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I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Movie Remakes, and Series vs. Standalones in Genre Fiction

Photo of my personal DVD

Okay, so many of you might have heard that plans are in the works to remake the classic Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life. Many people are outraged by this idea. See the link:

Others are excited about it. An article in Parade magazine actually took a viewer poll on the subject.

While I'm not usually a fan of Hollywood's tendency to remake old movies or make movies based on popular older TV series (Bewitched), there have been a few I didn't mind.

Miracle on 34th Street for example. While I love the Maureen O'Hara and Edmund Gwenn version of the original classic, I didn't think the remake was bad. I actually liked it. The 1994 remake starring Richard Attenborough and Elizabeth Perkins was well written and an acceptable update on the classic. And if reviewer's opinions count the two rated very closely on both Amazon and Imdb.

Another remake that comes to mind is Christmas in Connecticutt. In my opinion, the Barbara Stanwyck version with Dennis Morgan as the charming and cute WWII hero, and Sydney Greenstreet as the overbearing Alexander Yardley is the best. The remake with Dyan Cannon and Kris Krisofferson just wasn't the same. Granted it was a made for TV movie, but still...

As for books, don't get me started on movie versions of books. Most of them fall terribly flat. Which leads to another trend in Hollywood of making movies out of popular YA series. While, I'm very impressed with the Hunger Games movies, most of the time there is no comparison. This leads me to another interesting article I read lately. It posed the question of whether you read series books differently than standalones and whether there were ever genre series you gave up on. Here is the link:
Mind Meld: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Genre Series...

While I agree with her on the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, I don't agree on the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. I think Harry Dresden has gotten more unlikeable with each book since Changes. I do like the Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate series, and am looking forward to the sequel series and diving into the new YA series she's started. And even though there have been years in between Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books, I'm still a fan. I am not probably going to finish the Beautiful Creatures series books by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, or Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series. Both just sort of bore me.

So how do you feel about movie remakes and the plans for It's a Wonderful Life, the sequel? What about series vs. standalones? Do you read them differently or have a different set of expectations for one vs. the other? And have there ever been series you've given up on?

6 comments:

  1. I say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We need a few old-time classics in this present time. Thanks for a light-hearted, fun post/

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    1. Thanks Juanita. I think there are some movies that just shouldn't be messed with. We will see what happens with the proposed sequel to "It's a Wonderful Life".

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  2. It's an interesting post, Ann. What about the recent Carrie Underwood version of THe Sound of Music? My FB friends have been debating it over and over again. I see remakes as tributes to the classics, and I think it makes people look up and maybe even enjoy the classic movie. However, if it's not done well, DON'T DO IT! As for books to movies, I enjoy seeing my favorite characters come to life like in the Hunger Games because those are well done. Did you see The Immortal Instrument movie though? IT WAS AWFUL!!!!! So, again ,if it's well done, I don't mind it, and actually enjoy it.

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    1. I forgot to watch the Carrie Underwood "Sound of Music". I meant to. Was it good? I do think a remake can be well done, but often times aren't. If it gets people interested in classic films, though that can be a good thing. I do enjoy seeing my favorite characters come to life. I agree the Hunger Games movies have not disappointed, but many others have. I actually didn't think "City of Bones" was too bad. I didn't think Valentine's character was right. I thought they made Jace too nice in the movie. The one I thought was truly awful was "Beautiful Creatures". It was sad and hokey complete with cheesy music. But that is one series I've kinda given up on anyway. Interesting enough they have already started workin on the movie for the second Mortal Instruments book. Sorry. Also, Starz is going to do a tv series on the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon which is a series I highly recommend, great historical fantasies. I' m disappointed the tv sereis is going to be on Starz, cause I'm not a subscriber.

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  3. I only watched a few scenes of THE SOUND OF MUSIC afterwards on YouTube. The choreography of the "Do Re Mi" sequence stands out as stellar, and the kid performers are decent only if you're comparing them to the adult players. The SNL spoof hit the mark. You can catch that on YouTube too.

    I made myself read HUNGER GAMES before seeing the movie. I felt it slogged through way too much narrative, but it was still a compelling story, though I haven't yet gotten around to reading the remaining books in the series. I loved both movies 1 and 2.

    I enjoyed the CARRIE remake this year and felt it was better in many regards than the original film of Steven King's first book (which I haven't read). I still prefer a few sequences from the classic movie.

    What about SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS, guys? I read all four novels as mentor books and enjoyed them. The movies were cutesy but okay, mainly because of the magic jeans, pretty faces and beautiful locations.

    As for remaking IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, count me out.

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    1. I never read the SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS. I know my library has it. Maybe if I can find it as an audio book I can listen to it while traveling around in the car. I did see part of the movie. I agree, even not having read the books, it was okay. I'd heard the CARRIE remake followed the book better than the first movie. I can't read Stephen King horror stories because my husband refuses to let me sleep with the light on. He also banned me from watching horror flicks after I had a nightmare from watching the first 10 minutes of RED DRAGON, nothing bad had even happened yet. :) I woke him up screaming and thrashing around because I was tangled up in my bed sheets. Thankfully my daughter who was a baby at the time didn't wake up from all the noise. I'll have to try to watch THE SOUND OF MUSIC spoof on YouTube. Thanks for sharing that info.

      I too find it very hard to believe a movie sequel or remake of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE could match the original. But it might not even get made if the people who want to do the project don't pay for the rights first anyway.

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