Saturday 27 March 2010

John Milius Doesn't Like The Idea of Remaking His Movies

Came across this interesting snippet:

“Red Dawn” isn’t the only Milius film getting a new treatment. Marcus Nispel (“Friday the 13th") is making a new “Conan,” a retelling of the mythology that Milius explored in the 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian,” which launched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career. But Milius is not too psyched about "Conan" either -- or remakes in general. “No one wants their movie remade, especially when the movies take on a life of their own," he says.

Doncha just love it when people have a false sense of propriety over things? What bugs me is that this article is about Milius' dislike of the upcoming Red Dawn remake. Here, he actually has some sort of justification for not wanting to see his movie remade, since Red Dawn was Milius' creation. Despite all the changes, Conan is at its heart an adaptation - a terrible, loose, broad adaptation, but an adaptation nonetheless - and Milius has no more right to be annoyed about a new Conan film than Gene Wilder did when Burton "remade" Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

New adaptations of pre-existing source material from another medium are not remakes, and it irritates me when people assert otherwise. Is Orson Welles' Macbeth a remake of James Stewart Blackton's 1908 silent film? Is Batman Begins a remake of Tim Burton's Batman? Is The Greatest Story Ever Told a remake of King of Kings? No? Then a new Conan film is not a remake of Conan the Barbarian. True, the upcoming film does steal a bunch of elements, but that isn't what Milius said. What he said was No one wants their movie remade, especially when the movies take on a life of their own - implying that Conan the Barbarian was as much his own creation as Red Dawn was. Which it wasn't. Of course.

Also, "retelling of the mythology" gives the impression that Milius successfullly explored the Hyborian Age and Howard's universe - an impression in whose general direction I can only snort derisively.

1 comment:

  1. Heh, this is rather disingenuous (and rather hypocritical) of Milius--"No one wants their movie remade"--did he bother to think of Howard's feelings? Would he have want his character and the Hyborian Age "remade" as Milius did? Or can his creations be freely trampled over, twisted and contorted, simply because he's dead? Again, I note that I liked CtB, but it's not faithful, nor does its existence preclude future directors from making better Conan films.

    For example, I'd like to think that if someone decides to redo The Lord of the Rings in 10 or 20 years they would draw upon the source material instead of attempting a remake or adaptation of Jackson's films. As you said Al, it would be a new adaptation, not a remake.

    That people are perhaps mistaking CtB as the source material for the character of Conan is a more troubling thought.