Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rewrite, or, I Still Hate Christmas

I don't remember how I came to it (apologies if it was through your blog, or tweet, or etc.) but yesterday I saw the trailer for Rare Exports. It is almost too ridiculous to be real:

I watched the trailer in my office without volume and then, at home, with, for Sarah's amusement. Then I became actually interested in seeing this movie. Usually the so-bad-it's-ironically-good thing turns me off but this film seems to have just enough weird life that it might be a pleasantly unique experience. Here's a promising bit of the synospis, from the official website:

Pietari and his father Rauno . . . attempt to sell Santa to the misguided leader of the multinational corporation sponsoring the dig. Santa's elves, however, will stop at nothing to free their fearless leader from captivity.

What I like about this (aside from how seriously the film seems to take itself) is how it takes a small detail from the source story and does something unique and, in this case, scary (watch the trailer) with it. Success in retellings seems to hinge, to some degree, on how closely the creators engage with the little details. Little details are what make a story more than just an entertaining narrative outline, especially in a retelling, where it's so easy to let the major points carry the story; it's the small things barely remembered that strike us as surprising and impressive, maybe because of the ease with which they could have been missed.

How do you feel about retellings, updates, stories inspired by other stories? My feeling, just in typing that sentence, was one of almost revulsion, this squeamish originality-loving fear, but I realize that I've enjoyed lots of stories inspired by others, and will continue to do so. Have you ever created something that took part of its soul from another creation? I don't mean just some nebulous spiritual inspiration but actual plot points, or characters, or other fundamental elements.

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