MemenDOH!: Originality (Nearly) Lost?

Memento poster

So here’s some “fun” news I’ve heard recently and others have heard too. Memento, one of Christopher Nolan’s earliest films, which pretty much brought him to the spotlight (unless you count his first film, Following), is getting a remake. Apparently this production company, AMBI Group, “assumed control” (I assume in the same manner one “assumes control” of a car they’re “borrowing” from someone and never returning) of Exclusive Media Group library and the movies under it, which include sequel and remake rights, of which Memento is a part of. So naturally this means a remake of Memento…wait what? I know I already tackled the topic of John Carpenter movies getting remade, but now it seems that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Memento pic

Hi my name is Leonard. Apparently I’m getting remade.

Okay, to be fair, when I first heard about this, I never watched Memento, but a remake of it was still questionable (putting it lightly there) given how it’s been regarded as one of the best films ever made and that it only came out FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. Yes I had heard of it, and I’ve watched several other Nolan films that came after it (though not Following before it and Insomnia and The Prestige after it), and I love and respect the work of Christopher Nolan. He’s probably one of the few filmmakers out there that, dare I say it, is like the Stanley Kubrick of modern times (and seeing that one of his own movies is getting the “remake treatment” as has befallen other movies when the people behind said remakes are probably leeches that suck on the blood of stupidity with nothing good coming out of them, I hope he’s pissed off enough to stop it from happening). He’s a perfect mix of auteur and blockbuster. Now that I’ve seen it and love it for the awesome movie it is, I REALLY don’t think that a remake of it, along with several other movies in development and/or coming out, is a good idea, though that pretty much goes without saying.

Memento is about a man with anterograde amnesia trying to find his wife’s killer while the story itself is presented in a non-linear narrative, with the color sequences being shown in reverse order and black-and-white sequences shown in chronological order, both of which converge near the end of the film and complete the story. Based on Jonathan Nolan’s short story “Memento Mori”, it was written and directed by Christopher Nolan, starred Guy Pearce, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Joe Pantoliano, among others. A neo-noir film (one of my favorite genres btw), it was both simple and complex at the same time, a fun movie to watch and apparently something that needlessly is getting remade.

First, the movie is not only more than a decade old, but it came out in 2000. That means it came out in THIS CENTURY. I could understand if this was a foreign remake with a different title, and of course America does this too with foreign films (like 2006’s The Departed was to 2002’s Infernal Affairs), but nope, Memento, a movie made in the U.S., is getting remade by a movie company based in the U.S. I know a lot has happened since 2000, but how can you “modernize” a film that’s already “modern”? Unless you try to go “E.T. 20th anniversary” and have everyone’s weapons or whatever replaced with smartphones (the “walkie talkies” of this joke if you get what I mean), then really I don’t see the point in doing this. I can sorta understand movies from the 90s being remade right now, but this is REALLY pushing it. An executive for AMBI said, and apparently this is serious, is that they plan to “stay true to Christopher Nolan’s vision and deliver a memorable movie that is every bit as edgy, iconic and award-worthy as the original”. This is starting to sound like the movie equivalent of a coloring book for little kids, with the drawings put in place by other more experienced people, so all there needs to be is some coloring done to make something that looks ok into something that looks like crap.

Ghajini 2005

Apparently the only good example of remaking Memento, since it’s a foreign film made in India. Ironically this movie also had a foreign remake in Hindi in 2008, with both versions directed by the same guy.

Second, the movie is not only a Christopher Nolan film, but also one of the best movies in recent years, and that goes without saying. The idea alone of remaking or redoing ANY Christopher Nolan movie (excluding Batman of course) is so baffling, one has to wonder if the people behind this have the same brain damage that Leonard in Memento had and someone is pulling a cruel joke on them. The movie is still highly regarded to this day, has a major following, nominated and won several awards including a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, talked about in various articles and publications including friggin TEXTBOOKS, and yet it’s getting remade.

Ghajini

This is the Hindi remake of Ghajini, of which was an Indian remake of Memento. Apparently Nolan was “upset” with this version of Ghajini since it neither “credited” nor “compensated” him and that the director, A.R. Murudagoss, not only directed both versions of Ghajini, but was also arrested because according to the original’s producer, Salem Chandrasekha, said that he did not buy the rights to remake the film in Hindi. With the recent news of the current Memento remake, pretty much ironic there I guess, right? lol

 

Third and finally, this brings the conclusion that sums this up (kinda repeating myself in that sentence, ironically like with Memento; I know kind of a forced joke, but it’s hard to make Memento jokes, alright? sue me), just what the heck is going on? I mean, is ANYTHING original anymore? I know several people ask this a lot and even make videos about it (notably recently I watched Nostalgia Critic talk about originality and thought he made pretty good points about it, which along with the Memento news (that’d make an interesting news program, wouldn’t it? lol) kinda inspired me to write this post).

Right now, there are so many adaptations being made, and that is pretty notable considering that they have just as much creativity and effort as original stuff, depending on perspective, because the people making them understand the source material and want to do them justice, as well as followups to original stuff that came before. Of course, at that end of the spectrum there’s the other end, where there are adaptations and/or continuations of stuff that are really questionable and just made to simply cash in, some petty effort to hold on to rights, or something else that’s stupid, and are pretty much disastrous as an end result. Sure, they’d break bank on brand recognition, but that’s probably about it (not to mention other times when they don’t break bank). And as the years go by and movies of their respective decades get remade to various results, some doing ok while others just bad, it’s no surprise that nowadays movies from the 90s (ya know, the time when everything was EXTREME and Will Smith was starting out “fresh”; yeah I know bad joke) are getting remade. And not just movies that are commonly deemed “good”, but even movies that while at the time weren’t that great, today they’re seen as classics of sorts. And like the remakes of John Carpenter, it’s pretty hard to find a remake of a 90s movie appealing considering the spotty track record of remaking movies of other decades or previous examples (like the 2012 Total Recall remake). It goes without saying for me that I dread the upcoming remakes of other 90s movies like The Crow and Point Break (pointless seeing that without the original Point Break, there wouldn’t be a Fast and Furious franchise; also that movie will suck considering it has the same people that were involved with the Total Recall remake making it and it’s coming out around the same time as the new Star Wars movie and The Hateful Eight, so yeah that movie is pretty much a sucky wipeout from the get-go) and even cheesy yet fun movies like Big Trouble in Little China and Road House (seriously, how do you remake ROAD HOUSE?). Since the well of 90s movies to be remade hasn’t yet dried up like other decades, why not start with the 2000s and remake Memento?

So in short, remaking Memento is a BAD IDEA. No point in doing it, original is already great on its own and still is to this day, it not only came out more than a DECADE ago but also came out in THIS CENTURY, and even if there could be something to bring it to a new audience or something, maybe do a TV series adaptation considering how those are all the rage now, be it miniseries or ongoing. Maybe even do it like Fargo and have it be an anthology with everything seemingly connected. I know I’m thinking out loud, but that’s gotta be better than what’s going on with it, right? It’s a given that it’s a stupid idea, so either it won’t happen at all (scratch that, it SHOULDN’T HAPPEN) or it will happen and it will suck as expected. And like I said about John Carpenter remakes, when all is said and done, there will always be the original to look back at and admire.

Remake pic

Kinda speaks for itself.

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