Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Stepford Wives (or I Wish I Had One for Just One Day)

I saw the remake of "The Stepford Wives" the other day, and it was...interesting. For those of you who don't know, I judge remakes by two criteria:

1) Does the remake say something the original doesn't?
2) Does the world need this remake?

If you, the producer, answer "no" to either of these questions, don't make the movie.

"Wives" certainly meets criterion #1, because it's a black comedy or even a farce, whereas the original was horror. Also, I think that where the original asked, "What is woman?", the remake asks, "What is man?" A relevant question, I suppose, but the movie doesn't do very much to answer it. In addition, there is one crucial point in which the story contradicts itself, and while I'm not expecting that kind of movie to be 100% believable, I don't expect it to be self-contradictory. Be that as it may, yes, the remake does make a different statement than the original.

As to criterion #2....well, one of the reasons the original movie was so compelling was the time in which it was released, and when you watch it you have to think of it in that context. The new movie obviously can't be retroactively released in the 70's, but I felt that it was fairly context-neutral, and that in my opinion makes it less interesting. Therefore, I think that I can say that, no, the world really did not need a remake of "The Stepford Wives."


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