapism when done well --Invincible is my current favorite). And ask people who know the comics world well; there are always some folks willing to advise about quality.

And don't be so hasty about dismissing adding depth to existing characters and settings as "fannish needs". Clever writers can do some pretty interesting things with interpretations of established story elements.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-22, 08:30 PM
I don't know what the comics scene is like in the UK (probably there is a large difference in availability of the small-press comics) but my suggestion is to go to a dedicated comics shop, seek out the lesser-known comics and avoid the "big name" pow-bam stuff they sell at chain bookstores (although personally, I find those books to be fun escapism when done well --Invincible is my current favorite). And ask people who know the comics world well; there are always some folks willing to advise about quality.

Maybe I will.


And don't be so hasty about dismissing adding depth to existing characters and settings as "fannish needs". Clever writers can do some pretty interesting things with interpretations of established story elements.

But you have to have bought into the idea in the first place. Take Batman, for instance. I've really tried to get excited about a moody crime fighter who dresses as a bat. But it does nothing for me. Therefore, attempts at psychoanalysing him are the opposite of interesting.

Noclevername
2014-May-22, 09:15 PM
But you have to have bought into the idea in the first place. Take Batman, for instance. I've really tried to get excited about a moody crime fighter who dresses as a bat. But it does nothing for me. Therefore, attempts at psychoanalysing him are the opposite of interesting.

Yes, and that's fine. But that doesn't mean that all Batman comics lack depth or have "faux sophistication". Just that you don't care for them enough to search through the slush pile for the few that could be interesting to you.

Again, it's about expectations. You go into it saying "Oh, another Batman, yawn" then you will not have a good time no matter the content.

Gillianren
2014-May-22, 10:30 PM
. . . You could maybe try Fagin the Jew or Maus. Maus was the first graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize.

HenrikOlsen
2014-May-23, 12:45 AM
They just aren't the ones they make summer blockbusters about.
I see Joseph Gordon-Levitt's set to produce Gaiman's Sandman, that's one I'll probably see on the big screen.

HenrikOlsen
2014-May-23, 12:49 AM
Maybe I will.
But you have to have bought into the idea in the first place. Take Batman, for instance. I've really tried to get excited about a moody crime fighter who dresses as a bat. But it does nothing for me. Therefore, attempts at psychoanalysing him are the opposite of interesting.
Some of the more interesting stories are the ones that acknowledge that it's not really a sane response.
But I think the general consensus is that it's a psychological warfare thing, being scary compensate to some extent for always being outnumbered.

Noclevername
2014-May-23, 12:52 AM
I see Joseph Gordon-Levitt's set to produce Gaiman's Sandman, that's one I'll probably see on the big screen.

That sounds like one I'd like to see.

SkepticJ
2014-May-23, 01:56 AM
I've already mentioned Alan Moore. I've been directed towards a few comics that are supposedly a bit more literary or whatever, but I've generally found them wanting. I would still be happy to be proven wrong, though.

What by Moore have you read?

I found Watchmen* and V for Vendetta to be excellent.


*I hated, and almost walked out of, the movie. It gutted the depth from the story.

Noclevername
2014-May-23, 03:13 AM
What by Moore have you read?

I found Watchmen* and V for Vendetta to be excellent.


*I hated, and almost walked out of, the movie. It gutted the depth from the story.

See, now I had the opposite reaction to those movies-- I liked the way Watchmen was adapted to the film medium (the soundtrack alone gave it its own impact and feel, with the exception of one poorly chosen song), but I thought VFV was missing its soul.

Ara Pacis
2014-May-23, 07:29 AM
The difference between remakes now and remakes then is the difference between the permanent and the ephemeral.

I think this is the key. A big part of it is the increasing expense of moviemaking. Some may say that audiences are more discriminating and sophisticated, but I think they've become less sophisticated, at least where it counts. They demand sophisticated visual realism, but not necessarily sophisticated characterization or storytelling. Or maybe that's just what producers think. If movies could be less expensive, by filming on obvious sets and the acting, storytelling and editing was good, maybe people would ignore the lower quality sets like they do at a play or with animation. Or perhaps it is the realism of the depiction that allows people to let go and escape into the fictonal world, being immersed so deeply that they don't pay attention to any ethical questions posed by the story, or maybe they simply are not paying attention to the fact there are no ethical questions or statements about the human condition to which they can give attention.

Another problem may be the extension of intellectual property rights to longer after an originator's death. Some may want to keep remaking something so they can keep extracting money from rights. Rights for a hot property can be bid to an expensive level, which points back to the cost of film productions. If corporations buy rights and keep rent-seeking for laws to extend this, then it prevents others from making their own competing productions. That sounds like it would create more remakes, and it probably would, but they might be low-cost, instead of the get-our-money's-worth high budget productions that suck all the oxygen out of the room and limit the potential for new and original stories to be filmed.

BTW, I can see a case for re-writing works. Besides a different perspective, like The Wind Done Gone, one might retell an epic poem in prose or add new background to an old story, like telling Romeo and Juliet in prose (instead of as a script) and including some geo-political ramifications of the story, while explaining the setting in detail or changing details. The question is how much can one change the written word to make it new but not so little that it's considered plagiarism. I don't think anyone would consider restaging a play or re-filming a movie shot for shot to be plagiarism.

Gillianren
2014-May-23, 07:45 AM
Though the one almost shot-for-shot I can name does not have the best reputation. Because seriously, sometimes, don't bother; you can't do as well as the original.

SeanF
2014-May-23, 02:14 PM
Though the one almost shot-for-shot I can name does not have the best reputation. Because seriously, sometimes, don't bother; you can't do as well as the original.
I bet I know which one you're talking about. "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-23, 04:49 PM
I think this is the key. A big part of it is the increasing expense of moviemaking. Some may say that audiences are more discriminating and sophisticated, but I think they've become less sophisticated, at least where it counts. They demand sophisticated visual realism, but not necessarily sophisticated characterization or storytelling. Or maybe that's just what producers think. If movies could be less expensive, by filming on obvious sets and the acting, storytelling and editing was good, maybe people would ignore the lower quality sets like they do at a play or with animation. Or perhaps it is the realism of the depiction that allows people to let go and escape into the fictonal world, being immersed so deeply that they don't pay attention to any ethical questions posed by the story, or maybe they simply are not paying attention to the fact there are no ethical questions or statements about the human condition to which they can give attention.

I'd certainly agree that the need for visual realism is a sign of decreased sophistication. One of the most memorable and respected TV production was I, Claudius, which was practically a filmed stage play. I don't think it would be possible to do something like that for today's audiences. For me, the certainty that "it wouldn't have happened like that" pushes me right out of the story. Which isn't to say I demand physical realism all the time. I had no trouble at all with buying into the balletic sequences in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.


BTW, I can see a case for re-writing works. Besides a different perspective, like The Wind Done Gone, one might retell an epic poem in prose or add new background to an old story, like telling Romeo and Juliet in prose (instead of as a script) and including some geo-political ramifications of the story, while explaining the setting in detail or changing details. The question is how much can one change the written word to make it new but not so little that it's considered plagiarism. I don't think anyone would consider restaging a play or re-filming a movie shot for shot to be plagiarism.

Rewriting Romeo and Juliet as a novel would, in effect, be an adaptation into another medium. Other Shakespeare plays have appeared as novels... sort of. NIgel Tranter wrote MacBeth the King, but of course he was writing historical fiction based on facts and suppositions rather than an adaptation of Shakespeare's play... except that he probably assumed his readers would be familiar with it and consequently be surprised by the "real" story.

My objection is not so much about remakes as pointless remakes. If we've already had the story delivered to us, and the remake doesn't tell us a new story (or even the story with some new bits) then why use up a budget that could have been spent on delivering a new story? Total Recall, Solaris and The Time Machine delivered so much less than the previous version of each.

NEOWatcher
2014-May-23, 05:38 PM
..., which was practically a filmed stage play. I don't think it would be possible to do something like that for today's audiences.
Carrie Underwood doing the Sound of Music?



...,For me, the certainty that "it wouldn't have happened like that" pushes me right out of the story.
Aha; realism... not quality of acting.



My objection is not so much about remakes as pointless remakes. If we've already had the story delivered to us, and the remake doesn't tell us a new story (or even the story with some new bits)
I guess it depends on what you mean by new story.
I definitely agree, but if by "new" you include changed, then that's where I start to drop off.

Sometimes it's a matter of presentation.
An example that comes to mind is "the Day the Earth Stood Still".
Hollywood considered it to be a remake. Nothing about it said remake to me. The story and intent were completely different. There wasn't even a scene in there that applied to the title.
Now; if they instead changed the opening from mountain expedition to some reference to the 1951 event and called it a sequel, it would have been totally different for me. 1951 was the warning 2008 was the I told you so and second chance.

captain swoop
2014-May-23, 06:36 PM
I can't really express an opinion of Fagin the Jew or Maus, without having read them. But as the other examples... well, that's not my idea of "depth". It sounds like an extension of the fannish need to find shades of grey whether they are there or not. It's a kind of faux sophistication that has plagued Doctor Who in recent years.

I think we agree on something at last!

captain swoop
2014-May-23, 06:40 PM
What by Moore have you read?

I found Watchmen* and V for Vendetta to be excellent.


*I hated, and almost walked out of, the movie. It gutted the depth from the story.


Moore leaves me cold. Both the fans and the man himself think he is writing great literature when all he produces are pulp fiction in the guise of comics. 'V for Vendetta' is the most overblown and hyped tosh I have tried to read.

captain swoop
2014-May-23, 06:49 PM
I'd certainly agree that the need for visual realism is a sign of decreased sophistication. One of the most memorable and respected TV production was I, Claudius, which was practically a filmed stage play. I don't think it would be possible to do something like that for today's audiences. For me, the certainty that "it wouldn't have happened like that" pushes me right out of the story. Which isn't to say I demand physical realism all the time. I had no trouble at all with buying into the balletic sequences in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.



Rewriting Romeo and Juliet as a novel would, in effect, be an adaptation into another medium. Other Shakespeare plays have appeared as novels... sort of. NIgel Tranter wrote MacBeth the King, but of course he was writing historical fiction based on facts and suppositions rather than an adaptation of Shakespeare's play... except that he probably assumed his readers would be familiar with it and consequently be surprised by the "real" story.

My objection is not so much about remakes as pointless remakes. If we've already had the story delivered to us, and the remake doesn't tell us a new story (or even the story with some new bits) then why use up a budget that could have been spent on delivering a new story? Total Recall, Solaris and The Time Machine delivered so much less than the previous version of each.

Again I agree. Total Recall for example. 80s Arnie films are Cheesy but that is a big part of their appeal.remaking them with 'better' effects and the humour removed does nothing to improve them. Another good example is the recent Conan movie. It was no closer to the original books than the Arnie film but it lacked the Operatic feel of the original.

Noclevername
2014-May-23, 07:54 PM
My objection is not so much about remakes as pointless remakes. If we've already had the story delivered to us, and the remake doesn't tell us a new story (or even the story with some new bits) then why use up a budget that could have been spent on delivering a new story?

The Amazing Spider-Man was made purely so that Sony Pictures could keep the film rights to the character. There have been other movies made, for similar reasons. Roger Corman's infamous never-released Fantastic Four (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fantastic_Four_(film)) film comes to mind-- believe it or not, it was said to be worse that the theatrical FF, and even less faithful to the comics. And made on a shoestring budget.

Gillianren
2014-May-23, 09:35 PM
Someone I know asked me the other day how long I thought Disney would "let" other studios keep the various Marvel characters whose rights have been sold off over the years. I explained that they didn't much have a choice, and he refused to believe me. After all, Disney owns Marvel now!

parallaxicality
2014-May-23, 10:07 PM
There's an interesting explanation as to the Marvel rights situation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xibf8pp3u3s); it gets weird.

The weirdest thing about all this is that DC have been owned by a movie studio for decades, and they can't even manage to get a decent non-Batman movie made about any of their characters.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-24, 05:41 AM
I think we agree on something at last!

I've never been an uncritical fan of Doctor Who.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-24, 06:04 AM
Aha; realism... not quality of acting.

Why do you say that? I didn't say the "it wouldn't have happened like that" aspect was the only thing that pushes me out of a story.


I guess it depends on what you mean by new story.
I definitely agree, but if by "new" you include changed, then that's where I start to drop off.

The remake of Dawn of the Dead is very different to the original; the only things they have in common is zombies and a shopping mall. The premise is the same - what if the dead came back to life and tried to eat the living? - but we get two very different stories from that, both very good stories IMO.


Sometimes it's a matter of presentation.
An example that comes to mind is "the Day the Earth Stood Still".
Hollywood considered it to be a remake. Nothing about it said remake to me. The story and intent were completely different. There wasn't even a scene in there that applied to the title.
Now; if they instead changed the opening from mountain expedition to some reference to the 1951 event and called it a sequel, it would have been totally different for me. 1951 was the warning 2008 was the I told you so and second chance.

Okay, I think I know what you mean. I haven't seen the remake all the way through, but from what I've seen of it, it looks like one of those remakes where the makers think they are improving on the original but they haven't actually understood the original.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-24, 09:29 AM
The sublime 4-second-long film Why Is The Baby On Fire? has been remade many times.

Gillianren
2014-May-24, 05:10 PM
The remake of Dawn of the Dead is very different to the original; the only things they have in common is zombies and a shopping mall. The premise is the same - what if the dead came back to life and tried to eat the living? - but we get two very different stories from that, both very good stories IMO.

See, and here's the thing--my reaction to not just the remake but the original itself was "what's the point?" I find zombie movies boring. Except I Walked With a Zombie, which was actual traditional zombies and is a retelling of Jane Eyre. I'd much rather watch yet another Batman movie, even if it's an origin story.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-24, 06:20 PM
See, and here's the thing--my reaction to not just the remake but the original itself was "what's the point?" I find zombie movies boring. Except I Walked With a Zombie, which was actual traditional zombies and is a retelling of Jane Eyre. I'd much rather watch yet another Batman movie, even if it's an origin story.

Come on Gillian, you can do better than this.

For one thing, given the context, everybody who discusses film knows the difference between "zombie" in the Romero sense and zombie in the voodoo sense. If you dislike films about one type, it's obviously not an exception to like a film about the other type.

More importantly, if a certain genre of film does absolutely nothing for you, then obviously any example of that genre is going to seem pointless to you regardless of whether it's a remake/reboot or an original.

I can't abide Spiderman, and have no intention of watching any film featuring that character/premise. But despite my antipathy towards Spiderman, I can still understand why people are annoyed and frustrated by the fact that the series was rebooted so soon when what they wanted was further adventures. I can understand the difference between my own personal taste and what people quite reasonably want of something that isn't to my personal taste.

Gillianren
2014-May-24, 07:33 PM
Then why is the conversation always dominated by discussion of superhero movies? Because if you look at any discussion online of remakes, the first three characters to come up are Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man. Okay, yes--the new Spider-Man movies were made for the express purpose of not having the rights revert back to Marvel, and they're bad. (Well, mediocre, which may be worse.) Most of the roles (not Peter Parker) are well cast; that's actually one of the biggest problems. When the actor ostensibly playing the lead is just bad compared to the actor playing the one character guaranteed to die by the end of the picture, that's not a good thing. Let's talk about that instead of "Why are they making more superhero movies?" Why? Because they make money. People go see them, and as long as they do, the studios will keep making superhero movies. The movie industry is an industry, even if its product is art.

Here's the thing. Yes. I want a moratorium on origin stories, because they've been told, but the problem there is not that they're making superhero movies. It's that the studios somehow think that we've all forgotten about the radioactive (or genetically engineered, if you're looking at the Tobey Maguire) spider, or that we wouldn't be able to accept a man in a fancy mechanical war suit if we didn't see him building the first one. It's insulting our intelligence. We've known for very close to a hundred years now that superheroes are a Thing, and we don't actually need to see how they become one in any given story. And there are a heck of a lot more interesting stories to be told in the various universes than just the origin stories. Any comic book fan could start listing; mine would probably start with The Killing Joke, and some people are getting their way as we speak with Days of Future Past. The conversation ought to be about what's wrong with the movies, not what's wrong with the genre or what's wrong with remakes in general. If you think about it, the Star Trek reboot is just another origin story, which we certainly didn't need. Gene Roddenberry didn't bother giving us one, because he knew if nothing else that we could get interested in a character without knowing every detail of why they did what they do.

I love superhero stories when they're told well, and I do believe that it's more than possible to tell them well. The problem is bad superhero movies, but if you look at even this discussion, there are people who act as though the problem is superhero movies at all, especially if they're using familiar characters.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-24, 09:12 PM
Then why is the conversation always dominated by discussion of superhero movies? Because if you look at any discussion online of remakes, the first three characters to come up are Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man.

For at least the first 50 posts of this thread, comics and superheroes were hardly mentioned (except when you did). The discussion was initially dominated by talk of Star Trek and Star Wars and their ilk, but I felt the thread was interesting because it covered quite a diversity of genres and media.


The conversation ought to be about what's wrong with the movies, not what's wrong with the genre or what's wrong with remakes in general.

The problem with remakes in general is something that bothers a lot of us. And, incidentally, it's not just movies. Who in the name of sanity thought Hawaii 5-0 needed remaking? A new cop show set in modern day Hawaii would have been fine, but no, they had to give all the characters the same names as in the original. Ditto Survivors. A pandemic that wipes out civilisation is a perfectly acceptable and reusable premise, but no, that's not enough for the makers, they had to name the characters Abby Grant and Greg Preston and Tom Price, and re-enact the occasional storyline in a watered-down way. And The Day of the Triffids. There was a perfectly respectable adaptation of Wyndham's novel made in the 1980s, but they had to make an idiotic one in the 00s. Anyway, I would like to share my opinion with other people who are annoyed by this ridiculous practice, and this thread seems like the ideal place to do so.


I love superhero stories when they're told well, and I do believe that it's more than possible to tell them well. The problem is bad superhero movies, but if you look at even this discussion, there are people who act as though the problem is superhero movies at all, especially if they're using familiar characters.

I personally don't like superhero movies and, deep down, I suspect that they can't be good by their very nature (spirited defences notwithstanding) but I'm happy for other people to enjoy them, just as I hope people are happy for me to enjoy Doctor Who and zombie stories even if they don't like them themselves.

But there's nothing to stop you from starting a thread called, "What's wrong with superhero movies?" and putting in your first post that you'd like to see the discussion take a wider view than just focusing on remakes. I probably wouldn't contribute much to it but I'd probably read it with interest.

Gillianren
2014-May-24, 09:24 PM
I'm shocked. They can't be good? Why not?

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-24, 10:13 PM
I'm shocked. They can't be good? Why not?

Most - if not all - stories are about conflict. Superhero stories tend to be about physical conflict, otherwise what's the point in having some physical superpower? Hence there tend to be an awful lot of prolonged punch-ups between superhero and supervillain which is usually pretty contrived - how come we never see a world where there is one but not the other? - but is also that extra step removed from reality and so is less relatable.

When I was a boy, fighting was not a big deal. Sometimes it happened between friends, and quite often they'd have forgotten all about it the next day. But when one reaches adulthood, one realises that a fight between adults can easily result in a permanent injury or death, even if not intended.

As a result, adults tend to take a different view on fighting to the one they took as children. It can still be interesting in fiction - if a man fights knowing he could end up disabled, then it tells us about his character and background, including how desperate he probably is.

But when supers start slapping each other with cars or whipping each other with suspension bridges, it all becomes meaningless and childish - the real danger of adults fighting seems to have been forgotten. Once the villain has had one rail thrown spear-like at his head and he's responded by growling angrily, I'm left thinking, "Okay, so that didn't kill him outright. I wonder what it does take to kill him? Actually I don't care."

Maybe my perception of superhero stories is very narrow, and the ones that climax in a city-trashing punchup that end with the hero not killing the villain because that would make him no better than blah blah are the minority, and most of them are about looking at our world from a superhero's elevated viewpoint, but... Well, as I said, it's my suspicion, not my dogmatic view, and I am prepared to be proven wrong.

Gillianren
2014-May-24, 10:59 PM
Your perception of superhero stories is very narrow.

For one thing, I dispute that there's an artificial divide between physical and emotional conflict. Let's take the most recent Captain America movie, which I think has several layers of story--and which I saw recently.

There is, to start, the level on which Steve Rogers is still, in many ways, an ordinary guy. Super-soldier serum, yes, so he's physically very strong. He has the shield, too, which he can use to smash things, and that's awfully handy. However, there's Steve Rogers, the person, too. He was frozen in ice for decades. Yes, that's ridiculous, but I'm sure you could list equally ridiculous plot points from things you do like, so let's not dwell on that. The point is, everyone he encounters seems to have exactly the same reaction to hearing about all that missed time--they have the one thing he absolutely positively needs to be aware of in order to catch up to the twenty-first century. So what does he do? He keeps a notebook. A physical one, because he's still most comfortable with the technology of his own time. And, hey, it works. He has his notebook, and he has his pencil. (Apparently, the makers inserted different things depending on which country's release you see; the British release includes Sherlock on his list.) He has a conversation with one of the other characters at one point in the movie about dating, and it actually covers some of the difficulties he would have with it. A guy who last remembers 1944 would not be really comfortable with a woman with a lip piercing.

The first thing Cap thinks to do during combat in an inhabited area is get civilians away, because he knows they get hurt easier than he does. There are also excellent in-story reasons he doesn't want to hurt the person he has to fight, the eponymous Winter Soldier. It isn't "that would make me no better," either. He'll kill if he has to, but he doesn't want to. He's not a sociopath, for one thing, but that's not the only reason. And, of course, the reason he was willing to take the super-soldier serum in the first place was to be able to fight in World War II, not because he wanted to be a tough guy.

What's more, the story does use a fair amount of physical combat, but that isn't enough to resolve the in-story problems, because the main villain has to be defeated politically. Yes, in Man of Steel, all Superman had to do was smash Zod to little tiny pieces; situation resolved. But when the main villain controls your standard Shadowy Cabal Within the Government and also has enough influence to make it appear that Cap is the traitor, punching him really hard doesn't make the problem go away. Especially since they have to figure out who the leader of said Shadowy Cabal is in the first place. In many ways, I find Winter Soldier more of a Cold War thriller than a typical superhero movie.

What I'm seeing here is a belief that superhero stories are all about guys in spandex punching one another, and whenever it's explained that there's more to it than that, the response is, "That's a sop to the fans." As opposed to being a frequent part of the storytelling, which is what it is. Superman is about the immigrant experience in the US at its core, and the problem is that its core has mostly been ignored over the last seventy years or so--which is why I'm not an enormous fan of Superman myself, come to that. Spider-Man is about the hardships of adolescence. Captain America is about patriotism, and the fun thing about that one is that it has gotten more thoughtful on the subject since the original comic. The first issue, after all, was just Cap punching Hitler in the face--before the US got into World War II!

Oh, and the reason I think there are superheroes and supervillains is that some people, given phenomenal power, will use it for good and some will use it purely for their own benefit. The one place my own superhero stories are largely different is that I posit that a lot of people won't feel the need to do either; not everyone is naturally a hero or a villain. Most people are just people, and I don't think that would be different even if they got superpowers.

Solfe
2014-May-25, 01:22 AM
There's an interesting explanation as to the Marvel rights situation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xibf8pp3u3s); it gets weird.

The weirdest thing about all this is that DC have been owned by a movie studio for decades, and they can't even manage to get a decent non-Batman movie made about any of their characters.

Nobody is going to like another Green Lantern movie. :)

Gillianren
2014-May-25, 03:26 AM
I would, if they did a good one. I even have a list of ways they could make a good one; number one on the list is "no Ryan Reynolds." Actually, I'd like them to go with John Stewart (that's with an "h," not the fake newscaster).

Noclevername
2014-May-25, 03:44 AM
And the John Stewart GL only became really interesting to me when the Justice League animated series came out. They fleshed him put and added depth where the comics had to that point mostly only used him as "angry black man" or "substitute Lantern, third string". Thus proving, in that and other ways, that even animation can be worth viewing, sometimes more than a live-action production. Look at the simplisticly adolescent writing of Smallville, versus something like the Young Justice second season.

But that's a separate rant, worthy of its own thread.

HenrikOlsen
2014-May-25, 04:17 PM
Superman is about the immigrant experience in the US at its core, and the problem is that its core has mostly been ignored over the last seventy years or so--which is why I'm not an enormous fan of Superman myself, come to that.
There's an interesting scene in Garth Ennis' Hitman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitman_(DC_Comics)) where the protagonist Tommy Monaghan (of Irish immigrant background) meets a Superman who's trying to get to grips with who he's really supposed to be and has a small chat with him about exactly that and how Superman is a shining example of Immigrant Boy Makes Good.
It's part of the twisted humor of the series that 2 frames after Superman leaves, Tommy gets out his rifle and shoots the mobster he was there to kill in the first place.

Gillianren
2014-May-25, 04:38 PM
I read a book not long ago called Is Superman Jewish? or some such, talking about the influence of Jewish culture on superheroes. (The book's answer was "technically no, but here are the obvious influences of having been created by a couple of Jewish immigrants' sons.) Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four is now Jewish in canon, which makes playing with the connections to the legend of the Golem even more fun.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-26, 03:44 PM
[Gillian's long piece on Captain America]

Thanks for the reply, Gillian. I've read it through a couple of times.

I confess I do immediately find I am put off by two things about Captain America: his appearance and his name.

I don't really buy into the "Spider-Man is about the hardships of adolescence" and so on. He has adolescence issues and he does spidery things... well yeah, how is that supposed to add insight?

Having Cptn A frozen in ice for decades would be a problem for me. Yes, stupid things happen in my stuff (for example, Davros, the creator of the Daleks, was exterminated by his creation and left in a corridor for 1,000 years, only to turn up again with some vague talk about "a secondary life support") but I hate it when it happens in my stuff too.

I will give the Captain America films a look when I get a chance, though. And if I respond the way I think I will respond... well, I don't think either of us have difficulty remembering that we only really disagree about unimportant things.

Noclevername
2014-May-26, 04:56 PM
And if I respond the way I think I will respond... well, I don't think either of us have difficulty remembering that we only really disagree about unimportant things.

Isn't that what this whole thread is about? You're already thinking that you won't like it, so odds are even if it has moments you like, you'll likely still come away with the negative impression you walked in with.

The first film is not a yay-rah-rah America RULEZ movie. It is about real patriotism, not nationalism, and the flag-waving wartime jingoism you seem to expect is largely averted, even mocked in some ways. I have yet to see the second, so I can't comment on it, but Cap's characterization is pretty consistent in the Avengers film, so I have high hopes that he's the same guy in that one too.

Gillianren
2014-May-26, 05:16 PM
Paul, this isn't unimportant to me. When I write fiction, what I write is mostly superhero fiction.

Yeah. Seventy years ago, Captain America was created to be the character you're imagining, and that's why he has that name. What they've done with him recently is really explore what patriotism means. There was, a few years ago, a major story arc across the Marvel universe, where for various reasons the government called for superhero registration. Which I have to say makes a certain level of sense, but the problem was who holds the lists and what they do with them. For reasons that make perfect sense in-story, Captain America was completely opposed to the idea. (For one, it didn't matter if you wanted to use your powers or not. You had 'em? You're on the list, which was as I recall public.) Despite the fact that he was leading resistance against the full force of the US government, it was still one of the decisions about who was on what side (it was decided by editorial fiat, not by the writers) that made perfect sense. Cap was doing what was right, not what his government wanted.

What insight does giving Spider-Man powers add to the perils of adolescence? It turns everything up to eleven--and reminds people, I think, that every decision you make when you're fifteen can feel world-changing. In the early years of the comics, Peter Parker was still living at home with his aunt who'd raised him. Who hated Spider-Man, it's worth noting, because the big newspaper executive in their version of New York (Marvel uses real cities; DC makes cities up) was publishing nothing but stories about how terrible Spider-Man was, and she believed them. He didn't always have the greatest handle on making his powers work, because it was all new and different and confusing. The way your body feels, when you're going through puberty. He was also trying to balance having a life and this Big Important Thing, a feeling I'm sure we all understand.

And Clev, if anything, Cap is better developed in Winter Soldier. I would say a major running subplot is what he's loyal to--the government, the people, or the ideals. This being Cap, I'm sure you can guess which direction he tends toward.

Oh, I'd also note that Slang referred to "yet another Batman" three times before I mentioned superheroes at all. And the reason we started with Star Trek is that it's what the article referred to in the OP was about.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-26, 05:37 PM
Isn't that what this whole thread is about? You're already thinking that you won't like it, so odds are even if it has moments you like, you'll likely still come away with the negative impression you walked in with.

I have often found my expectations overturned, and have been delighted when it has happened.


The first film is not a yay-rah-rah America RULEZ movie. It is about real patriotism, not nationalism, and the flag-waving wartime jingoism you seem to expect is largely averted, even mocked in some ways. I have yet to see the second, so I can't comment on it, but Cap's characterization is pretty consistent in the Avengers film, so I have high hopes that he's the same guy in that one too.

You seem to have guessed, wrongly, why I find his name offputting. It's not about expectations about jingoism, it's just that it sounds a bit infantile to me.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-26, 05:38 PM
Paul, this isn't unimportant to me. When I write fiction, what I write is mostly superhero fiction.

Well I sold one Doctor Who novel and two short stories but I wouldn't fall out with you if you declared that you thought Doctor Who was drivel.

Gillianren
2014-May-26, 06:20 PM
I don't care for Doctor Who, particularly, but I would never say it can't be good. I certainly wouldn't use terms like "infantile" to describe it, just "not my thing." I also don't say that I don't understand why they keep making Doctor Who, because I'm perfectly aware of the answer. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean that there aren't a whole heck of a lot of people who do. I even understand a lot of what they like about it. But people who like superhero media have been told for the better part of eighty years that it's "just for kids." In Seduction of the Innocent, a claim is even made that no adult would ever care about comic books and that all comic books are destined to be trash. No one could possibly have nostalgia for them. Star Trek has had to deal with the stigma of being for people who never grew up; comic books are literally for children in certain perceptions. Star Trek is actually being accepted as something anyone could be interested in after not quite fifty years; comic books are still considered to be for adolescents, even mostly by the people making literally billions of dollars off the fans.

I know you don't think I'm immature. You do, however, think one of my favourite forms of entertainment is immature. I don't consider this to be a guilty pleasure. I consider the rich wealth of comic book fiction, including superheroes, to be deeper and more involved than people want to admit, and I'm tired of hearing people tell me that there's no depth there, even after I've tried to help them explore some of the depth. If you don't like comic books, that's fine. Superheroes don't have to be your thing. No one ever said they did. But to say they literally can't be good is one of the most dismissive things I've ever read about any genre.

Solfe
2014-May-26, 07:01 PM
You seem to have guessed, wrongly, why I find his name offputting. It's not about expectations about jingoism, it's just that it sounds a bit infantile to me.

I think at some point the military took their ranks back with a vengeance. Capt. Samantha Carter is cool, Captain Britian, Captain America and maybe even The Guardian are not cool no despite the fact they have a flag and a strong history of military service. Psylocke, former super model and aviatrix turned telekinetic, mind reading ninja is somehow more believable.

Ara Pacis
2014-May-26, 07:04 PM
I'd certainly agree that the need for visual realism is a sign of decreased sophistication. One of the most memorable and respected TV production was I, Claudius, which was practically a filmed stage play. I don't think it would be possible to do something like that for today's audiences. For me, the certainty that "it wouldn't have happened like that" pushes me right out of the story. Which isn't to say I demand physical realism all the time. I had no trouble at all with buying into the balletic sequences in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.Right, to me it seems like people are increasingly less able to see a production as art with artistic license and increasingly want it to be documentarian in its adherence to "reality".

[quote]Rewriting Romeo and Juliet as a novel would, in effect, be an adaptation into another medium.Good point. Perhaps remaking a book in the way they remake a movie-shot-for-shot would be more akin to printing the text in a different typeface and binding.


My objection is not so much about remakes as pointless remakes. If we've already had the story delivered to us, and the remake doesn't tell us a new story (or even the story with some new bits) then why use up a budget that could have been spent on delivering a new story? Total Recall, Solaris and The Time Machine delivered so much less than the previous version of each.
One of the reasons for remakes, or so they claim, is that society changes, so the critical points of view no longer seem relevant to an audience. For example, a movie that makes an allegory for the Cold War will not make as much sense to newer audiences who already know how the Cold War turned out. That's understandable to me, but what is less understandable is people film-makers feel the need include lots of pop-culture references to make a movie seem current, which has the side-effect of making it seem out of date that much more quickly. Sometimes I wonder if that is an unintended consequence, then I realize that it gives them an excuse to make another movie even more quickly. It's like franchise movies have become the "Law & Order" segment of the film world.

That being said, it's kinda hard to call something like the new Total Recall a remake since it was so different from the Arnie film in plot.

If there was one movie I think should be remade soon after the last remake came out, I'd call for everything Tolkien. Peter Jackson's films were visually amazing, but there are things I think should have been included and omitted.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-26, 07:28 PM
What insight does giving Spider-Man powers add to the perils of adolescence? It turns everything up to eleven--and reminds people, I think, that every decision you make when you're fifteen can feel world-changing. In the early years of the comics, Peter Parker was still living at home with his aunt who'd raised him. Who hated Spider-Man, it's worth noting, because the big newspaper executive in their version of New York (Marvel uses real cities; DC makes cities up) was publishing nothing but stories about how terrible Spider-Man was, and she believed them. He didn't always have the greatest handle on making his powers work, because it was all new and different and confusing. The way your body feels, when you're going through puberty. He was also trying to balance having a life and this Big Important Thing, a feeling I'm sure we all understand.

Maybe this is all part of why it doesn't work for me. Adolescence doesn't need to be cranked up to 11, as far as I'm concerned. When I went through that stage, it worried no end that I wanted a girlfriend but I was too shy to talk to girls, and I worried about what did and didn't show in the changing rooms. Otherwise, none of what you've said in this quoted bit strikes a chord with me.


Star Trek has had to deal with the stigma of being for people who never grew up; comic books are literally for children in certain perceptions. Star Trek is actually being accepted as something anyone could be interested in after not quite fifty years; comic books are still considered to be for adolescents, even mostly by the people making literally billions of dollars off the fans.

I think the problem with Star Trek fans is that they are far more interested in Star Trek the TV series than with the idea of exploring the universe as it really is. I know a number of Star Trek fans who would not have been in the least bit interested in the Cassini-Huygens mission to Titan, for instance, but would have argued at length about Spock's relationship with Uhura.


I know you don't think I'm immature. You do, however, think one of my favourite forms of entertainment is immature. I don't consider this to be a guilty pleasure. I consider the rich wealth of comic book fiction, including superheroes, to be deeper and more involved than people want to admit, and I'm tired of hearing people tell me that there's no depth there, even after I've tried to help them explore some of the depth. If you don't like comic books, that's fine. Superheroes don't have to be your thing. No one ever said they did. But to say they literally can't be good is one of the most dismissive things I've ever read about any genre.

Sorry, Gillian, but it's how it seems to me. I am not trying to impose my opinion on anyone or to persuade you to stop liking it - it's just how I feel. Perhaps it would help if I said that, as far as I'm concerned, it is impossible to make a nice lasagne.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-26, 07:43 PM
Good point. Perhaps remaking a book in the way they remake a movie-shot-for-shot would be more akin to printing the text in a different typeface and binding.

It's too late for that. With the Kindle, you can choose your own typeface, and binding is a thing of the past.


One of the reasons for remakes, or so they claim, is that society changes, so the critical points of view no longer seem relevant to an audience.

Surely that's a reason for telling new stories.

I'm not a huge fan of James Bond (though I loved Skyfall) but they manage to tell new stories that address contemporary issues. I quite like the moment when M says, "God, I miss the Cold War!"


That being said, it's kinda hard to call something like the new Total Recall a remake since it was so different from the Arnie film in plot.

I thought it was very similar except that it missed out Mars. There were a lot of scenes common to both as I recall - but I didn't like either. I like the original short story though.


If there was one movie I think should be remade soon after the last remake came out, I'd call for everything Tolkien. Peter Jackson's films were visually amazing, but there are things I think should have been included and omitted.

I think Jackson's LotR is as close as we'll ever get to a sumptuous, moderately faithful adaptation. (The Hobbit is another matter!) If anyone does remake any of the Middle Earth ouevre, I hope they try wildly out-there approaches. Something akin to Japanese Noh plays, for instance, or an impressionistic black and white film with jagged sets reminiscent of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.

Noclevername
2014-May-26, 08:20 PM
You seem to have guessed, wrongly, why I find his name offputting. It's not about expectations about jingoism, it's just that it sounds a bit infantile to me.

The Manhattan Project sounds like a 1970s band name to me. Doesn't make the thing it is used for any less significant.

Gillianren
2014-May-26, 08:31 PM
Sorry, Gillian, but it's how it seems to me. I am not trying to impose my opinion on anyone or to persuade you to stop liking it - it's just how I feel. Perhaps it would help if I said that, as far as I'm concerned, it is impossible to make a nice lasagne.

Whereas I would say that it's impossible to make a lasagna I'd enjoy. I'm sure there are plenty that are perfectly nice to other people, but I don't dismiss others' perceptions of the world. Their personal taste is just as valid as mine (though I do maintain that it's possible for even art to be just objectively bad; if it's representational, but no one can tell what it is, that's bad!), and I would not except as a joke tell them that they're just wrong.

Noclevername
2014-May-26, 08:45 PM
I think the problem with Star Trek fans is that...

...They get lumped together into a monolithic entity rather than a wide array of individuals with varying points of view?


I know a number of Star Trek fans who would not have been in the least bit interested in the Cassini-Huygens mission to Titan, for instance, but would have argued at length about Spock's relationship with Uhura.


Would it help to learn that many of the staff of NASA are Star Trek fans? That Stephen Hawking is a Star Trek fan?


Perhaps it would help if I said that, as far as I'm concerned, it is impossible to make a nice lasagne.

Perhaps it wouldn't.

Ara Pacis
2014-May-27, 05:48 AM
It's too late for that. With the Kindle, you can choose your own typeface, and binding is a thing of the past.Soon they'll have smell-o-tablets that recreate the musty scent of an old and well worn book, no doubt.


Surely that's a reason for telling new stories.That's what I say, if I understand you correctly. Why retell old stories with a new allegory when they can tell new stories, even if it's the same franchise.


I thought it was very similar except that it missed out Mars. There were a lot of scenes common to both as I recall - but I didn't like either. I like the original short story though.I haven't read the short story, but as a child of the 80s, I loved everything Arnie. At least it seemed plausible and grand with a trip to Mars and then melting the frozen atmosphere for everyone on an entire planet. The new one had the impossible tunnel and then a relatively non-epic threat they were struggling against.


I think Jackson's LotR is as close as we'll ever get to a sumptuous, moderately faithful adaptation. (The Hobbit is another matter!) If anyone does remake any of the Middle Earth ouevre, I hope they try wildly out-there approaches. Something akin to Japanese Noh plays, for instance, or an impressionistic black and white film with jagged sets reminiscent of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari.

That's what everyone says. Maybe we'll just get someone to re-edit the Jackson movies kinda like how someone edited Jar Jar out of The Phantom Menace.

NEOWatcher
2014-May-27, 06:42 PM
Why do you say that? I didn't say the "it wouldn't have happened like that" aspect was the only thing that pushes me out of a story.
That was an attempt at humor. (I don't know if you saw the bad reviews)

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-27, 09:17 PM
That was an attempt at humor. (I don't know if you saw the bad reviews)

Humour is welcome. My parents took Clare and me out this evening - we'd set our expectations high, and they were exceeded - so I'm in a good mood without even getting the reference. I'll probably be even more pleased tomorrow when I do get it!

captain swoop
2014-May-30, 06:59 PM
As a rule I don't like Super hero movies but I did like the two Thor films.

captain swoop
2014-May-30, 07:03 PM
And now, of all things... a Stargate reboot!

Emmerich is planning three new movies that 're-imagine' Stargate.

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/stargate/30738/stargate-movie-reboot-announced-roland-emmerich-directing
http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/news/a574409/stargate-reboot-trilogy-confirmed-roland-emmerich-to-direct.html#~oFM0UvP6okI3v6

I bet it doesn't include Jack or Sam Carter

Amber Robot
2014-May-30, 09:59 PM
Based on seeing the cast list and the previews for it, I did not see the remake of 21 Jump Street, but I did see a recent preview for its sequel, called... wait for it... 22 Jump Street.

Sigh... I did like that show when I watched it back in the day.

publiusr
2014-May-30, 10:19 PM
I loved Stargate Atlantis myself--esp McKay.

Ara Pacis
2014-May-31, 05:37 AM
And now, of all things... a Stargate reboot!

Emmerich is planning three new movies that 're-imagine' Stargate.

I bet it doesn't include Jack or Sam Carter

He's been saying that for a while, upset at the series. I dunno if I'd watch the new movie if it's not in line with the series.

Paul Beardsley
2014-May-31, 08:04 AM
Apparently there was a series of novels that span off from the original film that went in a completely direction to the TV series.

I always enjoy alternative takes, although I never followed Stargate very closely.

captain swoop
2014-May-31, 11:09 PM
I have to say the first 6 seasons of Stargate are my fave TV Sci-Fi. Not so much after Sci-Fi Channel got their hooks in to it.