25 March 2010

Remakes bring fresh look to old classics

Remakes bring fresh look to old classics

By Nicole E. Avery
GVL Columnist

I've noticed lately that there has been a lot of creative tweaking to old classic movies and novels.

Since I am a nerdy bookworm, the first example of this practice that pops up into my mind is the numerous editions of Jane Austen's famous novel "Pride and Prejudice."

There are endless spin-offs to all of Austen's novels but versions of the story of "Pride and Prejudice" outrank them all.

Some center on the fictitious children of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy while others devote themselves to exploring the sexual relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as newlyweds.

Still, turning the romance in Austen's novels into a dirty smut-fest wasn't taken as controversially as the addition of zombie mayhem to the original plot of "Pride and Prejudice." This literary union between Austen and zombies festered into the prequel "Dawn of the Dreadfuls," a novel by Steve Hockensmith, which explores the town of Meryton before the arrival of Mr. Darcy.

Everyone but me, of course, was upset. I appreciated these novels for what they were and found the fight scenes very clever and funny. Reading these books made me want to compare them to the originals, and it became an excuse for me to read the original classic over again.

What is perhaps even more shocking than the revisions of these classics is the fact they're actually good. All of the zombie books published by Quirk Books are quick, fun reads that I enjoy.

Another recent revision was of Lewis Carol's novel, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" into Tim Burton's movie "Alice in Wonderland," which featured the same lovable characters but a twist -- Alice was older and this was her second trip to Wonderland. I saw the movie, and it was fantastically charming and creative, and I did appreciate the very realistic effects of our progressed technology.

The Mad Hatter played by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's revision tells Alice she "has lost her muchness." Is the face that we are remaking classics a sign that we have lost our muchness?

I don't think we have.

Remaking movies, writing prequels or sequels to novels is just another side of creativity and is really asserting our own confidence that our generation can, if not do it better, at least make it relatable to our own era.

Authorial intent has given way to readers' or viewers' interpretation and expectations. Movies rarely stay verbatim to the book, which has become not only accepted but expected. We trust the movie to explore the "what-if" sections of the book so why not let another author do the same?

Everyone should just relax. No one is banned from reading the original "Pride and Prejudice." The old idea isn't eliminated by the new one.


1 comment:

mrsb said...

I had never read (and I am a total book nerd) the original Pride and Prejudice until after I read the one with zombies. So it's actually spurring on a new love of Jane Austen for some, lol!