A few nights ago in class we talked about the ‘seven basic plots’ briefly and how to make a general theme your own with great characters and environment. That got me thinking about just how many things today are new versions of classics. For instance – three of the last five movies I’ve seen are remakes; Godzilla (fun spin on the classic, complete with Japanese Godzilla scream and other beasties!), Batman Dark Knight Rises (I know I know… what took us so long!), The Amazing Spiderman 2 (I loved Spidey and Gwen, but the villans were meh). Have to say though the remakes were better than the ‘originals’ (both from books). I also sat through the painfully long Wolf of Wallstreet (depressing and nekkid with loads of drugs) and the painfully bad Vampire Academy (I read the book and only rented the SD version, sooo cheaper than a latte) – In VA the song during the credits was the best part, yet another remake of the Bauhaus vamp classic tune Bela Lugosi’s Dead this time by CHVRCHES. And I keep hovering over the ‘rent’ button on the Great Gatsby, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet…
This trend is happening on my TV as well. I’ve seen the new Rosemary’s Baby plugged several times over the last few weeks (weird wig Zoe). How many NCIS or CSI shows are there now – NY, Miami, LA, St. Louis (kidding about that last one I think, I’ve never seen a CSI show) – while those aren’t remakes, they certainly are capitalizing on a ‘good idea’ while the iron is hot. I love love love the new take on Sherlock Holmes called Elementary, and I’ve heard the BBC Sherlock is tremendous as well (need to invest some time there). Beverly Hills 90210 had a rebirth on the CW (of course), I see Dallas adverts on TNT, I L O V E D the Battlestar Galactica remake a few years back, The terminator on Fox looked good (though I never had a chance to watch), I’ve heard a buzz that Charmed is being remade as well (much to the witch sister’s chagrin). My mom and dad keep telling me to watch the new FX show Fargo based on the hilarious movie a decade or so ago. There are even rumors that they’re going to remake or create a new installment in the Star Trek TV franchise (we’ll see if that’s true in July at the LV Con – yes, you heard me…).
Remakes happen in tunes all the time, often you’ll hear the remake in a movie soundtrack. The Bauhaus song was v. appropriate for the Vampire movie. Not sure what goes on behind closed doors to allow remakes, but I’m sure some sort of permissions/dollars pass hands from the original artist to the next. Some of my favs… Lorde’s version of Tears for Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Hunger Games Catching Fire soundtrack), Johnny Cash’s version of NIN’s Hurt, Gary Jules’s Tears for Fears Mad World (Donnie Darko soundtrack) (still following?), Everything on this album… Anywhooo – plenty of remakes, I’m only covering a scant few.
That brings me back to novels and the seven plot theory. You don’t see a lot of ‘remakes’ of books, I’m guessing because that would be plagiarism of sorts? You do see writers reworking classics occasionally, once those classics are in the public domain. For instance, I am reading a YA series right now based on fairy tales (Marissa Meyers Lunar Chronicles – great spin on Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and currently reading the spin on Rapunzel). You do see themes repeating over and over and some how people, gifted authors, make those themes their own unique stories for readers like myself to enjoy. And lucky us that they do.