Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Approaching something with low expectations

or perhaps more accurately, approaching something having already judged it. Or perhaps even more accurately, approaching with a closed mind?

Uh huh. I watched about a third of the Hollywood version of The Singing Detective[^] tonight.

I wouldn't dignify it with the term 'remake'; that would imply at least a half hearted reverence for the source material[^].

I'm sure the people who were responsible for this mess of a movie thought they were doing something worthwhile. The movie even stuck, for the length that I could endure, reasonably close to the original story though there were gratuitous changes to dialog.

As an example; in the original the 'hero' hallucinates. At a bedside medical conference the next morning the head nurse relates that 'yesterday he thought there was a cat in the bed nibbling at his toes'. The Hollywood version changes the line to 'yesterday he thought there was a dog on the bed chewing his ankle'. He weakly protests that it was chewing his toes.

Why on earth would anyone have thought it necessary to change the imaginary animal from a cat into a dog? Perhaps because the British are reputed to be cat lovers whilst everyone knows that all red-blooded American males love their dogs?

To be honest, I have a real problem with the whole 'remake' thing. It bespeaks a lack of imagination and respect for the work of others. Would anyone set out to rewrite Hemingway or Dickens or Austen with any expectation of critical acceptance? To be sure, they may rework the same material in a different way but almost any attempt to reproduce any well known authors work would be dismissed as plagiarism. Why should a movie maker think s/he could get away with the film equivalent?


I endured about 25 minutes of the movie before hitting the delete button. Married with Children seemed quite refreshingly original as a follow on...

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