Remaking a classic film is always a tricky proposition. For every excellent update like Scorsese's Cape Fear, there's a hundred total disasters like last year's All the King's Men. Most remakes feel a lot like Avril Lavigne covering Nirvana -- the words and chords are the same, but the passion, the inspiration, and the power is gone. Now they are remaking the 1930 Best Picture winner All Quiet on the Western Front, which many consider one of the finest war movies ever made. Writer-producers Ian Stokell and and Lesley Paterson feel Erich Maria Remarque's classic World War I anti-war novel is just as relevant today as it was back then, and plan to make it into a "big budget, sweeping Hollywood epic."
Stokell and Paterson want to adapt the book with a "gritty, journalistic approach," and they have hired ex-US Marine Captain Dale Dye as "Senior Military Advisor," a task he also performed on war classics Platoon and Saving Private Ryan. I have never read the book, but found the original movie to be pretty powerful, especially for a movie made nearly 80 years ago. The film has already been remade once, as a TV movie with Ernest Borgnine in 1979. Strangely -- and here's where purists start to get upset with these announcements --Stokell and Paterson only want to use the novel as a jumping off point. Paterson says "By creating new storylines ourselves, we believe this modern rendition will encompass greater depth and historical context, but still remain congruent with the spirit of Erich Maria Remarque's work." So...why not just write an original script? Doesn't anyone do that anymore?