We’ve been inundated with favorable reviews for Kenneth Branagh’s newest reiteration of Cinderella. It may be exceptional like the reviews are indicating but I, for one, couldn’t be less enthusiastic about it. This is a property that has been duplicated umpteenth times via remakes, homages, parodies and spin-offs. I find it difficult to believe that Cinderella mandates another trip to the well. There is numerous source material that probably shouldn’t be adapted anew due to the frequency of their re-imaginings.
3. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas’ novel still resonates with readers and viewers alike because of the main character’s shrewd stratagems for revenge. I was lukewarm on the swashbuckling 2002 Kevin Reynolds rendition because I thought the roles between Guy Pearce and Jim Caviezel should’ve been inverted. It was recently announced that David Goyer would tackle another replication of this book soon. Oddly I haven’t seen this yarn done in a contemporary penitentiary setting on the big screen. This might invigorate my appetite for the property again.
2. Hamlet – Shakespeare is normally guilty of being rehashed quite often but the one play filmmakers love to revisit is his tragic Denmark-based magnum opus. In my opinion, Branagh crafted the definitive Hamlet in the late 90’s. It didn’t skimp on the characters, retained the prose and was presented on a grandiose scale. Ethan Hawke’s modern-day rendition was admirable but it felt a bit incongruous. It’s practically pointless to spin another tale of misguided youth afterwards.
1. A Christmas Carol – Of course, it speaks universal truths about how the holidays aren’t complete commercialism and they were created out of a sense of family solidarity and generosity to your fellow man. Scrooge’s arc from a miser to a saint is uniquely transformative. We’ve seen this live-action, animated, Muppetized and motion-capture. However, it’s been recycled an estimated 31 times. Unless someone severely bucks the trend by reversing the arc for darkly comedic Terry Zwigoff results (making Tiny Tim a Jack the Ripper-esque serial killer in future glimpses would be ample reason not to save him), I doubt we require another one.