The Princess Bride Re-Make: Make it More Than Mostly Dead

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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64 Responses

  1. Avatar InMD
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    says:

    I agree with the sentiment about remakes but I never really understood the popularity of this particular title.

    I’ll be crouching behind an upturned table now to avoid the flying projectiles heading my way.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to InMD
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      says:

      You remind me of this: https://xkcd.com/2184/

      My answer is a film that came out well before 2000, but still while I was an adult (ahem, I’m quite a bit older than Randall Munro): Mortal Kombat

      I love this film, and so does the rest of my family. We recognize that we are not any kind of majority here. But we don’t really care.

      The upside is that nobody seems to be wanting to make a remake. Or is that true? Who knows?Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Doctor Jay
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        says:

        Oh I can come up with several. The one everyone knows and will make fun of me for is Norbit. It’s just so damn ridiculous though I can’t help but laugh my butt off whenever I come across it.

        One less well known but that I thought was great was the Lindsay Lohan disaster I Know Who Killed Me (though that one kind of toes the so bad its good line).Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Doctor Jay
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        says:

        In a saner society, Mortal Kombat would be ranked higher than The Shawshank Redemption.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD
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      says:

      It isn’t high art but it simply has to be one of the most charming movies of all time. The script is well written, the directing and acting are good, and the sets are easy to look at.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    Remember, this is for posterity, so … be honest.Report

  3. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    Tell them to up the dosage on the Spiderman drip. Stat!Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I just hope they actually have a diverse cast this time.Report

  5. Avatar Anne
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    says:

    I’m with you! No further!
    Space awesome postReport

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    What we need, is a miracle.Report

  7. Avatar DW Dalrymple
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    says:

    They should just re-release the original. They will NEVER top it.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to DW Dalrymple
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      says:

      Hear, hear! It’s in the same category with Disney animation. Every several years, there’s a whole generation of properly-aged kids who have not seen it.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to DW Dalrymple
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      says:

      THIS. They could remaster it or clean up the audiotracks or whatever they do to “restore” a movie, and release it as it was in the original. It would make BANK. And I suspect whatever remastering they’d do to a 30-something year old movie would be less expensive than shooting a whole new movie with new stars.

      If the remake happens, I bet it’s going to be a total vanity project for some idiot who thinks they’re “paying tribute” the original, like some terrible actress who really always wanted to be Buttercup and who has enough sway over the people doing the casting that she gets it.

      Alternative, hopefully: this is a giant prank and they’re trolling all of us, and tomorrow Sony will come out with a headline saying “Psyche!”Report

  8. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    Andre is no more. Out of simple respect for his performance, no one should ever remake that movie.Report

  9. Avatar PD Shaw
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    says:

    We hafta get on — we have so much time and so little to do . . .Report

  10. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    By the way, this post is excellent, the St. Crispin’s Day speech of the cinephile.Report

  11. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    I’m glad to say this is merely clickbait. A Variety story about Norman Lear, still going strong at 97, talks about remakes of some of his work, like the current reboot of One Day at a Time. And it mentions, by the way, that there’s even been some talk about The Princess Bride. It sounds about as serious as thinking that TPB is Normal Lear’s work.

    Also, I suspect that it couldn’t be remade without permission from William Goldman’s estate.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    The big problem with this is not that it’s going to be done but the question of “who is the target audience?”

    I’m guessing that the intended target audience is Gen X and the people that Gen X will be dragging to the theater. Well, the general response to the movie gives me about as much hope for The Princess Bride II: Electric Boogaloo as I had for Ghostbusters (2016). I look at it and think “Well… *I* ain’t gonna see it. But the original was pretty good. Let me watch the original again. Hey, I could make an evening of it.”

    So I thought “Let’s say that I wanted this to work. Like, seriously take off. How would I do it?”

    And here’s the idea I had:

    Daniel Radcliffe as Wesley.
    Emma Watson as Buttercup.
    Robbie Coltrane as Fezzig.

    See where I’m going with this?

    Tom Felton as the bad guy, I forget his name.
    The lady who played Dolores Umbridge as Vizzini.
    And so on and so forth.

    Put them in their costumes from the movies too.

    You want to put asses in the seats?
    *THAT* is how you put asses in the seats.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Just going to get this out of the way and let it fall how it may: I do not care for Harry Potter.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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        says:

        You don’t have to. What you *DO* have to do is move from nostalgic opposition to baffled curiosity.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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            says:

            Well, look at Ghostbusters (2016). That struck me as a property that might have made some money (maybe even established a new franchise) if they did it right *AND*, and this is the important part, it was *POSSIBLE* to do it right.

            They didn’t do it right.

            As for this? This strikes me as a movie that could, in theory, be remade and make everybody some money. (I mean, if they just wanted some pretty good ROI, they could just spend a million bucks on restoration, add some CGI here or there (the apocalypse cloak, maybe) for another couple million, spend a bunch on advertising, and get one hell of a strong ROI for minimal work… but this is a strong ROI for a small investment. In this case, we’re talking pocket change in Hollywood terms.

            If they want to make *LOTS* of money, they have to Go Big.

            I propose that Going Big is possible and selling tickets is possible and, yes, even selling one to *YOU*, Andrew Donaldson, is possible.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Out of curiosity Jay, can you think of any remake that was successful? I can only think of Maltese Falcon. But I don’t know how well regarded the original movie was.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                There are, like, a ton of remakes that are successful if you broaden the definition to stuff like “it’s Die Hard, on a bus”.

                There are still a ton if you include stuff like “did you see this awesome Japanese movie? We should totally remake it with Bruce Willis.”

                If you want to narrow it to “No, I mean stuff like ‘A Star Is Born'”, there are fewer, but they still exist.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Right, reusing the formula has always been a success. Transfering mediums often works, also. But using the same medium to tell the exact same store? Not so much.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                Eh, there’s probably a formula for amount of time between movies. A Star Is Born is remade every 20 years or so (we skipped the 90’s) and that’s okay. Maybe we can wait 20 years and remake a movie.

                True Grit was pretty good.
                The Fly was pretty good.
                Cape Fear was pretty good.

                Huh. Maybe it only works with Westerns and Horror flicks.Report

              • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I would rate the True Grit remake better than the original. Which was also good. But I’m a diehard Coen fan.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You can add The Thing.

                I think it’s that genre movies are more conducive. Less emotional attachment from the audience, lower expectations, more room for creativity, etc.

                Foreign movies can also do well but not sure they qualify for the discussion. The dynamics are certainly different if the original isn’t part of the new audience’s cultural lexicon.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Now that is one I can totally agree with! I love The Thing.Report

              • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                The Italian Job was a remake, and a really good one.

                A Fistful of Dollars was a remake of Yojimbo. Not necessarily better overall, but some parts of it worked better than the original.

                The Sure Thing was a remake of It Happened One Night. Incidentally, Rob Reiner was involved in that one, too. I don’t know that it’s better but it ain’t worse, and it’s very worthwhile.

                Hmm, that’s three, and part of me wants to go for five, but I think I’ll stop now.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Doctor Jay
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                says:

                With you on True Grit, but not the Italian Job. Fistful… is a version of Hammett’s Red Harvest, which is what Yojimbo was. (There is a Bruce Willis vehicle in there somewhere also). It Happened… is a film version of Mamets Sexual Perversity in Chicago. I am not sure how close you think Sure Thing gets, as I haven’t seen either in decades. So, remake or adaptation?

                I am also a Cohen fan, but no matter how you slice it, their version of True Grit is better.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                His Girl Friday is a remake of The Front Page, and it’s great.

                OMG, Thelma Todd played Iva in the 1931 Maltese Falcon! I have to watch it now.Report

            • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              I think you are right, ’16 Ghostbusters (which they are already remaking again) is a good example of the people making the movie getting in the way of the movie to make it a disasterReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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                says:

                I wish we had a better word for “remake”. Ghostbusters 2020 has Dan Ackroyd at the helm and, as far as I can tell, he’s going to pretend that the 2016 one never happened. (Please correct me if I am wrong!)

                Fans of the 2016 one are, of course, arguing that Dan Ackroyd should respect a movie that meant so much to them. As one does.Report

              • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Remakes get into the same arguments that music get into sometimes: for example what is the difference, if any, between a cover song, a reimagined song, a song using the sample of another song, a remix of a song. So much is influenced and inspired by so many other things the lines start blurring quickly. So like the new Lion King, which is nearly shot-for-shot a remake of a cartoon, how does that fall? What do you do with Ocean’s 11 which takes the title but virtually nothing else from the first film? Or the dozens of cop movies that all have the same plots.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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                says:

                There’s also a problem with “successful”.

                Does it mean “holy crap, if it’s Friday night, I would choose to watch this movie instead of watching Shane again”?

                Does it mean “turned a profit”?

                Does it mean “inspired a sequel”? (Does it mean “inspired a *GOOD* sequel”?)

                Hollywood seems to have two definitions of “success”: Awards and $$$$.

                It’s okay for a movie to not turn a big profit if the director gets nominated. It’s okay for it to not turn a small profit if the director gets a statue. It’s okay for a movie to be unadulterated crap if it makes a mint.

                And everything else becomes a question about why you’d invest in this rather than something else if this is not going to have one of those two kinds of success.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                …he’s going to pretend that the 2016 one never happened.

                Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of a “mad engineer” has to survive. I would come out of retirement to intern for her. Egon Spengler never moved me that way.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                “Reboot” means starting over with the same concept. “Soft reboot” means keeping the continuity.Report

    • Avatar Fish in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      “the bad guy” is Prince Humperdink.

      Also, no. To all of this. No.Report

  13. Avatar Pinky
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    says:

    I’m on board with the sentiment expressed in this article, but I have to push back a little.

    “At some point, the madness of ruining every decent film from our childhoods must be stopped.”

    No one but George Lucas has ever ruined a movie that was already released. Once it’s created and distributed, it’s part of our shared experience. Hollywood can make as many 21 Jump Street movies as it wants, it’s not going to hurt my fond memories of…ok, bad example, but Hollywood has remade some things I had fond memories of, and it didn’t interfere with them. The new Ghostbusters is obviously, visibly garbage, but that doesn’t negate the quality of the original. If anything, it highlights it. There’s no more pathetic trend in movies than Disney’s live-action remakes of their classics. They’re shameful, but they’re not harmful.

    If someone in Hollywood thinks he can make a better version of The Princess Bride, have at it.Report

  14. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    Ok, there is one scenario where this would work.

    Muppet Princess Bride.Report

  15. Avatar Alan Scott
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    says:

    So, hear me out:

    The Princess Bride is actually one of the best candidates of its era for a good remake/sequel.

    In the original movie, you have Peter Falk telling Fred Savage something along the lines of “My father read me this story, I read it to your father, and now I’m reading it to you”. A remake for the next generation is built into its DNA.

    The conceit of the novel is that S. Morgenstern’s “The Princess Bride” is actually a dense work of political satire and that Goldman’s father skipped over most of it and spun a fun tale out of the good bits. A new telling of The Princess Bride where you leave out old stuff, add in new stuff is very much in keeping with that spirit.

    So cast Fred Savage as the narrator. He’s reading TPB to his young relatives, just like his grandfather read it to him years ago. But then right as he begins the story, he realizes that his story can’t and should be the exact same one that his grandfather told him. So he tells a story that’s wildly different in the specifics but still the same in spirit. Maybe it doesn’t even have Wesley and the rest as characters (though of course the original cast should come in and get their cameos in new roles).

    Call it “The Princess Bride: Exactly Like My Grandpa Told It To Me”.Report

  16. Avatar Hamish Alexton
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    says:

    I am reminded that the same man who wrote “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” also wrote “Follow the money”.Report

  17. Avatar gabriel conroy
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    says:

    There are, no doubt, some people somewhere who do not like The Princess Bride, who do not understand the greatness contained within, appreciate the wit and wisdom, and fail to quote any of the dozens of memorable lines from it in their day to day lives.

    Presente! I’m taking no stance on whether it should be remade. In fact, I suspect nothing can really save that show.Report

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