The Murder of Old Versions

Anthony over at Superversive looks at the horror that is a live action remake of Cowboy Bebop:

But we shouldn’t be okay with this, any more than we should be okay with remaking Casablanca. The spin is already beginning. “If it’ll introduce the show to people who wouldn’t pay attention otherwise, what’s the harm?” Well first, who cares if people don’t want to pay attention, and second, the problem is that time and attention is being given to THIS and not original works…or at LEAST some sort of story that could actually justify a remake.

People are so strange that they think that a new version someone expands the audience for a work.  When you remake a movie or TV show, it doesn’t introduce a new audience to the work, it destroys the work and replaces it.  Time and time again if you talk to other people, you will find that they have not seen the original version nor in most cases even know there is an original.  The original ceases to exist in a society which has the cultural memory of a goldfish.

This is not to say that all remakes must necessarily be bad.  The Maltese Falcon (1941) is a remake.  The 1931 version is okay but does not come close to quality of the classic.  The Glass Key (1942) is also a remake.  While I personally am torn about which I like better, you can’t say that the ’42 version is bad.  In both those cases, however, these movies are adaptations of books.  Remakes become different adaptations and often have scenes left out of or changed in previous iterations to work with.  That only works if a book doesn’t get adapted a thousand times.  After the nine hundredth, there is nothing to justify another version of a work which has been done over and over again.  Perhaps why they’ve resorted to such idiocy as adding zombies to things or the always attempted “edgy” remake.  But that’s just a less subtle way that the destruction presents itself.  Something must be changed and the soul of the original snuffed out

One thought on “The Murder of Old Versions

  1. I am pleasantly surprised someone lticed that article. Was hoping someone would.

    (I’m Anthony, btw)

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I am not anti-remake. I am anti-remaking masterpieces that have nowhere to go. Casablanca is one. Beauty and the Beast is another. So is Cowboy Bebop.

    Bebop is neither my favorite nor, imho, the greatest anime ever. I prefer Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. But it is a landmark and has reached that status beyond a classic into timeless masterpiece territory for sheer influence if nothing else.

    There is simply no version you can make of this story that isn’t just an inferior version of the original. Making it live action adds nothing. It only subtracts.

    No matter how good this is it will be a mistake from the concept phase.


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