“I felt a great disturbance in the Force. As if millions of voices cried out in terror…”
~ Ben Kenobi
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
~ George Carlin
I’m just going to come out and say it: I honestly don’t give a shit if they remake The Princess Bride. In fact . . . I kinda hope they do. Unpopular opinion, I know. And not one born from a desire to troll (even if its a teeny bit fun :) ). Just a personal opinion. Others may disagree, and that’s fair.
When I heard the talk about a possible remake, my honest first thought was: Oh, that would be cool. Then while mindlessly checking social media, I saw that the internet had lost its fucking mind. I sighed. Angry people brandishing digital pitchforks and torches shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point.
I thought of a simpler time, when the internet was for research, chat rooms, free music, and a bountiful cornucopia of porn. Alas, the ubiquity of social media on every device allows for every stray thought and opinion of others to be slammed directly in front of your eyes. What’s worse, is that online “journalism”, and even the traditional news cycle, harvests the overly-opinionated online angst like ripe crops, and shoves it back into the proverbial mouths of whatever like-minded/politically affiliated base they pander to. All in the name of clicks-to-ad revenue. (And you thought they shared your beliefs, didn’t you? Tsk tsk ;-) )
But back to the topic at hand. Once I pushed through the countless memes and legion of venom-spewing Princess Bride purists, I really had to ask myself: why not? Sure, I liked the movie. Hell, at one point in my youth, I had it memorized, word-for-word, down to the sound effects. But, what if they did remake it? Or reimagine it? That could be cool.
What if they turned The Princess Bride as a space opera? Warring interplanetary kingdoms. Westley could become a space pirate? Vizzini could planet-hop with Buttercup and Westley has to track them across various systems. Miracle Max could live on a Dagobah planet? Even the life-sucking torture scene with Count Rugen could happen on a space station that Indigo and Fezzik needed to infiltrate?
Or maybe as a 30’s prohibition era gangster movie? That could be a neat setting. Westley could be a returning war hero turned PI/cop that has to track down BC from an Al Capone-like Humperdinck?
See, I’m one of those weirdos who likes when they remake old(er) things. Movies, songs, TV, etc. I think it can be a fun way to revamp a classic for a modern audience. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Musically, I love “All Along The Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix (originally by Bob Dylan), “Hurt” by Johnny Cash (originally by Nine Inch Nails), “Ring of Fire” by Social Distortion (originally by Johnny Cash), and “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (originally by Judy Garland) just to name a few.
Video games get remade all the time. Bringing classic games to modern consoles for newer generations to appreciate. They fix jenky controls, make it visually appealing, and next thing you know, the old is new again.
In movies, Oceans’ 11 is a good example of a remake. And some folks even liked Ocean’s 8. While Ghostbusters 2016 was divisive, Disney remains rife with remakes (Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, etc). And of course there is Conan with Jason Mamoa . . . which is NOT a good example.
Heh, I bet Aquabro wishes he woulda made that flick (BROnan?) now, while his star power is high as opposed to then. But, it was Apr 2011 when GoT Season 1 came out, and August 2011 for Conan. So, Drogo gonna Drogo.
She-Ra recently made a return on Netflix, with a Kevin Smith helmed He-Man on its way. Some folks bitched about it. But, my 7yr old son and I watched some of the She-Ra eps and he thought it was kinda cool.
But its always funny, to me, when the overtly vocal folks become SO ENRAGED when a movie/TV studio dares to touch something special to them. You know who I’m talking about.
“They did what???!!!! How dare they! #NOTMY[INSERT THE MEDIA THAT MAKES ME FEEL SPECIAL AND OR UNIQUE HERE]”
And it isn’t because I’m “above it”. I’m not really enlightened, or pretentious. I damn sure don’t use the words “Film” or “Cinema” to describe movies. I can even like a bad/over-hyped movie because it was “fun” (Looking at you Avenger’s Endgame. Great character payoffs with a dumb-as-F plot) And for shit’s sake, I love (and own) the extended cut of Hansel & Gretel Witchhunters. So clearly, I’m no freaking authority on what’s “good”.
The reason I don’t care about remakes is simple. Ready for the secret? Shh, I’ll whisper it to you: The originals still exists. No one snuck into the night and destroyed all the copies of the thing you like.
Crazy, I know.
Maybe it boils down to it purists. People who staunchly say: “The original is the best!” And you know what, a lot of times, they’re right. And sometimes, subjectively, they’re very much wrong. Perhaps their slogan should really be: “The original is what I know best, and I don’t want someone saying the newer version is just as good/better than what I know best because . . . reasons!”
Admittedly, that’s a bit too long for a slogan.
Hell, while we’re at it, I firmly believe that the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies should be remade. Yeah, I said it. Sure, Fellowship is still pretty solid, as the bulk is filmed with minimal green screen, on location, and with tactile props. But there are certain scenes in that flick--especially more so in the other two--that look like a bad video game cut scene. And there is no real fault per se. It’s just that CGI has come a long way from when those movies were filmed. Obviously they did the best they could with what they had at the time, but certain crucial scenes have not aged well. It is really obvious what’s real, what’s a sound stage, and what is really dated CGI. To watch those now, the nostalgia goggles must be thick to ignore some cringy bits.
Plus, a remake could make Gimli cool and not a buffoon for comedic relief
Obviously the argument can be made that entertainment media doesn’t need remakes or re-imaginations, they need original ideas. And I agree. Everyone has heard the expression “Hollywood is out of ideas.” But sadly, there is an axiom that rings true across most mediums, and one I learned early on in my writing career. And that is: stand-alone or new properties don’t sell well. Franchises are what brings people back for more.
Of course there are exceptions. Recent original, non-franchise, non sequel movies like Get Out and Us, garnered a lot of attention on the back of Jordan Peele’s fame. And Us was in the top 20 box office hits this year, #8 in fact. But here are the others, see if you notice a trend:
Avengers: Endgame - Sequel
Lion King - Remake
Toy Story 4 - Sequel
Captain Marvel - Technically new/standalone
Spider Man: Far from Home - Sequel
Aladdin - Remake
It: Chapter 2 - Sequel
Us - Stand alone
John Wick 3 - Sequel
Fast & Furious Hobbs & Shaw - Spin off Sequel
How to Train Your Dragon 3 - Sequel
Secret Life of Pets 2 - Sequel
Detective Pikachu - Stand Alone/loose re-imagination of Game Boy Game
Shazam - Technically new/standalone
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - Stand Alone
Dumbo - Remake
Glass - Sequel
Godzilla King of Monsters - Sequel
The Upside - Stand Alone
Lego Movie 2 - Sequel
Point is, creating something “new” is hard. Many writers, story resources, and the like, have their own opinion, but the boiled down story basics and story conflict are as follows (and nearly every story is a mix and match of the following):
Journey and Return - A story about transformation
Overcoming “A Monster”
Quest - From point A to point B.
Rags to Riches
Rebirth or renewal
Person vs. Fate/God(s)
Person vs. Nature
Person vs. Person
Person vs. Self
Person vs. Society
Person vs. Technology
Person vs. the Unknown/Extraterrestrial
As Mark Twain put it:
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
So, long story short, I don’t care if a movie, music, show, whatever gets remade. Is it “boring” or “unimaginative”? Maybe. Depends on the finished product.
I’m not trying to convince someone that should/shouldn’t care, or think the way I think; that’s a fool’s errand. Obviously there are far more important things in the world to worry about then a remake of a movie. Entertainment is just that, entertaining. It can distract us from horrors and stress. And, it can even enlighten when done right (or be a heavy handed punch in the metaphorical mouth).
But when done right, a nice remake or re-imagining can be something pretty cool.
Westside Story is Romeo and Juliet,
10 Things I hate about you is Taming of the Shrew,
Apocalypse Now is Heart of Darkness,
Lion King is Hamlet,
O Brother Where art Thou is The Odyssey,
Clueless is Jane Austin’s Emma,
Young Frankenstein is a comedic spoof of Frankenstein,
The Force Awakens is clearly a reskin of Star Wars: A New Hope
Heh heh. Oh, and don’t forget that The Princess Bride WAS a book published in 1973, written by William Goldman.
Point is, if you Google best remakes or song covers, you’ll find some really neat stuff you may not have known. So, why sholdn’t The Princess Bride be remade?
. . . unless you think about it as:
a white girl, with limited agency, who is an object to be won. A prize, if you will, that is battled over by two classic stereotypes of (toxic) masculinity. Coupled with the sheer lack of ethnic diversity, the movie does show its age and biases. Come to think of it, I think Mandy Patinkin is a Chicago-born Jewish man . . . playing a Spaniard?! (ouch!). And Billy Crystal and Carol Kane are doing some kind of mockery of the elderly. Not Cool. And what the fuck is a “Holocaust” cloak? Hmm? If they meant flame-resistant, then say that. And wait . . . didn’t Westly like . . . kill tons of people as a pirate? He’s the hero? Even more, he barely knew Buttercup and left her to find his fortune while she minded the farm? Then got indignant when after 5 years she moved on? Uh-uh! She isn’t property.
You know what. Fuck this movie and any potential remake!
:) Well, that was a bit of lighthearted fun. So in the end, love what you love, and don’t let anyone tell you different. Besides, we can attack the REAL problem. Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds wanna remake Clue!