Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Remakes, Reimaginings and Sequels - Peanuts

So, I saw the trailer for the new Peanuts movie this morning and it got me thinking about a few of the other "reimaginings" coming out over the next year, and what makes a movie based on an already established property good and what doesn't.

It is probably significant that I just watched 300: Rise of an Empire this past weekend and thinking about what makes a good sequel. The 300 sequel had the right idea, albeit with poor execution (ha!) : Put your movie in the same universe as the last movie, with new characters and scenario, with a similar but distinct style. They didn't do a scene with Baby Leonidas fighting Baby Xerxes, and they kept the plot rolling in a way that realizes the audience is aware that the 300 soldiers at Thermopylae are all going to die. Thinking about it now, it really is a shame this movie wasn't better.

Now, you might think it's unfair to compare the 300 sequel to the Peanuts movie (not even the movie, actually, the teaser trailer) but the fact is that both of these things were based off of an established concept; They both have similar expectations that need to be lived up to, and both need to create their own unique contribution to the mythos they belong in.

Examples of this happening in both good and bad ways are numerous. One of my favorites, both of in terms of remakes/sequels and movies is general, is The Muppets from 2011. It took an established franchise, added in new characters and a new story, and focused more on creating within a world, rather than just throwing shit at the audience going, "Remember this? Remember this!?" Rather, it glosses over, tongue firmly in cheek, all the elements that the audience can understand quickly and easily.

So, back to Peanuts. I understand that it's only a teaser trailer. I'm keeping that in mind. But. This movie will probably be bad.

Number one, there is no reason to make this movie 3D. I actually think the style looks pretty ok here, but if the movie will be animated, why not draw it? Oh, that's right. That would be too much work.

I look at this trailer -- and again, I know it's a teaser trailer -- but I don't see anything new here. It's Charlie Brown. And Snoopy. And they're....? Oh, he said, "Good grief." Hey, I remember that.

The teaser trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 2, by contrast, introduces us to the same characters, but they've grown, they have new things going on. They are expanding on the universe already created. It is possible to do something interesting with a teaser trailer.

Tomorrow I want to talk a bit about the Annie remake because oh my god black people exist and can be in movies it must be a controversy.
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