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Retelling Old Tales In Film: Is There Too Much Or Not Enough Of It Right Now?

A popular trend in the movie industry currently, is remakes. Just this past week we have had the teasers for Mary Poppins Returns, the newest Grinch movie, and Christopher Robin drop. So far, the reviews have been mixed on these films. People seem to either love or hate all of these remakes. They think that the original should stay as the only version of the story or they believe that the refreshed new perspective might be exactly what we need. So, who is right here? 

Well, when it comes to disliking these films, there are several valid points. This theme of remake films has studded creativity growth in the industry. Because audiences keep spending money on reboots, the film industry naturally will make more of them. We are now stuck at a point  where it might possibly be way too much. As a viewer, seeing the same thing over and over again can be tiring. So, why do some people love these films? With our current historical knowledge, all stories derive from the same original story so they are all somewhat retelling anyhow. The Epic of Gilgamesh  is the earliest written story ever found to this date.  Religious texts soon took influence from that story, like Pagan and Christianity for instance. From there, fairy tales were created by writers like the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Anderson. Disney took from those and made films like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, which have now been remade several times in film afterwards. The passing down of stories and changing them through the years helps represent the present day society we live and modernized tales allow for younger audiences to engage and exchange the stories further as they grow older. 

Alright, so maybe remakes aren’t all bad. They have some good and some bad to them. The next argument that appears here is that if you do a remake, do you advance the plot line or stick to retelling the classic tale? Also, do you make said movie historically accurate, accurate to the original film, or do you modernize it for the new audiences? This second question can apply to not just the production design, but also the writing of the film. Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel to the previous film, Mary Poppins, released in 1964. It will be taking place 20 years after the first film and showing how the children she had nannied grew up as she now takes care of their kids. The writing and production design are both put in a new era and the characters change entirely with this new plot. A lot of film goers are wary about this film because of this change of setting and plot line. However, I feel like the change of setting allows for a different feel to shine from the beloved franchise we loved, changing viewer’s opinions positively. Additionally, this new era is one seen a lot more in modern film, allowing younger audiences to engage with the film more. Honestly, I firmly believe that in order to create a successful sequel, you must alter the original tale in at least one major way, if not more. Just making a film more historically accurate or making it live action is not enough to push the envelope for new audiences. You must experiment and intrigue new audiences to like the story in order for it to continue to be shared. 

Altogether, remakes are not bad, just as long as you do them right. Respect the original author’s vision, but branch out and connect with new viewers of the tale so they can continue spreading it onwards to future generations. 

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