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Film Studies 101
Feature
When Is A Remake Not A Remake?
Sometimes it’s a fresh adaptation, a prequel or an entirely different film…

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Remakes, in internet comments if not box office, are the most unloved and reviled of filmmaking trends. This isn't always justified: we gathered the Remakes That Worked here. Still, “Why can’t you make something original?” is the cry that’s constantly heard. But there are films unfairly tarred with the remake brush that, while they might not necessarily be masterpieces, at least deserve to be judged on their own merits. Look more closely and you’ll find that some ‘remakes’ are not remakes at all.

WORDS OWEN WILLIAMS
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When Is A Remake Not A Remake? | Rebecca (2014?)
Rebecca (2014?)

Call it: A re-adaptation

Let’s start in the future. It’s recently been announced that Nikolaj Arcel, the director of last year’s excellent A Royal Affair, is directing a new version of Rebecca for DreamWorks, from a screenplay by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises). Despite the calibre of names involved, the announcement was met with howls of outrage from all corners of the internet, decrying anyone who would have the temerity to remake an Alfred Hitchcock film. Except… Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca is one of the great novels of the 20th century, and a new movie is no more a remake of Hitchcock than Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet was a remake of Franco Zefferelli’s. The BBC did Rebecca for television in 1980, and ITV in 1997; Du Maurier herself adapted it for theatre; it's been on the radio; it's even been an opera. Susan Hill (The Woman In Black) wrote a sequel, Mrs De Winter, in 1993, and Sally Beauman wrote a sort-of prequel (Rebecca's Tale) in 2001. Oh, and while Hitchcock didn’t remake this film he was no stranger to remaking his own work, so we can’t imagine he’d blink an eyelid at seeing another take. The story is a perennial classic, like a Wuthering Heights or a Jane Eyre, and it’s 16 years since anyone attempted an adaptation. Deal with it.
 

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Your Comments

1 Charlie / Willy Wonka
People say they prefer the 'orignal', meaning Gene Wilder's musical 'Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory'. Tim Burton's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' was closer to the book and therefore closer to the 'original' than "the orignal"! (and better for it, in my opinion!) More

Posted by philshepp on Monday June 17, 2013, 17:38

2 "Unknown" Remakes
More interesting would be a list of remakes where the remake is so good that people forget the original and don't know it's a remake. "Silence of the Lambs", "The Bourne Identity", "The postman always ring twice"... are there any more? More

Posted by dansator on Sunday June 16, 2013, 15:42

3 RE: When Is A Remake Not A Remake?
The idea of a remade whitewashed Akira movie needs to stop existing, like altogether More

Posted by rich on Friday June 14, 2013, 18:25

4 RE: Er, Akira?
Will check it out! More

Posted by Wicket55 on Friday June 14, 2013, 13:18

5 RE: Er, Akira?
O/T Watchable enough, mainly because Matsuyama is pretty good. More

Posted by elab49 on Friday June 14, 2013, 13:09

6 RE: Er, Akira?
Was the L spin off any good? More

Posted by Wicket55 on Friday June 14, 2013, 12:57

7 RE: Er, Akira?
3 if you count the L spin-off. I thought they were very watchable, esp the first. Bit of diminishing returns after that. More

Posted by elab49 on Friday June 14, 2013, 12:48

8 RE: Er, Akira?
Fair point elab49, agree with the Heat thing as well. Strangely, I would like to see a live action version of Akira, just not an American one. They adapted the Death Note manga series into two movies, but that was just meh. More

Posted by Wicket55 on Friday June 14, 2013, 12:43

9 RE: Er, Akira?
Because several people have worked on trying to make it happen? The piece talks about the work generally and it's a pretty interesting piece because it seems mainly to be talking about the difficulty of reworking - Akira fits in perfectly as the example of one of the, so-far, failures. In the context of the piece I think Heat is the odd one out. At least Akira opens a genuine discussion because it touches on some of the issues a remake would have. But, again - if 3 teams have had shots at the screenplay and pre-production has been in place at least once, it's not as pie in the sky as 'can never be done', no matter how badly. More

Posted by elab49 on Friday June 14, 2013, 12:25

10 RE: Er, Akira?
Yes, I have read it carefully. With the exception of "Rebecca" on this list, which will be remade at a later date, the Akira live action movie is just never going to happen. So why is it on this list at all? What about Cameron's Battle Angel Alita? Or Another remake (reboot) that doesn't actually exist yet! More

Posted by Wicket55 on Friday June 14, 2013, 12:09

11 RE: Er, Akira?
You've clearly read this feature very carefully. More

Posted by Osric on Friday June 14, 2013, 11:36

12 Er, Akira?
Have no idea why this film is on this list here! Has never been remade at all, and probably never will! Closest thing to it, would be Scott's Blade Runner sequel! Not to mention the fact that Akira is 100% Japanese! Many of the cultural themes and history would be completely lost in translation adapting this for an American audience! More

Posted by Wicket55 on Thursday June 13, 2013, 19:08

13 Er, Akira?
Have no idea why this film is on this list here! Has never been remade at all, and probably never will! Closest thing to it, would be Scott's Blade Runner sequel! Not to mention the fact that Akira is 100% Japanese! Many of the cultural themes and history would be completely lost in translation adapting this for an American audience! More

Posted by Wicket55 on Thursday June 13, 2013, 19:02

14 Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans?
Surprised that wasn't mentioned, wasn't that great a film but it was related to the 1992 Harvey Keitel film in name only. More

Posted by G MAN on Wednesday June 12, 2013, 02:33

15 I'm surprised...
That you guys didn't discuss Star Trek. Everyone thought it was a remake and Abrams took everyone by surprise More

Posted by Killjoy_Gee on Tuesday June 11, 2013, 17:41

16 When Is A Remake Not A Remake?
Dredd. Better than the Stallone piece of crap...loved the newest version... More

Posted by AjaDonaldRussell on Tuesday June 11, 2013, 17:21


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