This won’t hurt at all…

Sorry for the delay, I’ve had this idea bouncing around in my head for a few days now, and just haven’t been able to get it spit out on to the digital page.

Why can’t we enjoy remakes of classic things?

This seems to happen most often with Movies and TV shows and, to a lesser extent, music. Someone releases an obvious remake to a previously enjoyed movie, let’s say. They tell everyone that it is a remake, they do interviews explaining any changes that they made, any artistic decisions. They address concerns about included and removed content. They spend all their time explaining and defending why it isn’t exactly the same as the original.

We hate it.

What got me thinking about this is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

The original movie, itself an adaptation of the 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was wonderful. It’s something that both my parents and I enjoy. It’s something that we watched together because they were fond of it, and it was a good family movie. I’ve rarely met anyone who didn’t care for that movie and Gene Wilder’s portrayal of the reclusive candy maker.

I’ve also not yet met anyone who like the 2005 remake of this movie. This is where I get stumped. I know and understand that there are some significant differences between the two. I also understand that there are many people who prefer the character of Willy Wonka to be the version shown in the original movie. What I wonder is, does that mean that the remake is bad? or does it just mean that most people like the original better?

Let’s pretend you could watch the two movies completely independent of one another. Let’s say I have a machine that can temporarily remove and store your memories. So, you watch the first movie, you think and feel whatever you’d like to about it. Then, I extract those memories and feelings, and set them aside. Now you watch the remake, with no knowledge of the previous version, and no thoughts or feelings attached. You form an opinion of the remake. Then I give you your memories and feelings back.

Do you still hate the remake? (I’m assuming you currently do since, as I said, I haven’t met anyone that likes it)

I ask because it seems to me that people are perfectly capable of enjoying a movie that is a remake or an adaptation of another story, so long as they have no prior knowledge of the story.

I suppose I can see both sides of this discussion because I am able to enjoy the two movie about Willy Wonka as independent entities. I enjoy them for separate reasons. I also tend to be somewhat disappointed with movie adaptations of comic book series. I have a much harder time separating the two ideas. For comics, I guess I always felt the story was pretty well laid out with lots of action so no real need to make changes.

So my main point would be this; Why is it so difficult for us to separate ourselves from a previous version of something, so that we would be more able to enjoy something new?

Seems like we could all have a little more fun if were could sit back and enjoy what we were doing instead of comparing it with something we did once before.

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