I went to see Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen yesterday. Yes, yes, I know. Now stop giggling and read.
Our main character, Lola, is a pugnacious little fifteen-year-old with a penchant for melodrama (note the title) and a lust for acting. Also, updating classic plays to suit modern style is an affrontery to her dramatic self-respect. Needless to say, she jumps at the opportunity to act in a chic, New York Pygmalion, anyway.
This reminded me of my recent trip to see Jesus Christ Superstar, which, instead of portraying Jesus appropiately as a droopy-eyed Flower Child touting peace and love, we got a khaki-panted urban rebel. From hippie to yuppie, along with storm-trooper Jews sporting swishing leather capes. Did the musical gain anything from this “hip” reskinning? No. Did it lose anything? Yes: how about relevance?
I cannot understand this obsession with rereleasing classic theatre and cinema with a sleek guise that’s apparently more appealing to narrow-minded Gen Yers.
It’s all over the place. There’s a new movie coming out soon called 13, Going on 30. The synopsis? Think Big, but with a female. Mona Lisa Smile? Dead Poets Society, but with a female.
The Prince and I? Coming to America, except, you know, not funny.
The problem is, I’m sure these movies are all very well written, and I’m sure (for the most part) that the actors do a fine job. The problem arises because there’s no originality, nothing we haven’t seen before. All our new cinema emerges from market-tested formulas, tweaked to appeal to a demographic not tapped by the last incarnation of that particular script.
It’s almost as bad as Ted Turner colourising old black & white films. The bastard.