We have seen it so many times. Film studios are remaking films that have already been established in the past. But then, we hear fans outbursting that this is bad. They don’t want to watch a remake because it will never be as good as the original. I’m not surprised because people who view the remake know the story. There is no element of a beautiful narrative, which is the magic of surprise.
However, after watching There Were None (1945) and the TV show (2015) and comparing them. I’m glad that the remake was made. Why would I think that after I just released a blog post, how bad the live-action remake was on another blog post?
Well, reason number one is that the TV show explores character development by giving us a back story to each character and their motivations. This is very hard to do when there are ten characters in a script, and you can’t fit all of that in a 1hr and 30mins film. However, it works a lot better in a series, which is a different type of medium.
Reason number two is the languages and words used in the 1945 film that would get a lot of backlash in today’s media. For example, did you know the poem that is the main driven plot of ‘And Then There Were None’ in 1945 used the word “Little Indians” instead of “Little Soldiers” compared to 2015 TV shows? What is more controversial is BBC and ITV made a show back in 1949 and 1959 called ‘Ten Little N*****s”.
In addition, many old films are getting banned in our time. For example, Disney+ decided not to show all their old movies because of their offensive jokes and languages. Of course, it was normal back then, but it’s critical now. Therefore, this is a beauty of a remake, to make a redemption for a good story told in a narrative that won’t be suitable for modern times.
The image below was from USA Today article.
Reason number three is the timing. When the film is released long enough, people like me wouldn’t know that there is a 1945 version. There are young people like us who don’t know the original story. Therefore, it can be delightful when we watch the new version.
In addition, a remake is not just about time but also geographic differences. For example, the Magnificent Seven (1960) was a Japanese film Seven Samurai (1954) remake. Still, it was telling its story in its own theme by placing Western Cowboy theme instead of Japanese Samurai theme. This is an example of how a remake can be done correctly. In addition, it’s happening right now. It’s confirmed that the “Call My Agent” French comedy series Netflix Original is getting a UK version.
In conclusion, I think a remake is good if done correctly. For example, a Hollywood studio bought a right to a story. So it needs to be able to tell a story that would please its target market. That’s also another problem about Hollywood. They’re trying to sell tickets to everyone instead of just telling a good story that is specifically made for a particular audience.
Moreover, we cannot blame them, as the world is becoming more connected. It’s stressful for an international company to not try to brand themselves and sell products for a global audience. In addition, Netflix has started a new trend by promoting international series like Squid Game, Narcos, and Heist. Therefore, English-speaking audiences started to popularise watching non-English speaking shows and films. This, of course allowing us to appreciate the original contents. Thus, Hollywood might have to be more careful of a remake because it’s easier to make a remake back in the day and gain enough success. Their target audience was just Americans, but now they find it difficult to Americanise their products and globalise them simultaneously.
Moreover, a remake might not get enough success now. Since we have access to the original story and it’s less likely for the audience to watch a remake. Nevertheless, a remake still guarantees success because it has an existing fan-based. Therefore, I think Hollywood should explore an untold story of an established universe. So the existing fan can enjoy the story with new fans that they’re trying to cultivate. This is why being a writer is such a crucial job. It should be more than translating script from another language to another or rewriting ideas for a different era. It should be meaningful to you and the audience. It should be able to stand against its time because you’re representing the present to the future audience.
Go Check on Cineworld’s blog about 20 best remake films.
Written by Krisana Polyotha