Remake The Princess Bride? Inconceivable!

The Sicilian from The Princess BrideImage source, Alamy
Image caption,
Movie remakes: the ultimate poisoned chalice?

Another week, another set of divided opinions online about, well, almost everything.

But this week one thing seemed to unite most people - if Twitter is anything to go by, at least.

Remaking the classic 1987 film The Princess Bride is a bad idea. An even worse idea, in fact, than getting involved in a land war in Asia.

The debate was started by an interview by Variety with Norman Lear, the film's producer.

He said "very famous people, whose names I won't use, but they want to redo The Princess Bride."

Even that tantalising hint was enough to make many fans reach for the gifs.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

And in a world where politics seems to divide people - this united them.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Even the Dread Pirate Roberts himself - presumably now living like a king in Patagonia - got involved.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
Image source, Alamy
Image caption,
You remade my favourite film... prepare to die.

'"Not just your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill fairy tale'

If you've not seen the original 1987 film, you may be asking 'what's it about, and why do fans love it so much?'

The first question is easy to answer.

What's The Princess Bride about? Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Revenge. Giants. Monsters. Chases. Escapes. True love. Miracles.

The second question, like a Rodent of Unusual Size, is a little harder to tackle - but loved it certainly is, with a solid 8.1/10 rating on IMDb and 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"It's embedded in a period of nostalgia for some people," says Dr James Walters is an expert in film at The University of Birmingham.

"Unlike Disney where you've got animation that can be remade, The Princess Bride has a real live action cast and for a lot of people it's seen as almost a sacrilegious effort to recreate that on screen.

"I think some of the backlash with The Princess Bride is a backlash against the constant remaking of films. The fan response is that this is one step too far. This is the film that's pushing remakes to the absolute limit."

Dr Christopher Holliday, who studies film at King's College London agrees.

"It's got a cult and legendary standing. Audiences like its imperfect status and they want to preserve the original. It's fair game for re-make material but recreating it today might undo its successes".

Image source, Alamy
Image caption,
'I've got my wife to murder, a classic film to ruin. I'm swamped.'

'You mocked me once, never do it again'

Remaking films is nothing new. Here's James again:

"It's a general feeling for post-millennials that we're re-making and re-hashing things again. But it's always been the case, there were loads of Godzilla, Tarzan and Zorro films. If you think of something like Batman, the 1960's Batman was a reboot of one from the 40's, so it's always been there, we just have more awareness now."

But it does feel like recently a trickle has turned into an avalanche.

The late Walt Disney may have famously declared, "you can't top pigs with pigs," but his company certainly seems to think you can - as long as you're topping animated pigs with CGI ones, at least.

In the past year alone we've seen several major remakes, from The Lion King to Dumbo and Aladdin. And it's not just Disney mining the back catalogue.

But why do film companies keep giving the green light to remakes, reboots and re-imaginings?

James, who specialises in Hollywood and fantasy films, says the answer is simple. "Whilst there's still money to be made, remakes will keep happening. That only stops when they're no longer financially viable."

Image source, Disney/Alamy
Image caption,
Disney have released remakes of The Lion King and Aladdin this year.

But how many more reboots can we stand? Chris thinks it's something we're finally growing tired of.

"From the audience perspective, there's a sense of raking over old ground. It can seem like remakes are coming from an industry that's bankrupt of original material. We hear a lot about a lack of imagination and laziness."

'Drop your sword'

Fans will only hope that Hollywood will listen to their pleas not to remake this particular classic. Maybe even replying with a simple, "as you wish."

But then again, remember Westley's wise words...

Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

Image source, Alamy

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