Library Moments: Movie Remakes

filmBessie Sullivan: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

The Great Gatsby was published in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald and continues to be a very popular book.  In 1974 it was made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.  The movie was made again in 2013 starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan.  Neither version got particularly good reviews but the most recent version at two and a half hours long is stunningly opulent and really gives a sense for the over the top indulgences of the rich at the time. While doing research for this episode we didn’t really come to any conclusions as to why movies are remade.  Was it not good enough the first time? Was it so good the first time that it is sure to make money again? And, what exactly constitutes a remake? Someone argued that the Great Gatsby was two movies based on the same book but not remakes. So if that’s the case, what is a remake?  I don’t think we are any closer to answering these questions, but we got an interesting topic out of the debate.

Today on Library Moments Sherrill Sherwood, Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each talk about a movie that has been made more than one time.  Whether it’s a remake or not remains to be seen.

cinderellaSherrill Sherwood, Collections Development: Lily James is Cinderella and Richard Madden is the Prince in Disney’s live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. I thoroughly enjoyed this well done remake which brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation.The story of Cinderella follows the fortunes of young Ella whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother and her daughters Anastasia and Drisella into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of the jealous and cruel new family. Soon, she is forced to become their servant, disrespected, covered in ashes and spitefully renamed Cinderella. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her, and she continues to remain positive, determined to honor her mother’s dying words to “have courage and be kind.” When Ella meets a dashing stranger in the woods, unaware that he is really the Prince and not merely Kit, an apprentice at the palace, she believes she has finally found a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the King summons all maidens in the kingdom to attend a royal ball at the palace, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit. Sadly, her Stepmother forbids her to attend and callously destroys her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand. Soon, a kindly beggar woman steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin, a few mice and a magic wand, changes Cinderella’s life forever.

mr miagi

Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso (left) and Pat Morita as Mr. Miagi (right) in the original Karate Kid.

Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: For those of us who grew up in the 1980’s, Mr. Miagi’s meditative instructions “wax on, wax off” to the headstrong young Daniel LaRusso was pretty much part of pop culture consciousness. The Karate Kid starred American actor Pat Morita as the wise handyman and karate expert, Mr. Miagi and spawned three sequels, a line of action figures, and an animated series, as well as an Oscar nomination for Morita. Filmed in 1984, the story of The Karate Kid starts with Daniel as he moves with his family during the Silicon Valley boom from New Jersey to California. After running afoul with high school bullies who are part of a tough martial arts dojo, the Cobra Kai, Daniel wants to learn how to fight them. Miagi at first declines and offers to peacefully resolve the conflict, but when those efforts are rejected he prepares Daniel for sparring in a karate tournament where he can confront his foes on equal ground.

the karate kid

Perhaps should have been called “The Kung Fu Kid”.

The 2010 remake of The Karate Kid borrows many plot elements from the original, but is quite a bit different – not the least because it doesn’t feature very much karate at all. In the remake, Dre Parker, played by Jaden Smith, moves from Detroit to Bejing after his mother is transferred from her car factory. Dre, like Daniel, runs afoul of some bullies at his new school and is helped by maintenance man and kung fu master Mr. Han, played by Chinese actor and martial arts expert Jackie Chan. As in the original, Han initially refuses to train his headstrong young friend, but acquiesces when peaceful negotiations fail and instead moves the conflict to the ring.

Haliburton County Public Library has both versions of The Karate Kid. You should watch both, but the 1984 original wins the nostalgia contest.

true grit

We have the Coen brothers version but would also love the John Wayne version if someone could donate it to us!

Bessie: True Grit a book by Charles Portis was published in 1968 and was so popular that it was quickly turned into a movie starring John Wayne and Glen Campbell that came out in 1969.  The movie was remade by the famous Coen Brothers in 2010 starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon.  The library has the book and the 2010 version of the movie.  True Grit is the story of a feisty 14-year-old farm girl.  After an outlaw named Tom Chaney murders her father, Mattie Ross hires Rooster Cogburn, a boozy, trigger-happy lawman, to help her find Chaney and avenge her father. The bickering duo are not alone in their quest, for a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf is also tracking Chaney for reasons of his own. Together the unlikely trio ventures into hostile territory to dispense some Old West justice.  The story has been commended for introducing such a strong female character in Mattie.

We would love to have the John Wayne version of True Grit so if anyone has it gathering dust in DVD format we would gladly take it off your hands.  Gently used books and DVDs are always welcome donations at the library.  As in everything, some restrictions apply so please call our office at 705-457-2241 for information about donating materials.  That’s it for this week’s version of Library Moments, thanks for listening her on 100.9 CanoeFM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM January 17th – 23rd, 2016.

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