Month: December 2011

Remakes and Modernisations

Posted December 14, 2011 by Michael Kitto in Literature / 8 Comments

With recent rumours of another American Psycho movie adaption, I thought I might throw my two cents in about remakes and modernisations. First of all, I’ll start with American Psycho; I’ve read the book and seen the 2000 cult classic. Whether you liked it or not, there is no denying that the movie captured the essence of the book, with all its darkness and satire. Also, let’s face it; can you really imagine anyone else but Christian Bale playing Patrick Bateman? Ellis has said he would approve of the remake if Miles Fisher plays the lead (if you have seen the music video ‘This Must Be The Place’ then you will know why). But I can’t see the remake working as it is said it will also be a modernisation; I don’t see how the dark comedy will translate at all.

Apart from this movie, there have been many books that have been remade into movies and modernised but how often does it really work? With superhero and comic book franchises, it works because there are so many different avenues and story lines to explore but with a book you really are bound to the same story.

This brings me to a modernisation that I’ve actually enjoyed, two in fact, both from the same book. This Book was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel ‘The Scarlet Letter’. The first modernisation was the film Easy A, which took the concept of The Scarlet Letter and transferred into a modern high school environment. This movie took the concept of adultery and the effects of passing judgment and applied it to the high school issue of bullying. It was incredibly main-stream but I enjoyed it none-the-less.

The second was something I’ve not seen before, I modernisation in book form; this was Hillary Jordan’s young adult novel ‘When She Woke’. Like most YA novels, this is set in a dystopian society in the not so distant future. In the world, The Church governs all and the church is pretty much like Westboro church. As a form of punishment Hannah Payne has her skin altered bright red so the world will know her sins. Now she has to live in a society that will judge her without knowing her.

The concept of remake of a remake or modernisation done like When She Woke is new to me and I wonder how many books are remakes or modernisations. Which brings me to another thought; what is the difference between a remake and a homage? The lines seem to blur between the two but I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.