I’ve always been a firm believer in the ideas that it’s not the story you tell, but how you tell it. Your idea doesn’t have to be new, just how you tell the story. If you take something that’s been done and redone (because some stories are just universal) and tell it in such a way that’s refreshing, then you’ve succeeded.
I caught the film LAST KNIGHTS last night. Starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, the film tells the story of a fallen warrior who rises against a corrupt and sadistic ruler to avenge his dishonored master. The film looked interesting and the plot familiar, so I gave it a chance, only to realize midway it was a retelling of the 47 RONIN. The setting had changed as had the characters, but the story was still the same (not that you’d know it by looking at the trailer [below], but it was).
So was it a successful retelling? I thought so. Did that make it a successful film? I don’t know, probably not since I hadn’t heard about it until last night and it had a limited release in 2015. Nevertheless, a writer often tells a story not to make millions (though that would certainly be nice), but to tell the story burning within him. I can’t speak for the screenwriters, but I can imagine they were probably pleased with the final product. Catch the film if you get a chance, then read up on 47 Ronin if you’re not familiar with the tale.