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Midday Movies: Remakes

Are Remakes Anything New And Do They Have To Be Bad?

Above: Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner star in "The Magnificent 7," a successful remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai."

Aired 4/30/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:

Beth Accomando, author of the blog Cinema Junkie

Ian Forbes, founder and senior editor for Sobering Conclusion

Miguel Rodriguez, host, Monster Island Resort Podcast, and director of the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

Transcript

Remake, sequel, prequel, reboot, reimagining – whatever you want to call it, Hollywood does love to return to something familiar. So what makes a good remake? Is it really a bad thing to remake an old film? Is this a new trend or have we always had to deal with remakes? Find out the answers with Midday Movies and The Geek Roundtable.

Next month, director Baz Luhrmann and star Leonardo DiCaprio team for a new screen adaptation of "The Great Gatsby." This will be the fourth big screen version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel. It's been more than 3 decades since Robert Redford took on the role of Gatsby so maybe we're due for a version for a new generation. But for some filmgoers, this constant return to familiar material is simply a sign that Hollywood has run out of ideas.

For Miguel Rodriguez, host of Monster Island Resort Podcast, remakes are nothing new. But they do tend to come in waves as technology improves and a new generation feels the need to revisit popular films. Ian Forbes, of Sobering Conclusion, is particularly irked by American remakes of foreign films -- especially the recent "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Let Me In" -- that seem to only exist for people who don't want to read subtitles. Here's a rant about the American version.

The Swedish "Let the Right One In," and the Hollywood remake "Let Me In."

Filmmaking in Hollywood is both a business and an art form. So the business side sees remakes as a way to cash in on a popular property but then you have the artists working on these films wanting to make them good. So sometimes they actually turn out well as with "The Magnificent 7" (a remake of Akira Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai") and "John Carpenter's The Thing" (a remake of Howard Hawks' "The Thing From Another World."

"The Thing" has been revisited 3 times.

Here is a list of good remakes and a list of bad remakes that Beth Accomando created for About.com.

Here is a trailer for "The Seven Samurai."

And a trailer for the American remake "The Magnificent 7."

Video

The Magnificent 7 Trailer

Above: The Magnificent 7 Trailer

Here is the trailer for the Swedish film "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Video

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trailer (Swedish)

Above: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trailer (Swedish)

And for the American remake.

Video

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (US)

Above: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (US)

And here are trailers for the 3 versions of "The Thing."

Video

The Thing From Another World Trailer

Above: The Thing From Another World Trailer

Video

John Carpenter’s The Thing Trailer

Above: John Carpenter’s The Thing Trailer

Video

The Thing Trailer

Above: The Thing Trailer

Comments

Avatar image for user 'vpolichar'

vpolichar | April 30, 2013 at 7:16 p.m. ― 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A remake I loved - despite also loving the original - was Solaris. The original Russian film was excellent, riveting, but diverged significantly from the original Stanislaw Lem novel. The Soderbergh remake was beautiful, with a fantastic score by Cliff Martinez that really carried the rhythm of the story - and, interestingly, was quite a bit closer to the novel. I love both interpretations of the work; in fact I would not call the second Solaris a remake of the first, but instead a new interpretation of the book in movie form.

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Avatar image for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | April 30, 2013 at 8:16 p.m. ― 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Avatar image for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 1, 2013 at 12:59 p.m. ― 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I made an effort NOT to see the RED DAWN remake.

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