Friday, 16 December 2011

How to update an old film

One the most best re-imagines around is the BBC series Sherlock that locates the Victorian detective into the modern day. In the above clip Mark Gatiss explains that is was about stripping away the 'trappings' of the period setting and getting to the key parts of the story which was the friendship between Watson and Holmes.

Much of what helps defines the characters can be updated, opium pipe - nicotine patches, 1800s Afghan war to present day Afghan war for Dr Watson - other than that the same themes: friendship, adventure, intrigue, class etc are kept the same.

Another way of remaining can be seen in Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho which was just a shot-for-shot remake.

This was seen as a poor choice in the way of re-imaging as one critic describe it as "Slow, stilted, completely pointless scene-for-scene remake of the Hitchcock classic (with a few awkward new touches to taint its claim as an exact replica.)"

More successful was the 1995 film Clueless that was based on the Jane Austen novel Emma but move the action from 19 Century Britian to a present day (90s) US High School.

Compare this with the 2009 BBC version of Emma.

Both are about a girl who meddles in other people's business in a tight social setting, but the location, language, mise-en-scene have all changed.

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