It’s Not About The Story

I watched The Warriors for the first time a few nights ago. I was astonished to learn it was actually a good film, in spite of the wardrobe faux pas. At the very least, it had a good premise, and of all the crappy remakes Hollywood has released lately, my thought was, certainly someone could give this one an honorable update (sans the Dia de los Muertos clad Yankees from 62nd Street).

Of course, because times have changed, so would the story; and as a writer that’s one of the things to consider. Could a story work if it’s set in a different time period or location? What would happen if the Warriors ran through Jersey or North Carolina? Would there even be much of a story given that gangs are fighting with guns and automatic weapons nowadays (instead of baseball bats)?

Maybe though some stories are classics in-and-of themselves, rendering a remake pointless. Could you imagine trying to redo Casablanca with the Taliban instead of Nazis? Or It’s A Wonderful Life with anyone but Jimmy Stewart? It shouldn’t be done. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be. It seems remakes are now a dime a dozen, with little quality to speak of. After all, it’s easier to rewrite then come up with something original. Still, it’s the first rule of writing I learned that I believe makes the difference: it’s not about the story you tell but how you tell it that matters. It may not be an original story, but if the idea is fresh, you can have a successful story.

I don’t know how well The Warriors did 34 years ago, but even with the laughable gang colors and outlandish characters, it was an original idea that was executed as well as it could be in 1979. And that is worth a bucket of popcorn and two hours of my time.

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