Interview: Pavel Giroud on Cuban Oscar Submission 'The Companion' - By Jose Solis. Cuba’s Oscar entry *The Companion*, will surely be seen with new eyes with the recent death of Fidel Castro, as more stories about his dec...
Sunday, June 5, 2011
A long while back I wrote a post on the history of remakes, and why I don't let that phase me, nor define my opinion of a film. There's just no value in it. The existence of a remake is entirely superfluous when weighed against my affection toward the original. Besides, a remake for Seven Samurai already exists - the Americanized Magnificent Seven, as perfectly enjoyable and quality a remake as I've ever seen. I'll save you my ramblings on the Samurai 7 anime adaptation for the time being.
This is where I find myself torn. The thin line between remake and re-envisioning. Take the Mona Lisa for example. If I was to show up tomorrow at an art gallery with a spot on replica of the Mona Lisa and claim it as my own version, I would be run out on the heels of pitchforks and cries of anarchist. However, there's little denying that any portrait I do try and do, no matter how vague, will have derived some influence from such a well renowned work. But even still, you paint a funny mustache on Mona Lisa, and the world gives an eager grin and an accepting nod.
Even The Departed, an American Remake of an Asian thriller, which garnered a Best Picture Oscar failed to crack the top 15 of its year - though few would argue its $200m+ worldwide take is frail. Still, the fact remains that the most successful remake genres tend to be romance and comedies, not action-adventure. Not to mention I can't imagine something as internationally renowned, cherished, and with as strong a built in fanbase as Seven Samurai, not generating a strong sentiment of backlash and boycott.
So if you're going to do an homage, taking the original and giving it a new-age spin - which is what I hear this upcoming adaptation is trying to do - what is the benefit of announcing it as a remake? You're only going to fuel the anti fire, before you even try and make the film you want. Though of course I'm not condoning pulling a Fistful of Dollars where you disregard any mention at all, but it's not a bad thing to formulate your story before you sell its relationship. Especially if you can guarantee that relationship will generate a buzz of distaste. Knowing what you hope to accomplish is far more crucial to the film coming into its own, that harping on its association.
Of course, with the Weinstein's involvement rather clear, we can all imagine that the goal is to win an Oscar. Granted, if that was the case you'd think they'd aim a bit higher than the writer of Forbidden Kingdom and Hidalgo... just sayin'.