Are Remakes Necessary

I’m torn.

Last weekend, I managed to sneak away from my busy life and take my daughter out to dinner. Afterwards we went and saw the new Dune movie.

Yesterday, I saw an add for the new Cowboy Bebop show that is coming out on Netflix next month.

Both of these are remakes … but are both of them necessary?

I understand it is a little early to determine if the new Cowboy Bebop is any good. And to be honest, I don’t know that my goal here is to determine the strength of an original vs. a remake. However, I can absolutely say, I love the new Dune movie. As an author, I love it when a film tries to stay as close to the original text as possible.

Dune, I’ve had some friends say it was slow, but they always seem to follow up with “beautiful cinematography” and other compliments to the film. I believe the pacing of the movie followed with the intent of Frank Herbert’s book. Neither book, nor film, can be considered an action movie. Both are best described by the literary sub-genre of space-opera: sprawling world building, multiple important characters, a society built on the ruins of our own, etc.

Denis Villenueve captured the pacing and intent of the book with amazing accuracy.

Now the question, was the remake necessary?

In my opinion, yes. The 1984 Dune is a cult classic for a reason. It is entertaining in an 80’s sci-fi dimension, but when compared to the source material, it falls short.

I understand when a movie is remade because the special effects have evolved to a point where they finally do justice to the original story. With the new Dune, this wasn’t even an issue. Yes, the special effects were superior to the ’84 version, but in reality it was the writing, acting, and execution of the story that made this remake worth it in my mind.

Now, Cowboy Bebop … I honestly don’t believe it needed a remake. As an anime, they accomplished everything with the series that they wanted to. Anime allows us to suspend belief because it is animated. Fight scenes don’t have to be grounded in reality. Scientists aren’t analyzing ships for their physics. When taking in anime it’s easy to slip into a realm somewhere between childhood and adulthood and simply enjoy.

Turning an anime into a live action series could go either way.

I just went back and rewatched the original Cowboy Bebop and forgot how much fun it is.

That is part of the difference. Going back to watch the ’84 Dune isn’t pleasurable. It might bring back pleasant memories, but in the long run, it’s just a chore.

I will probably watch the new Cowboy Bebop just to compare, but I don’t find it necessary.

I guess that answers the question. Remakes depend on where they are coming from. Some are necessary, some not so much, and some we won’t know until they come out and we compare.

What are some remakes you love/hate and find un/necessary?

While you’re thinking, keep on reading, keep on supporting your local movie theater, and keep on flying the Black

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