[personal profile] wingedbeast
When I made my first Case for remaking What Dreams May Come, Antigone10, a commenter over on the Slacktivist Blog where I shamelessly promote my blog, commented that she and her husband both thought that the premise deserved a remake. Her husband had thought for a more spiritual take with a better message (which I think I addressed in my first and continuing Case), but she had her own idea that merits its own Case. She thought about a story in which the main character, Chris Nielsen, is dreaming and/or hallucinating.

Normally, I'm fairly against "It was all a dream" stories. As a fan-theory it can be slightly amusing. Perhaps I need to watch more David Lynch, who's filmography tends to take from dreams and dream logic and put it to good use.

So, hey, maybe we have a fantasy director for this project.

What Dreams May Come took that line from Hamlet and pulled an idea from it. What if the afterlife acts the same as dreams, one wherein you make the world but you don't have control over what you make. This idea takes the dream as a dream. And, we can work from that.

It's no longer a remake so much as similar imagery employed to different premise. A different name would be appropriate. But, let's still look at how this could work.

Unlike my issue with the movie, I think this can work with Chris Nielsen as the main character and subject of conflict. I say this because of the elements that What Dreams May Come shares with the book upon which it's based. (By the way, I know this due to the comment of one PepperjackCandy.) That is that Chris is met by a relative that he does not recognize until later in the story.

The reason why I think Chris should be the main character, here, is that Chris's privileges, expectations, and the associated anxieties should be on display.

The story will have Chris's experiences within his dreams-cape and some framing device (semi-presented as influencing his dreams) via his family (in this version all quite alive) discussing things, experiences, memories around him.

The story within Chris's dreams-cape will be meeting up with people he doesn't recognize, interacting with them and exploring his own memory and his own life without having to be at all linear about it. One memory, experienced in dream-recreation is explored and thoughts bring up another and another and another. In this way, we can explore his perspective, his expectations, his desires and his fears.

Let's say there's a fight he had with his son while the son was still young. Early on in the movie, you can have the version of the memory that matches the way this main character/father wants to view himself, not cliched Ward Cleaver, but similarly wise and strong. But, there's another perspective, the fears a father who basis his self-image in wisdom and strength that he's been made the fool by a little monster, a scene that could play with the same exact script later on.

Then, there's the third perspective, the one of the son, himself. This perspective shows both the desired and feared interpretations to be wrong. The father, instead of overbearing or foolish, is someone who's doing his best but getting clear elements wrong.

That's an example, but it's a thread that can go throughout the examination of Chris's relationships with his son, his daughter, and his wife. We live in a world that feeds us an ideal, a way things should be. For fathers, even on the liberal side of things, that tends to request strength and wisdom and a certain stalwartness that... isn't always achievable.

For each ideal way things should be, there's always a corresponding anxiety about not achieving that. This can be expressed in terms of toxic masculinity, ideal roles, sexual experience, what have you. The world tells you that you should be sexually active, are you not sexually active enough? The world tells you you shouldn't be obsessed with sex, are you too focused on that? The world tells you to be strong, are you weak?

The reality comes clear when we recognize that these often aren't even the right questions. Sure, there are the functional realities of whether or not you're making enough money to eventually retire, but there's also the matter of whether or not you're making enough money to... not be a loser. That second one is a hard one to shake... and also not even the right question.

Will this version of Chris learn that lesson? That his adherence to expectation and fears of failure are both blocks in his relationships with others and, indeed, with himself? That, when he looks someone in the eye, he can't even recognize himself? Good question to ask.

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