Monday, August 15, 2011

More Remake-itis, Walmart Streams Video too now

It's been a while since I've covered film news. Now I've got a bit to cover, all related to two familiar topics: remake-itis and "the streaming wars" (that's what I call it). This time out, all of my links are going straight to AV Club, so thanks to them (yet again) for filling me in...

The funniest "did you do that ironically?" bit of remake-itis is that the makers of 2005's failed Bewitched (Kidman and Ferrell) have been hired to remake Bewitched for CBS. AVC rightly points out the logic gap here: the original tv show was an earnest comedy with romantic elements, whereas the film was a cynical take on the ridiculousness of remaking the tv series Bewitched.

I know that tv networks need new shows, and that remakes are becoming more popular (Hawaii Five-0, Bionic Woman, The Prisoner, Charlie's Angel's forthcoming revival)... Seeing CBS attach itself to the same principles of "name recognition = more money" so thoroughly is disappointing and silly. And then we go from that to "oh wait, CBS is mentally unstable, dangerously so" since their choice was the guys who failed at this same (film) project already. It's like MC Escher went to Hollywood and did a lot of drugs while reading Charlie Kaufman scripts.

The same source also gave me a look at the Australian How To Train Your Dragon remake, adapted for the stage. It is true that I didn't see the movie, and it is true that Aussies have a reputation for not being fazed by all the terrifying creatures on their continent. Regardless, HTTYD was a kids' film, and the article rightly states that the dragons look completely horrifying and make frightening/disturbing noises. Watch below. God help you if you're not at least 12 years old.

Yeah, buddy I am afraaaaaaaaid, too. And I'm a grown man.

I've discussed the glut of Frankenstein projects before, but now I hear that a remake of The Munsters is actually in serious discussion. It qualifies because Herman Munster is clearly a Frankenstein, and AVC points out that this makes for 9 or 10 projects now. I just can't imagine what a television studio could do these days to capture the charm of that original series. I haven't seen Glee but I guess it would have to be like that?...

It gets weirder, because there was also an announcement of an upcoming NBC Frankenstein tv show. It's supposed to be a modernization, because of course it is. Coupled with the Bewitched news above, we're quickly approaching what I'd like to dub "an infinity-loop of whaaa?"

And now, perhaps the most confusing remake news ever: Jonathan Demme, director of The Silence of the Lambs, among many others, will adapt a Stephen King story that hasn't even come out yet! The book is about the assassination of JFK, and it comes out this November (thanks, jerk). It's unsurprising, I suppose, since Stephen's books have been remade so often. In both film and television, King's work has been used about as often as that of Philip K. Dick.

Still, I can't help but wonder why they'd latch onto a novel that hasn't even been published. The only reason I can come up with is that someone wants to cash in on the current fascination with that time-period. It makes sense, given the current popularity of Mad Men and the recent release of X-Men: First Class, as well as the forthcoming tv show about The Playboy Club.

Finally, we turn to another pet topic here at Net-flixation: Netflix and its competitors. About 2 weeks ago, Walmart entered the field, offering 20,000+ titles. AVC points out that this will be available through many of the same machines that give web access to Netflix today, and that Walmart will have some movies available to stream on the day of their DVD release. Also, Walmart will be the first new competitor aside from Amazon Instant that will charge rental fees per film, instead of requiring a subscription.

As I've written before, I'm happy for any new competition in this field. One justification for capitalism is that businesses will offer different (or better or cheaper) services in order to distinguish themselves from their competition; eventually, this should result in lower prices for all consumers. Hopefully, the arrival of Walmart will make everyone rethink their pricing strategies and their video library, and it'll work out well for the movie-watching public.

I hope you've enjoyed this little look at the latest remake and "streaming wars" news. I think you can see why I found these particular developments to be interesting/weird/crazy enough to give my attention. I'll see you all back here soon.

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