Sometimes films become so iconic that a remake becomes unconscionable, a point where the movie isn’t just a movie anymore, but an indelible part of our culture. Such is the case with Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, starring movie icon Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Hollywood has found an end around situations such as this, they won’t remake the film… but they will make a sequel that essentially tells the same story or gets the same point across. This, my friends, is how we are getting It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, coming our way holiday time 2015.
Most films of this matter offer some thin connections to “justify” the sequel being in the same universe as the original, and this upcoming flick is no exception. Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s child Zuzu (the one that has the iconic line about bells and angels getting their wings), will play an angel that shows George Bailey’s grandson, who for sake of convenience, is also named George Bailey what life would be like if he had never been born. Other cast members from the original have been approached about appearing, but no confirmation of any of them appearing can be confirmed at this time.
Another trick often employed in flicks like this is to throw in some “twist” so they can claim that indeed they aren’t just doing the same thing again, and It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story (every time I hear that title I think about Paul Harvey) ticks off that check box as well. The “twist” this time being that this new George Bailey will be a jerk instead of the well meaning family man of Capra’s original, which means they are now poaching from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as well.
An attempt to modernize the classic tale was inevitable, but this sequel seems entirely unnecessary. A spiritual sequel, one that wants to get the same point across, but in its own way and without the baggage of the original seems the correct way to go. I know original IPs scare Hollywood to death, but sometimes that is the only way to lend your project any bit of credibility. As always and with all snark aside, I do wish the film well, but I can’t shake the feeling that it simply doesn’t need to exist.
So what do you think about It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story? Let us know in the comments below!