Losing the Classics, or Why What's "Old" Doesn't Have to Be New Again
It's OK To Love An Original Without Needing A Remake
About 20 years ago, The Brady Bunch was transformed into two films starring Shelley Long and Gary Cole. I thought it was a fairly neat premise, and the first movie did quite well at the box office for the time, though the second was apparently considerably weaker as far as any sort of a storyline went. The chemistry between Cole and Long was fairly strong, too, so it wasn't too hard to picture these two as the patriarch and matriarch of these six children.
But the difficulty I have now is that the remake business has gotten to be a bit wild. Everything appears to be deserving of a remake, no matter how compelling the story might be. The thing is, not all stories need to be retold.
Again, take The Brady Bunch. The original television series, which ran from 1969 to 1974, holds a special place in many people's hearts, and rightfully so. While I only saw the series in reruns (I was born in 1973 and therefore too young to really appreciate The Brady Bunch, or much else beyond a clean diaper and food), I, too, could appreciate the show's approach to a variety of issues that kids still deal with today, such as blended families, working on any issues with self-image and so forth. I really didn't get why there absolutely needed to be a movie made, and while I followed the reviews when the movies came out, I didn't actually see the film.
I'm a sucker for an original story and "classic" shows. The Brady Bunch is a classic, and rightfully so, as it was transformative for a lot of people who are now adults with kids and in some cases grandkids of their own. I also understand the need for all of us to want to put our own spin on things we deem as classic, whether it's fashion trends or television shows, but sometimes, I would like for us to question why we feel this need. Sometimes, if it ain't broke, why are we fixing it anyhow?
The "Controversy" Over 'Beauty And The Beast' 2017
When Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts) Speaks, Shouldn't We At Least Think A Bit?
If I were to be perfectly honest, I'm a bit excited about the Beauty and the Beast remake. I've always loved Emma Watson and have been impressed with her ability to shed her Hermione Granger persona as she comes into her own as an actress. She just has that ability to really convey what she's feeling at any given moment, often without saying a word, and I'm really quite interested to see what she does as a musical actress - her first musical role, I believe, since she hit the scene in the Harry Potter series.
That doesn't mean, however, I'm thrilled that there's even a remake in the first place. Whenever there's a remake - or "new interpretation" as these remakes are sometimes called - I'm always a little wary. Beauty and the Beast is no exception, as I loved the original so much that I saw it four times in the theater, to the point where I sometimes borrowed my friends' children to go see it so I didn't look completely goofy as a 20-something watching what was effectively a kids' film.
91-year-old Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original animated classic 25 years ago, herself admitted that she wasn't quite sure why there was a live action film being made. She made it clear in her interview with Entertainment Weekly that while she was surprised that a live action remake was being done, she wished the new production well.
"I can’t understand what they’re going to do with it that will be better than what we’ve already done," she said. "And how they’re doing it live — it may turn out to be very entertaining and wonderful."
It's wonderful that Angela Lansbury is supportive of the remake, given the huge role she played in the original "tale as old as time," however, she raises a valid point. What, exactly, will transpire that will be better than what was done by the original?
Sometimes, with a remake, it's not so much "better" as it is "different," and those of us with a strong affinity for original pieces like The Brady Bunch or Beauty and the Beast will have to look at these remakes with a mindset that these films are standalone performances in their own right, with shades of the original.
But sometimes, we also have to look at a remake from the perspective of wondering what was so "wrong" with the original in the first place that we have to have a remake.