Here’s a question you should ask yourself. In a movie, how much does the story matter as compared to the setting or the tone? Let me propose a simple story for you. A young man is dissatisfied with the course of his life. He dreams of something much greater for himself, but his destiny has been predetermined and as a result there is nothing he can do to change it. Rather than accept this, he rebels against his fate and reinvents himself, challenging the preconceptions of all around him. Just for the hell of it we’ll even throw in a love interest who is initially attracted to him in part because of his new standing, but after she has gotten to know him realizes how special he is. She will even stand by him and help protect his secret because of how much she loves him despite the fact that the basis of their relationship from the beginning was a lie.
Now that we have a very basic story, let’s take it and tell the story in two different ways. The first way that we’ll tell the story we’ll make it a very serious tale set in the near future where our genetic code determines every aspect of our life and what job we are considered suitable for. The second way we tell the story is going to be much lighter hearted and set in the medieval times where a person’s station was determined by who their parents were. The first telling results in the movie Gattaca, the second with A Knight’s Tale. Superficially these movies seem extremely different but if you actually look at the story, you will realize that they are in fact the exact same movie.
I never saw A Knight’s Tale so I can’t judge these 2 against each other (although I really liked Gattaca). I have problems when the director or producer change the original premise of the movie (when based on a book) because he didn’t like the setting or tone. An example of this would be the movie Girl, Interrupted. Based on the book by Susanna Kaysen. The director made it a feel good chick flick (unlike the book) because he felt “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” already covered that setting of gloom & doom.
Not to mention the last Harry Potter movie…
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