The trailer for the Fame remake has been released. I’m not actually a Fame fan and, after watching Rent this weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about my feelings on musical film in general, however let’s take a look, shall we?
And here’s one from the 1980s film:
My main issue is that High School Musical seems to have made musical films ‘hip’ again and producers seem to be clamouring over remaking the old stuff rather than creating new films for that audience. The issue here being Fame and The Rocky Horror Picture Show are not like High School Musical. It’s the same genre, sure, but saying that the same people who like HSM will like TRHPS is like saying people who like biscuits will also like leeks because at the end of the day it’s all food (no, I don’t think that analogy even made sense in my mind).
This new Fame (hereafter referred to as NF) looks nothing like old Fame (hereafter refered to as OF) which I’m fine with, really. I have this thing about cover versions and remakes – I don’t mind them at all – in fact I love cover versions (and I collect them) but there needs to be something about them – something different that gives it a unique take and an edge to the original.
Remakes = good, copies = bad.
An NF does look different. And, like I said, I don’t really care hugely about OF. So you think I’d be pleased, right?
I know I’m judging it just from the ad but that in itself is very telling. You have this completely bland young Hollywood-beautiful cast – none of whom seem to stick out from one another. You can’t complain about OF on that account – the cast were varied and diverse.
The characters I remember vividly are Ralph Darcy who ends up semi-successful but as a result drinks too much, this changes his personality, making him aggressive, and puts a strain of relationships with his friends. There was Coco, the annoying but determined dancer who thinks she’s going for a screen test which ends up being some guy’s attempt to make softcore porn, Montgomery who’s just discovering his sexual identity and Leroy, who’s illiterate. They all have problems and they all had strong overpowering personalities which people who are drawn to that sort of lifestyle might actually have. Nothing in the NF trailer suggests these kids are struggling to get by – there’s none of that guts and pain stuff that made OF worth watching – NF just seems ridiculously aspirational – it’s all about the dancing, the smiles, the sex. Seriously, why is everyone smiling?
The trailer looks like half a dozen other we’ve seen in recent years (Step Up, Make It Happen, and so on.), the music is poor – the OF music is iconic maybe as a result of the film and musical success as well as the fact it’s definately of it’s time and has a power behind it. NF seems to have blandified ad nauseum; again, it’s like a million other songs I heard and forgotten about before.
So, it seems, from the ad, I have decided I hate the film already. It’ll have to do a lot harder to impress me. And if this is my reaction to Fame I can only guess how I’ll feel when TRHPS starts getting developed further by MTV with Hollywood-beautiful actors and some either toning down of sexuality or flagrantly mocking it. Bah.
EDIT (20/08/09): I wrote this post a while back and now, reading over it, I find it a bit too severe. Since then I’ve seen the ad which seems to show a bit more of the storyline and, whilst it still doesn’t look amazing, it doesn’t look all rosy peaches-and-cream either.
I am interested in the way things are remade and with Fame I imagine it to be much more about the prescint rather than the story so new characters and backgrounds but brought together at the same place (as opposed to say Psycho which seemed to be entirely the same story, characters and even dialogue but with different actors).
Because I have an Unlimited Card I might go and see it but I don’t think I would otherwise.
I find this apparent trend in remakes quite amazing, aside from this and RHPS I’ve also heard about plans to remake Drop Dead Fred and Dirty Dancing. I suppose Drop Dead Fred is the odd one out there – I don’t really get why anyone would feel the need to remake that at all – whereas the other two are clearly an attempt to bring a new audience who are demonstrating an interest in musical film to the genre – though, surely, they are just going to back and hunt out these classic examples of the genre if they have that interest?