Fourth Time’s a Charm?
The end of 2018 seems to be bringing good fortune to classic movie reboots, with “Halloween” sweeping away the box office and “A Star Is Born” coming in hot for it’s fourth reiteration, receiving a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and heaps of critical acclaim and Oscar buzz. The New York Times called it the best version of the film, stating that the movie’s stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper “have modernized this story with a depth of feeling and musicality that is destined to saturate awards season”. With this in mind, here are 5 ways the 2018 version of “A Star Is Born” improved upon its Hollywood predecessors, released in 1937, 1954, and 1976.
It Represents its Time Period the Best
The times may change, but showbiz more or less remains the same. Perhaps this is why “A Star Is Born” has been successfully remade so many times. Even without drastically shaking up the story, each version feels unique and that can be largely attributed to the different time periods. The 2018 film best encapsulates the era it’s set in, getting the modern entertainment landscape down to a T. Since society in general has come a long way over the past few decades, the latest film is also more fleshed-out in its portrayals of women in power, the LGBT community, and alcoholism. This version is thus timely for contemporary audiences and timeless for future generations.
The Female Lead’s Transformation
From the moment she meets Jackson in a drag bar, it becomes clear that Ally is going to be the most modern version of this character, named Esther in the previous films. Stacked up against Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, and Barbra Streisand, Lady Gaga also goes through the most noticeable physical transformation. Considering Gaga’s eccentric reputation, she’s almost unrecognizable when we first see her without any makeup. Of course, as Ally climbs the ladder of fame, her hair is dyed, her wardrobe becomes extravagant, and she turns into a regular pop princess. This puts a stronger emphasis on how Ally evolves throughout the film, as well as how her relationship with Jackson changes.
It Has the Best Music
Believe it or not, the original 1937 film was not a musical. The 1954 version, on the other hand, is one of the most celebrated movie musicals of all time, featuring perennial songs like “The Man That Got Away.” The 1976 film took a page from its predecessor, incorporating several hit songs, most notably the Oscar-winning “Evergreen.” 2018’s “A Star Is Born” is the most effective musical, however, as each song propels the narrative forward. Just listening to the film’s soundtrack, it feels as if you’re being told a story with songs like “Shallow,” “Always Remember Us This Way,” and “I’ll Never Love Again” – all perfectly personifying what our main characters are experiencing.
A Better Backstory for Its Male Lead
In the other versions of “A Star Is Born,” the female lead was typically the most three-dimensional and relatable character. In the 2018 remake, though, Jackson is every bit as interesting as Ally. This is primarily because more time is dedicated to Jackson’s roots, revealing that his mother died in childbirth, his father was a hard drinker, and his brother is the closest thing he ever had to a parental figure. This not only provides greater insight into why Jackson struggles with substance abuse, but also makes for a more complex character study. Although Fredric March, James Mason, and Kris Kristofferson all turned in powerful performances, Cooper really takes the role to another level.
The Male Lead Is More Sympathetic
One thing the male leads in these movies each have in common is that they all meet tragic fates. In the first three movies, however, the men are often narcissistic, jealous, and even abusive, making it harder to sympathize with them. Jackson’s poor behaviour isn’t so much a product of his ego as it is a side effect brought on by his history with alcoholism and mental health problems. Even when Jackson says hateful things to Ally, it’s because he thinks she’s squandering her potential as opposed to feeling emasculated by her success. While not perfect, the fact that Jackson is battling a disorder makes his actions more identifiable and poignant.
Want to find out the #1 reason the new “A Star Is Born” is being called the best one yet, check out Top 10 Things A Star Is Born (2018) Did Better Than the Other Versions
And if you’re a fan of the film that’s bound to turn heads at the Oscars this year, the video below is for you! It’s the Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About A Star Is Born: