Remakes and Reboots

The movie industry loves a remake.  Many fans decry the practice, yet the movies make money so apparently we aren’t that opposed to them. A friend of mine asked on Facebook recently why this practice is okay for movies but not books? He was wondering why we can’t have a remade Lord of the Rings written by Brandon Sanderson.

I’m curious about that as well. I read the Lord of the Rings before the movies came out because I felt I should. But they were quite a chore to get through. I’d love to see someone like Sanderson take that story for a spin and make it more…readable.

As an author this is a particularly poignant question. Would I want someone else to rewrite my books? I’m not sure. I think I would enjoy trying to tackle rewriting some other things out there. Partly for the challenge, partly for the chance to work in a world I enjoy. But i’d actually rather rewrite some poorly conceived television shows or movies than any of my favorite books.

For movies, one of the justifications for this is the ever evolving state of movie production. A movie made 30 years ago looks drastically different than one made today. There’s also the fresh appeal of current actors taking on familiar roles. This allows a new, younger audience a chance to experience a (good) story as if its fresh.

All of that is unnecessary with books. Sure, a lot of us are reading via e-reader today. But that doesn’t necessitate any change to the story.

What would you actually change in a remade story? What could you actually change before its a completely new story? With movies and tv, with a new actor and new special affects you can drastically change the presentation without doing anything to the story or even the dialogue.

Taking our example above, if Brandon Sanderson rewrote the Lord of the Rings what could he change to make it his rather than just copying Tolkien’s words? If he changed the scenery descriptions to make it less pretentious and tiresome would it still be the Lord of the Rings? Despite my dislike for Tolkien’s writing style, its what appeals to quite a lot of fans and what makes LOTR what it is.

Is there a classic story you would like a modern author to rewrite?

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