Tag Archives: remake

In With the Old [And In With the New]: The Silver Lining of Intertextuality

Last Friday I asked you all to watch a short video on the concept of intertextuality, which provides the basis for this week’s post.

While Nerdwriter1, the YouTuber responsible, initially describes the device as “something in a text, in this case a movie, that is shaped by another text” he later goes a step further in making the term distinct from mere allusion. Contemporary intertextuality, which he refers to as being “weaponized”, is defined as:

“objects, people or situations explicitly meant to trigger an emotional response”

To use my own visual example, successful intertextuality results in a combination of:

and

Being able to recognize and understand the reference is important, but equally essential is having that recognization elicit feelings, whether they be of awe, or joy, or pleasant surprise. Simply identifying a shot in a film as the replication of a comic book panel matters most if you care[d] about that original work. Continue reading

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Is It Time To Stop Reading Shakespeare?

I never really liked Shakespeare.

Never hated the guy, mind you- downright enjoyed a few of his plays (The Tempest, Coriolanus, Hamlet). Still, I never really could bring myself to relish the bard’s works with the same zealous enthusiasm of the drama geeks and English majors.

With that in mind, you might spare me perhaps a little of the horrified gasping when I ask:

Is it time to stop reading Shakespeare?

And I ask that with all sincerity. I’ve made no secret about my general dislike of the theater and the culture surrounding it, but I’m not here to talk about those guys.

You know the type. Melodramatic airheads who’ll actually only refer to this as “the Scottish play”…

I’m talking about the actual works of William Shakespeare here.

Why still read ’em?

After all, with every passing year, we drift further and further away from those stories. In spite the film industry churning out one or two adaptations or modernizations of Shakespeare’s plays, there’s only so many ways to re-imagine Romeo and Juliet.

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Shame Day: Hollywood’s Attempts to Remake Akira

If you know nothing else about the Japanese animated film Akira you should know this: it’s worth every bit of praise it’s ever received. If you want to add another jot of information to that knowledge you should also be aware that it is beautiful.

It’s some of the most gorgeous animation that I’ve ever laid eyes on, and the gif above is only the smallest sliver of the visuals the movie contains. Even if you want to throw aside its mountain of accolades there’s the unquestionable fact that nearly every character skidding their motorcycle to a halt owes a debt to this film-

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Re: Where I Try To Explain Red Dawn

I don’t normally get that angry about things. Disappointed, sure. Upset, often enough. But really, truly angry? That emotion is normally reserved for pure, undistilled racism.

Yesterday I wrote about the production history of Red Dawn, and mostly talked about how the plot was immensely improbable and how the film industry is all about money, et cetera. What I did not at all dwell on was the potential of the film to bring out racism in people, similar [but not at all comparable] to the abuse of Middle Eastern Americans after what happened on 9/11.

On Facebook Racebending.com directed me to Tumblr user manilaryce, who compiled a number or racist tweets by people who had just watched Red Dawn. I have embedded the image below and on the right.

The following are a few of the tweets that particularly stood out to me:

Kinda wanna kill some Asians right now and defend the homeland, thank you Red Dawn for sparking some patriotism in me

The only reason Im going to see red dawn is cause there’s sexy ass guys running around with guns killing Asians my type of movie;)!

I now hate all Chinese, Japanese, Asian, Korean people. Thanks. #reddawn #amazingmoviedoe

Red dawn was sickkk..just another reason why to hate asians.

This is like when racist Hunger Games fans tweeted about how the casting of a character as Black ruined the movie for them. The difference between that situation and this one is that I feel directly targeted.

One of the tweets, by @elysse223, reads “I usually love Asians, but in Red Dawn I found them terrifying.” After reading that I almost immediately felt worse, like both me and everyone else like me had been transformed into inhuman movie monsters.

The only consolation I can take in all this is that the film is being almost universally panned. Liam Lacey, reviewing the film for The Globe and Mail, says “Red Dawn panders to the worst kind of racist and jingoist impulses, though the movie is so preposterously insincere, it feels like those adjectives should be in air quotes.” Over at Indiewire Gabe Toro describes the film as “stitched together with scotch tape and falling apart at the seams, letting casual racism and misanthropy to spill out the sides.”

I honestly don’t have a lot to say except that I’m angry, hurt, and somewhat unsurprised that this is what audience members all over America are choosing to take away from this movie. I am Asian and I am not evil. I do not want to take over America. I do not want to ever feel like this:

Where I Try to Explain Red Dawn

I’ve begun seeing trailers on TV, and apparently it hit theatres two days ago, so I figure now’s as good a time to talk about Red Dawn as any.

For those of you who don’t know, Red Dawn is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. In the original the United States is invaded by both the Soviet Union and its Cuban allies. A group of plucky high schoolers bands together to form a guerrilla fighting force, named the Wolverines after their high school mascot.

In remaking the film the studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), realized that they needed to modernize the invaders in light of the current political climate, and chose China. Keep in mind that in the original film that country was apparently America’s only ally, with the following exchange taking place:

“…Well, who is on our side?”
“Six hundred million screaming Chinamen.”
“Last I heard, there were a billion screaming Chinamen.”
There were.”

Production was going smoothly until the summer of 2010 when the Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, got a hold of leaked excerpts of the script. This prompted such headlines as “U.S. reshoots Cold War movie to demonize China” and “American movie plants hostile seeds against China.” In early 2011 the LA Times reported that the film’s villains were changed from Chinese to North Korean to “[maintain] access to the Asian superpower’s lucrative box office.Continue reading

Being Erica Soon to Be American

The American entertainment industry has long been dominated by remakes, a fact that’s easily backed up by a quick glance at the last year in film.¹ What’s less well-known to most people, however, are the amount of television shows on the air that have their origins elsewhere. The UK, in particular, is responsible for American Idol, Sanford and Son, American Gladiators, Being Human, and Whose Line is it Anyway?, to name a few. And let’s not forget about The Office.

It makes total sense that the game shows were taken and adapted for an American format²; if people are going to watch other people make money, they’d prefer it if it was at least the same currency. The other shows, however, were adapted because of cultural differences. As far as Being Human goes, the characters remain a vampire, werewolf, and ghost, yet attempt to live normal lives in an American setting. Cultural differences also encompass humour, and it should be clear to most people that what makes the British laugh won’t necessarily do the same for Americans.

On December 16, 2010, ABC announced that they were planning on rebooting the Canadian series Being Erica3. First airing at the beginning of 2009, Being Erica is a show that follows the life of Erica Strange, a thirty-something year old woman whose life is turned around when she begins an unorthodox form of therapy. Her sessions essentially consist of her being sent back in time to relive past regrets, a smooth blend of science fiction and comedy-drama that seems almost believable at times. Continue reading