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A thread on storytelling...


#301

Exactly, 30 years ago there were more mature views of sex and romance than today when the average age of readers is about 10 - 15 years older and we don’t have the comics code anymore.


#302

Are there any remakes that knock it out of the park like Carpenter did with The Thing? I’m drawing a blank at the moment.


#303

Most comics have lost the soap opera aspect that was so popular in the 80s with X-Men and Teen Titans. Talking big two comics anyway they are very plot driven in comparison.


#304

I think movies like The Blob and The Crazies did a good job.
Then you have “basic framework only” remakes like Death Race or Mother’s Day that were dang good too.


#305

“True Grit” maybe?

“The Fly”.

“Twelve Monkeys” (never saw the original, though, unfortunately).

We could count Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre maybe. I mean, it’s not actually a remake of a film but rather an adaptation of a book that’s been adapted into film before, but… close enough, maybe?


#306

A very different genre but Little Shop of Horrors is one I’d nominate.

It’s hard now to think of that many that are actual remakes of the same basic plot without book adaptations. There’s stuff like Clueless and Roxanne that really put a spin on a story filmed before but are not really remakes of a particular film.

It’s why I always say remakes should be of a film with a great idea but terrible execution, the only way is up, but then directors do stuff like Van Sant and try and remake Psycho.


#307

The Thing, The Blob, The Fly and the overlooked Tobe Hooper Invaders from Mars did take the kernel of the ideas for the originals and improve upon them. Matinee movies are generally terrible by necessity but have interesting concepts (especially when written by blacklisted writers).

However, I only think The Fly actually made any real money in its theatrical release. The other remakes weren’t too popular in theaters, and the Thing only found critical acclaim long after it was released on home video.

Honestly, The Fly 2 (Son of The Fly!) should be remade better. It took the Spider-Man idea back to its monster movie roots and would probably fit in better with today’s movies than it did with the horror films of the time.

But a lot of failures with many films - originals, remakes and sequels - are due to producer interference. The Crow 2: City of Angels and Blair Witch: Book of Shadows were very different and probably a lot better in their original cuts, but then hacked to bits to fit what the producers thought worked. Actually, in most cases, the producer in question is Harvey Weinstein. He’s notorious for taking good movies and cutting the hell out of them for mainstream release. In many cases, it succeeded in making money, but in many others, it succeeded it just ruining the movies. Snowpiercer is a good example where Weinstein was prevented from cutting the hell out of the movie, so he torpedoed its release and marketing in retaliation.


#308

Well, I am a huge fan of storytelling. I feel that it matters above the special effects and stunts…

I mentioned before about TV/movies that were thin on substance but still made a killing because of a performance, CGI, certain scenes, etc. Even some comic stories have been saved and even overrated by the artwork and so on.

I won’t mention any names or titles and start a debate here, but I personally stress the overall plot and story, then the execution/delivery of it…


#309

I find myself a lot more drawn to the form of a work than the plot, especially in comics. Watchmen is the obvious example in that I’m far more interested in how the story is being told than in the story or characters. Tom King’s non-Batman work is similar for me.


#310

There were numerous film versions of The Wizard of Oz before the definitive 1939 musical, making the musical the best remake in the entire history of movies.


#311

That’s just another adaptation and therefore ineligible, alongside The Thing, Ben Hur, and De Palma’s Scarface.


#312

I answered the original question correctly. Making The Thing ineligible was a retcon :stuck_out_tongue:


#313

There were two earlier versions of The Maltese Falcon before we got the definitive, iconic one.

By my standards, a lot of early Hollywood is more than fair game. If the main reason why people love something is nostalgia, if someone who had never heard of it before or knew how great it’s supposed to be ended up watching and paid attention mostly to its dated production values, it’s more than fair game for a remake. You can’t tell me that the original Psycho can be enjoyed entirely for its original merits, so much as its initial reputation. Sit anyone down who’s never seen it before, who is seeing it and the shot-for-shot remake for the first time at the same time, and I guarantee they’ll prefer the shot-for-shot remake.

I loathe the idea that art can be held hostage by transitory opinions.


#314

Another remake that I think outshines the original is Philip Kaufman’s 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It transformed burgeoning urban isolation into a palpable sense of apocalyptic dread that lasts until the bone-chilling final scene.

Unfortunately, it’s also based on a book… :stuck_out_tongue:


#315

In your opinion what kind of storytelling or writing would keep a story/ show/ movie classic and timeless insead of dated?


#316

Good storytelling and good writing are timeless.

Seriously, Pride and Prejudice is over 200 years old and is still a damn fine novel that has something to say to a contemporary reader. Ditto Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.


#317

I agree.

The substance of the story and characterization has to transcend its era.
Leaving out specific pop culture references also help.

A story can be set in any setting: past, medieval times, fantasy, future, but the substance of the plot and execution has to be there to be a classic.


#318

I feel like the line between dated and timeless can also be kinda blurry.
Sometimes works can hit a note where it is more representative of a time, instead of simply mired in it.


#319

The level of sophistication in the filmmaking. Citizen Kane may looks its age in some places, but it completely holds up as the work of art it has always been, far better than just about anything made in that era. That’s pretty much the gold standard, why it continues to be a leading contender for best movie ever made. If the appeal of a movie is rooted in the times it was made, then it ages poorly. Nicolas Cage with one of his bad wigs in his earlier career, that ages badly. Movies in general made in eras where actors didn’t change their look regardless of the role, it looks like they barely made an effort. A lot of the actors we consider the best of all time didn’t bother to do much acting at all; it was their persona, which again fits better to their original era. Bogart, Brando, they’re the exceptions, and will always be compelling.

But it’s really a lot to do with immediately dating the material by embracing current fashions. The '80s were particularly bad about that, but then you also have iconic material like Back to the Future, which recognized that since it was already involving time travel the central figure (Marty McFly, and also Doc Brown) could look however they wanted him to look, and would define himself as standing out regardless. The sequels for some reason totally forgot this, and so they age less well.

Star Wars, particularly the first one, will always be an interesting case. People forget that Lucas made movies before A New Hope, which ends up looking a lot more like American Graffiti if you’ve seen both of them. You have people who have never seen it before, who never understood the appeal, or haven’t seen it in a long time, and they will tell you it ages badly, but there’s a ton of stuff in it that was so far ahead of its time, and remained ahead of its time, that it really took Lucas making more of them for anyone to really begin approaching it. Forget about technology catching up with Star Wars; Lucas, after all, made Star Wars with the technology available at the time. The fact that it became infinitely easier means nothing at all. It was a vision so complete that it’s really only the style that seems difficult to overcome now; the distance between the story and the viewer was the thing Lucas was able to begin overcoming after he handed the next two to other directors, and removed completely with the prequels, which is why they seem so different. The technology made it easier to fully capture his vision, and he no longer made movies the same way he did thirty years earlier.


#320

Not necessarily. Like Tom says, the work can become representative of its time; it may be read in particular because it immerses you in its time so well.

Even works that were written specifically to break the mould, to do something that rejects what has gone before, can nevertheless become classic works. Samuel Beckett’s plays deliberately rejected plot and storytelling as we usually know them and are modern classics not only in spite but also because of that.

Like Njerry says, in the end great works will always be timeless.