The internet rumor mill is a hungry beast, always looking for the next morsel to stuff into its terrible, inescapable maw. I tend to try and ignore it, because so often the rumors end up being nothing more than smoke and mirrors birthed out of the darkest corners of the web. After all, was it not the late great Sir Terry Pratchette that once said “A lie can run around the world before the truth has its boots on.”? Yes, it was. In The Truth. So when I first heard rumors that some collossal moron was considering remaking The Princess Bride, aka literally the only perfect film ever made and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise, I ignored them.
Then I read that it was the CEO of Sony, Tony Vinciquerra, who started these rumors, and my heart was filled with dread.
I’m not the kind of person who believes remaking a film is an inherently bad idea. I’ve enjoyed some in the past. Karate Kid was the best thing Jayden Smith has ever been in (which is damning with faint praise, but it was also a good movie inspite of the company it’s forced to keep). Amazing Spider Man was far better than you likely remember it being and Andrew Garfield was a better Spider-Man than Toby McGuire. Hell, for an uncontroversial example – the remake of Evil Dead wasn’t the cult hit the original was, but it was undoubtedly a better horror film than the first.
However, I firmly believe there are some films that should never be remade. Citizen Kane. Psycho. The Lord of the Rings. Jurassic Park. After Earth, although in that case it’s because no amount of work could salvage that absolute dumpster fire. But if you’d asked me yesterday to list films that should never be remade, I wouldn’t have even mentioned The Princess Bride, just because the mere idea that anyone would ever consider it was – dare I say – inconceivable.
But I’m not here to tell you The Princess Bride is a perfect film. You already know that, because you possess the ability to absorb stories and because the entire internet has been collectively screaming it for at least 24 hours at this point.
Instead, we’re going to look at all the reasons one should remake a movie, and why none of them apply to The Princess Bride.
Because a Creative Mind has Something New to Say
This is probably the best reason to remake something, in my opinion. Someone who is talented and creative wants to use the original as a springboard for something new. It’s also the least common reason for remakes. Adaptations, sure – the film version of Starship Troopers is basically Paul Verhoeven spending 129 minutes satirizing the exact kind of fascist state that Robert A. Heinlein was advocating in the original book – but I cannot think of a single film adaptation that had this as its reason for existence. I’d love to know if one exists!
However, that would be a terrible reason to remake The Princess Bride. Why? Because anyone wanting to say something new is – inevitably – going to turn it into a satire or a grim and gritty parody of itself, and doing that to a film as beloved as this one would be nothing but petty or mean-spirited. It would be like making a movie where Superman kills someone, and thank God that no one is dumb enough to think that would be a good idea.
Because you are Engaging in a The Producers Style Heist to Tank your Own Company
Please, Sony. There are easier ways that don’t involve desecrating a classic. Just give M. Night Shamaylan the director chair for every film you want to make except for the next Spider-Man film. Give that to Zach Snyder. Boom, problem solved.
Because the Original Needs Updating for a Modern Audience
There’s a lot of films that haven’t aged well. In my above example of Evil Dead, the original film was probably a lot more frightening in the 1980’s, when special effects technology was less advanced and everyone was on cocaine at all times. For a modern audience, however, it’s pure narm, and the remake make a film franchise that hadn’t been scary in close to thirty years something that was truly horrifying.
Yes, that was an unlabeled link to TV Tropes a few words back. Sorry for costing you the last hour of productivity – feel free to scroll up and re-read this post to remember what was going on.
This is not the case with The Princess Bride. There was exactly one special effect in that film that doesn’t look fine even now – the Rodent of Unusual Size – but that was part of the charm of that moment. I mean, I first saw this film in college. It was 2005. Goddamn what happens to time? Anyway, at no point did I think “Man, this film looks dated.” The Princess Bride is absolutely gorgeous, and no amount of modern cameras or CGI could make it look better.
Because Society has Collapsed and a Remake is Needed to Preserve the Film
Mr. Vinciquerra, you have to wait for after society has collapsed for this to be valid. So give it at least another decade. Okay, five years. Actually…at least another year. Hmm. Now that I think about it, at least hold of until next Tuesday.
Because you Want to Make Money
Modern-day Hollywood productions are bloated messes, and a huge number of them barely make their money back. As such, Hollywood is often looking for guaranteed successes to help offset the loss caused by the riskier investments. However, as Justice League and Fantastic Beasts and How to Kill a Franchise proved, it’s really hard to guarantee success. Remaking a film can at least seem like a safe bet. The original did well, so the remake should, right?
Well, first of all, that almost never happens. More importantly, however, The Princess Bride absolutely will not.
When the news broke, the internet collectively shit itself. (Yes, I know that earlier I also said it was collectively screaming. If you can picture the internet collectively and simultaneously screaming and defecating, than you probably need to spend less time on DeviantArt.) The remake could be the literal second coming of Christ and cure all diseases of anyone who saw it in theaters and people would still not go on principal. preemptively hating this remake has been the first unifying thing I’ve seen on the internet in ages. Everyone is furious about this. Liberal or Conservative, Man or Woman or Non-Binary, Marvel or DC, Boomer or Millennial or Gen-Z – I skip over Gen-X here because calling their reaction “furious” is like calling the ocean “damp” – everyone agrees that this is a terrible idea.
Which means the only audience this movie will find is people who enjoy going to movies they expect to hate and want to hate so they can get a good, angry rant going. Basically, me. I’m the only type of person who will go see this movie in films, just so I can get a furious blog post out of it. Which means that, if it is good somehow, the target audience will be unhappy. No one wins here.
Because you Hate the Concept of Joy and Want to Exterminate it.
I mean…okay, if this is your reason for remaking The Princess Bride, then godspeed, you mad bastard. I look forward to your monologue in act three right after He-Man storms Snake Mountain.
Hey Mr. Vinciquerra, want a book to turn into a film? Why not try Weird Theology? It recently sold 1000 copies, and has a sequel out. Also, I’d have a heart attack from shock and then couldn’t make fun of The Princess Bride remake anymore, so it’s a win-win for you.