Films Déjà Viewed

By The Elm - Oct 18,2013@2:58 pm

By Cara Murray
Elm Staff Writer

It all starts the same: a scene begins and you get that first inkling, maybe it’s déjà vu, but you brush it off. Then the camera angles look familiar, and so do the sets, but you’re not quite sure why. Maybe you hear a line or see a character that sends a spark to your brain; it’s not a niggling feeling anymore. You wait on the edge of your seat until you hear the opening theme and see that title card and all of your feelings are confirmed – you are watching a remake.

Remakes inspire many different reactions from the “how dare they” to the “I hope they can do it better.” Plenty of people have suffered the anxiety instigated when a remake is announced. Thoughts start flying through your head: will they stick to the original? How can they replace that iconic actor? And most importantly, are they focusing on dialogue or are they just going to employ the Michael Bay method?

Theaters have seen the successes and failures of teams trying to cash in on these flicks since cameras started rolling. With film adaptations and remakes comprising of a sizable chunk of the market, it’s not a surprise that people question the originality of Hollywood these days. But just like any story, the meaning changes with the storyteller, labeling a film as a remake doesn’t have to spell out its demise. Plenty of remakes have gone on to do their predecessors justice and inspire a whole new audience to love the characters a second time around.

Some remakes capitalize on the one flash of costuming or make-up that translates across time, those character classics. Whether it’s 1978 or 2007, audiences know the expressionless white mask of Michael Myers à la “Halloween.” The 25-foot frame of “King Kong” is as well-known now as it was in 1933 when the creature was created. Whether you love the remakes or hate them you are always in line to see the next one because of that iconic character. Sure, Freddie Krueger, of “Friday the 13th” fame, has killed a dozen times before, but who doesn’t treasure the chance to catch up with an old friend?

Other remakes are there to help bridge the cultural divide. In case Swedish trips you up and subtitles are not your style, “Let the Right One In” (2008) was remade for English speaking audiences in 2010 with “Let Me In.” “Wicker Park” (2004) gave English audiences the chance to enjoy the French story of “L’Appartement” (1996). 2002’s Chinese thriller “The Eye” was remade in both 2005 and 2008 for Indian and English-speaking audiences, respectively. It’s always interesting to see how different cultures play on the same themes, but love and gore are two subjects that are fairly universal.

Some of my favorite remakes are those that appear out of left field. “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Mighty Joe Young,” “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “The Nutty Professor,” what do all of these films have in common? That’s right, they are all remakes. I won’t lie, I thought that these movies were all originals at first. Sure they play on some common stories: fun heists, adorable lost animals, quirky love, but Eddie Murphy’s 1996 sci-fi rom-com was a plot I had hoped to spare from earlier audiences. Alas, it was already done in 1963 by Jerry Lewis.

Whether you are anxious to give the new movies a try or are die-hard to the originals, remakes are a fact of life. Want to experience a recent remake? Why not try Stephen King’s telekinetic high school thriller “Carrie;” the original premiered in 1973 and the remake is set to premiere Oct. 18.

The Elm

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