Nick Leshi

Nick Leshi
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Bronx, New York, United States of America
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December 13
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Writer, actor, media professional, fan of entertainment, pop culture, and speculative fiction. Contact nickleshi@aol.com for more info.

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MARCH 28, 2012 10:49PM

How Faithful Should Remakes Be to the Original?

Rate: 4 Flag
The commercials for the new movie Dark Shadows seem pretty funny and quirky, but how true is the remake to the original gothic soap opera that inspired it? The new film seems to be an outright comedy whereas the television series that it is based upon (which aired from 1966 to 1971) was certainly campy but wasn't intentionally laughter-inducing. My wife, who was a big fan of the short-lived, more dramatic 1991 primetime reboot, definitely isn't motivated to see the new film.

It's not the first time Hollywood has taken a popular old TV show and made it into a new movie with a major tonal shift. Some examples include The Brady Bunch, Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch, and Land of the Lost, all of which had their camp factors pumped up to ridiculous levels in their motion picture incarnations. The reverse happened with Lost in Space, the beloved camp classic that was turned into a more serious, darker film.

Hollywood takes a huge gamble when it makes such changes. On the one hand it uses the brand of the old series to attract nostalgic audiences and maybe new viewers by making the alterations, but it might also turn those fans away and confuse the general public by straying so far from what the original was all about. Does the new 21 Jump Street really have anything to do with the TV drama that shares its name beyond the superficial similarities?

I might still give Dark Shadows a chance. It's directed by Tim Burton, one of my favorites, and it has an outstanding cast -- Johnny Depp as vampire Barnabas Collins, Eva Green as witch Angelique Bouchard, Michelle Pfieffer as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Chloe Moretz as teen Carolyn Stoddard, Helena Bonham Carter as psychiatrist Julia Hoffman, and Jackie Earle Haley as caretaker Willie Loomis, with appearances by Christopher Lee and Alice Cooper.

But will it really be Dark Shadows or will it just try to get by on its name?

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It may not be anything like Dark Shadows (which I loved as a kid) but it looks hilarious! I just hope it's as good as the preview I saw - I was howling. But you're right, it doesn't seem to have much to do with the original Dark Shadows - what's the point of even using that title since most people never heard of the soap.
I loved and of course was forbidden to watch "Dark Shadows" because the original soap really did scare the beejezus out of me. My Nana used to watch it and she used to babysit me after kindergarten. She'd send me outside to play, would light up a Pall Mall and settle in for a half hour (or was it an hour?) in the company of the fabulous Jonathan Frid. Meanwhile, I'd sneak in the kitchen door and watch the show from behind my grandfather's chair.

I thing Johnny Depp is a great actor but I don't think he'll approach the downright sinister creepiness Jonathan Frid brought to Barnabas.
I may view it when it hits the video store. ~nodding~
I think a remake should BE an original in it's own right. A clean fresh point of view. As long as the guts are there. If you are gonna do it over do it OVER.
I agree, I like Dark Shadows, the movie and the soap. Do something different the second time around. We already know the premise, now write a new story. I would like to hope its a hit and fun as I am a sucker for Vampires.
The commercial for Dark Shadows was hilarious -- but except for the character names and the title, I didn't see any connection to the original. Why not just make an original entity all its own -- Burton can still claim it was "inspired by" his love for the original Dark Shadows. Oh well.