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Reconstruction / Film

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Reconstructions in film.


  • In the 2010s (although it arguably started earlier with 2007's Enchanted), Disney began reconstructing its classic "fairy tales with princesses and true love" formula that had been deconstructed and parodied to death in the 2000s by films like Shrek and Hoodwinked!. Their princesses are proactive and have goals that don't include "find my true love" anywhere in them, their princes now need to go through a lot of Character Development and/or aren't even actual princes in the first place, and True Love's Kiss and Love at First Sight don't work as they used to, but The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and Frozen all still end with the villain being defeated, The Power of Love saving the day in some way, and the main characters living Happily Ever After.
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  • Even as far back as Aladdin, Jasmine served as a Reconstruction of the Princess Classic. It was the first Princess film to address some of the hardships associated with the title - Jasmine has never left the palace, she's never known true friendship and she's bound by the law to marry someone even if she doesn't want to. But she realises that there are advantages to having the authority of a Princess.
  • The Incredibles reconstructs the superhero plot, partially by correcting the mistakes and partially by transferring them to villains. Yes, superheroes need special suits, so Edna designs them. Yes, capes are silly; so Edna's suits don't feature them. Heroes do cause destruction, but how else can you defeat evil robots? Most supers are eager to be supers, as opposed to being tired and suicidal. The only one doing this for fame is, well, the villain. And so on.
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  • Kung Fu Panda reconstructs the idea of being an Ascended Fanboy. On the one hand, being a martial artist is not as easy as practicing moves in your room-there's a lot of hard work and training that goes into it, and already-established students aren't going to fall over themselves for you just because you're The Chosen One. On the other hand, if you can prove yourself through dedication and determination, you can live the dream and make friends with your idols.
  • The LEGO Movie. Sometimes, people can seem conformist and unoriginal in their lives. However, everyone has the potential to be a hero. Also The Prophecy was made up, but it was made so someone would believe in it and actually save the day. And most importantly, everyone can take what someone else did, and recreate something more, because Everyone IS awesome.


  • Due to the dark nature of the material to begin with, the line between Deconstruction and Reconstruction is often blurred with horror films.
  • Some Westerns seem to be attempts at this (3:10 to Yuma (2007), Appaloosa) in contrast to some of the more post-modern examples of the genre (such as No Country for Old Men and The Proposition). Or they may be seen as straddling the middle ground between Deconstruction and Reconstruction.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice starts out as a deconstruction of the two characters, however it eventually gives way to being a reconstruction in how it brings both of them back to something closer to their classic forms. Consider how much each's characterization at first aligns to how a bunch of people complain about them on the internet, often in the name of "realism". Superman is a figure with so much power that people have trouble relating to him on a human level, and without it completely under control, accidentally contributes to the loss of lives during the battle between him and Zod in Metropolis. Batman, rather than being the noble hero with a strict no-killing policy, is here more unhinged at first, being more jaded and perfectly willing to kill even someone like Superman. However by the end Superman proves that he can live up to the ideal he's supposed to represent by willingly sacrificing himself to destroy Doomsday, which brings about him the adoration of the masses that he usually receives. Batman begins to renounce his more extreme ways, as shown by his decision not to give Lex Luthor the Bat-Brand and how he's now willing to work with metahumans, to the point that he decides to put a team of them together in order to continue Superman's mission in his stead. Justice League completes the Reconstruction by showing Superman as a more genuinely heroic (and cheerful) figure.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer takes the dumb blonde who gets killed in horror movies and reconstructs her as an action heroine, then deconstructs the supergirl concept by giving her real world problems.
  • Chicago and Moulin Rouge! are credited with reconstructing The Musical in movies. Both films employ a Framing Device to justify all the singing - Chicago featuring the songs as figments of Roxie's imagination, and Moulin Rouge has Christian narrating the story and emphasising the surrealist nature of the songs. Both had the darkness of the earlier deconstructions, but still plenty of throwbacks to the fun and frivolity of classic musicals.
  • Cinderella (2015)
    • The film reconstructs Disney's own animated version by playing the story straight - but addressing any issues people might have with the original; Cinderella's role as The Pollyanna is born out of a desire to follow her late mother's wishes to be good to everyone, the Wicked Stepmother is given an excuse for her abuse, the lovers get to have actual conversations and get to know each other, the quest to try on the slipper is Lampshaded repeatedly and the Fairy Godmother is given a reason to help the girl.
    • The film as a whole reconstructs the Prince Charming character. Since the 90s, parodies and subversions of this character spawned their own trope. Kit here is indeed an actual Prince Charming - but with character growth and development.
    • The King was given more depth than his animated counterpart. In the animation he was the Plucky Comic Relief, wanting his son to get married because of his obsession with really wanting grandkids. In this film, it's established that their Kingdom is actually a small nation and he's invested in his son getting married to a Foreign Princess both for the good of the kingdom and his own peace of mind knowing that there will be someone to take care of Kit when he's no longer around.
  • Cloverfield does this to kaiju movies. Ironically, people believed it to be a deconstruction, forgetting what a horrific anti-atomic weapons allegory the Trope Codifier Gojira really is. It started out horrific, got light and fluffy, and returned to being horrific. The film performs this reconstruction by showing the events of the film through the perspective of normal civilians. It's a surprisingly effective way to show just how gut-wrenchingly brutal and terrifying a giant monster attack would be in real life.
  • Clueless is a reconstruction of Teen Movies after the bitter deconstruction of Heathers, while also taking some time out to reconstruct Jane Austen by way of adapting Emma into a modern-day setting where it actually more-or-less works.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • Batman Begins is a reconstruction of the idea of Batman, not only giving a plausible explanation for how Bruce Wayne acquired all of his Bat-themed crime fighting equipment and training, but also exploring the motivations behind what would drive a man to dress up in a rubber Batsuit to fight crime.
    • The Dark Knight reconstructs how a superhero can operate in, and have an effect on, a larger society.
    • The Dark Knight Rises ends up reconstructing what happens to a superhero in the long term.
  • Dracula Untold is the first live-action movie in a long time to take the idea of a vampire turning into a bat seriously. Vlad transforms into a rather massive flock of bats, enough to account for his size and weight. It actually does a good job of making the idea not seem cheesy.
  • Enchanted takes a stereotypical Disney princess and puts her in the real world of New York. Giselle starts out tripping over her own feet and being generally clueless, and making life very difficult for her caretaker. Soon, her quirkiness and overall sunshine start affecting her new world positively, and at the end she's seen using her gown-making skills and ability to control animals to start a successful fashion store.
  • Godzilla (2014):
    • The movie takes a Revisiting the Roots approach to Godzilla, bringing back the grim tone and the scary-force-of-nature characterization of the King of the Monsters.
    • The movie Reconstructs the Lighter and Softer "Godzilla vs." movies that came afterwards; rather than treating such a set-up as a joke like so many parodies have done, it instead treats the "Godzilla vs." style in a straightforward way by introducing the same grim approach as Godzilla had in his initial solo outing.
    • While staying mature and serious, it also reconstructs the idea that a kaiju doesn't need to be outright villainous, and can be sympathized with. This incarnation of Godzilla coming off more of a Destructive Savior than a villainous enemy, and the M.U.T.O.s act like normal animals more than they do super villains.
    • Various elements of Godzilla's design are updated to seem more plausible. His feet are rounder like a sauropod's to support his heavy weight, he has gills on the side of his neck to explain how he can live underwater, his armoured hide and arms now look crocodilian. In general he's bulkier, as an animal his size and shape probably would be to support its own weight.
    • Also done for Nightmare Fuel: A creature with Godzilla's mass and weight leaving the ocean would not be a quiet affair. All the water he displaces causes a tsunami. The same thing would have happened if a battleship suddenly grew legs and walked onto shore, all that displaced water has to go somewhere.
  • Goodbye Lenin reconstructs, of all things, Marxist Socialism. The film portrays it as a genuinely positive and idealistic view of the world that went wrong and blatantly acknowledges the problems of socialism and the good things provided by the West but by the end of the film we see that the hopes and dreams of the East German people are not necessarily defeated.
  • Hard Boiled features every single police officer character as unambiguously heroic, as an apology by John Woo for the way Chinese films had started to glorify criminals (including some of Woo's previous films). Their conduct in the hospital sequence in particular puts an extra helping of "Heroic" in Heroic Bloodshed.
  • Hitch reconstructs the notion of 'pick-up artistry' - as in teaching Dogged Nice Guys how to score with beautiful women. Hitch is a date doctor of course, but he encourages guys to be themselves and overcome their fears in order to let the women get to know their best selves. However he refuses to work with a Handsome Lech who just wants to use his methods to score one night stands. And when the female lead mistakenly thinks this about him - and wrecks his career in the process - he calls her out for it.
    "This is exactly why falling in love is so goddamn hard!"
  • Hot Fuzz was partially an attempt to revive the British police officer as a credible movie hero after almost every British crime movie of the previous decade (or at least since Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) had instead focused on glorifying criminals. Hot Fuzz spent its first half deconstructing the police-action movie, then used its second half to gleefully rebuild it.
  • James Bond:
    • When the series appeared dead (and had been somewhat deconstructed in the Timothy Dalton era), True Lies appeared to reconstruct the spy-action-adventure genre by way of Affectionate Parody. Ironically, it is a remake of a French parody of Hollywood action-adventure movies.
    • The Daniel Craig movies gradually undergo this process; Casino Royale (2006) begins the process of deconstruction by placing Bond in a more gritty, 'modern' setting, and Skyfall begins with raising the question of whether the typical Bond-style hero is necessary or even relevant in a modern setting, before gradually reintroducing a lot of the traditional elements of the Bond series that had disappeared over the Dalton, Brosnan and Craig movies. As M argues during her Parliamentary hearing, the end of the Cold War has not made the intelligence services irrelevant; if anything, MI6 is even more relevant in the age of The War on Terror, when Britain's enemies can hide anywhere and strike at any time. By the time of Spectre, Craig's Bond has returned to classic!Bond form with gadgets like an exploding watch or a car-exhaust flame jet, and even the classic Nebulous Evil Organization has returned to plague the current era.
  • The Joshuu Sasori films are a reconstruction of the Women In Prison genre. While the genre normally consists of deeply misogynist, red-hot-lesbian flicks created purely for men's titillation and possessed of virtually no artistic merit, Shunya Itou made the Joshuu Sasori films thoughtful, vicious, artful and surreal works with an overtly feminist message, without even changing the basic common plotline.
  • The film version of Kick-Ass reconstructs its own original comic's deconstruction of the superhero genre. In the comic, the hero is a sorry loser who never trains, gets beaten up all the time, and screws up his relationship with his new girlfriend. In the film, super-heroism is played mostly straight, with Kick-Ass becoming an inspirational underdog with low-level superpowers who eventually helps save the day and gets the girl.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service reconstructs and affectionately parodies Roger Moore's Bond spy films, and also campy spy films in general. It's got it all: the silly (but still quite dangerous) villain with an evil plan to destroy the world as we know it, the exotic foreign henchwoman, the wacky disguised weapon gadgets, the Tuxedo and Martini, the Soundtrack Dissonance and the unapologetic old British Tory ethos that even the Bond films only hinted at. On the other hand, the villain is Genre Savvy, every female character is three-dimensional and written and presented in a highly respectful fashionnote , and class conflict is a recurring themenote .
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe is essentially a reconstruction of not only Marvel characters but of the superhero genre in general, giving the characters and stories more realistic/fleshed-out styling while still not losing the idealism, mysticism, and fun of superhero comics. No matter what challenges the protagonists face, in the end they're still bigger-than-life heroes going on adventures and fighting villains. It also defies many of the common criticisms/deconstructions that superhero comics face. For example, the darker implications of Thou Shall Not Kill are averted by having the superheroes be willing to kill but only if absolutely necessary, preserving their moral codes while preventing "Why doesn't Batman just kill the Joker?" situations.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger is a reconstruction of Golden Age Captain America comics, and do-gooder superheroes in general. It specifically addresses common quibbles with the character (Patriotic Fervor, Invincible Hero, Unfortunate Implications, etc.) and tries to breathe new life into the concept. It's particularly prominent with the Captain Patriotic trope: the whole image of an invincible American superman bitch-slapping Hitler that the character is usually flanderized into is explained as a propaganda stunt, hated by the "real" Captain America, who has much more depth.
    • Iron Man 3 reconstructs how grandiose villains with a thing for theatrics and terror can be adapted to operate in the real world. The Mandarin, the flashy Big Bad adapted from the source material, is actually a fictional character played by an actor, Trevor Slattery, made to distract the public from the real villain, Aldrich Killian, who instead takes advantage of anonymity to perform his manipulative deeds. However, after this went over very badly with the fans, the short film All Hail the King reconstructed the Mandarin further (without showing him just yet) by revealing that he actually does exist and leads the Ten Rings, and Killian merely stole his name without realizing the consequences.
    • As noted by Ralph Garman, the MCU also reconstructs the superhero costume, notably averting Movie Superheroes Wear Black. While none of the outfits are actual spandex, and most make plenty of concessions to practicality, they also tend to be very colorful, and as faithful as possible to their comic-book origins - the Winter Soldier even retains his '90s Hair. The Falcon was a rare case where an MCU hero was stuck in a drab grey version of his costume - until Avengers: Age of Ultron, when his outfit was revamped to feature more of his signature red.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming reconstructs Spider-Man's interaction with New York, whereas in the comics often makes Spider-Man a subject of disdain thanks to the Daily Bugle. Here Peter is a local superhero in a vibrant New York whose troubles come from wanting to become something more than just a local hero and attempting to stop a weapons deal only to find himself out of his depth and unintentionally being a Spider Menace. However, he still saves the day at the end, and is beginning to achieve fame once more.
    • The MCU in general reconstructs the old-fashioned Black-and-White Morality of the comics, but special mention goes to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. In Infinity War, although the Avengers are generally good and try to stop Thanos from killing off half the universe, they're ultimately not perfect: not only are they still divided after the events of Civil War and struggling to patch their wounds up, they make crucial blunders at some really bad times, specifically when Peter Quill attacks Thanos he's been rendered into a sleep-induced coma, causing him to wake up and shake the heroes at Titan off, and when Thor goes for Thanos' chest and not his head, which allows Thanos to barely muster enough strength to snap away half of all lives in the universe. On the other hand, although Thanos is absolutely wrong in wanting to wipe out half the universe, he genuinely believes it's necessary and right, if terrible, he shows sincere respect for the heroes trying to stop him, never goes back on his word, and shows his love towards his daughter Gamora, and as a result of this, he wins. In Endgame, however, the Avengers get their chance to reverse what Thanos did and bring everyone back, and when push comes to shove, they ultimately rise above their flaws and fully repair their broken wounds with each other, but when a past version of Thanos finds out what they're up to, he completely jumps off the slope and decide to destroy the entire universe and rebuild it from the ground up. Because of this, the Avengers not only destroy him for good, but successfully bring back everyone his future self killed off five years ago.
  • Although it didn't stick, The Outlaw Josey Wales can be seen as an attempted reconstruction of the old-style "sagebrush" western, with a more ambiguous and nuanced view of morality, the Civil War, and Indian raids. Essentially, The Man With No Name leads a group of pioneers to seek their fortunes in Texas.
  • While Cloverfield isn't 100% Deconstruction, Pacific Rim definitely moves things back in the opposite direction, focusing on the heroes combating the kaiju, not civilians trying to escape. It also makes kaiju cool again, rather than just terrifying. It also gives Humongous Mecha a comeback in the big screen and they are as awesome as they are big.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: The film spends the first part dissecting the corruption of American politics, with Mr. Smith and his ideals being dragged through the mud in the process. But the next part shows Smith delivering a stirring defense of those political ideals, this time more politically astute and aware of committee rules.
  • All of Running Scared (2006) is basically a scary fairy tale about a boy who ran to The Lost Woods and met numerous monsters, including The Big Bad Wolf and a witch living in a Gingerbread House. Credits make sure you got the reference with an animated sequence showing the boy's misadventures in that light.
  • Saving Private Ryan is this for war movies. Following The Vietnam War, most war movies focused on the futile or dehumanizing nature of war. Ryan definitely has a War Is Hell mentality, with the sheer brutality of the D-Day landings and honest portrayals of shell-shocked soldiers clearly communicating the horrors of war. Yet, this all only served to further highlight the valor of the soldiers. Several of the more heroic Military and Warfare Tropes are played without irony. Captain Miller is a classic Father to His Men, and none of the military leaders are portrayed as foolish, cowardly, mean-spirited, or dangerously gung-ho. Though the soldiers mock Upham for trying to apply the Band of Brothers trope to them, they all essentially interact this way. Finally, the movie is bookended by scenes at Normandy, which honors the sacrifice of American soldiers, alongside a huge American flag.
  • Silverado: The influence of Spaghetti westerns had radically changed the landscape of westerns starting in the 1970s, with stripped-down productions and grizzled antiheroes, but this film reconstructed the style of the classic, epic Westerns of the 1950s and 1960s for the 1980s.
  • Star Trek (2009) could be seen as a Reconstruction not only of the Star Trek franchise, but also the Space Opera genre as a whole. While the franchise had been heavily deconstructed to begin with, the later series had moved away from many aspects of the original series. The genre as a whole had suffered from certain works (including Star Trek: Enterprise and the Star Wars prequels) becoming notorious for generating a Broken Base, and undergone Deconstruction with the remake of Battlestar Galactica in 2000.
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope was a reconstruction of optimistic heroic and mythic storytelling, made at a time when a great deal of cynicism was finding its way into cinema through films such as First Blood and Taxi Driver, and played tropes straight that had been twisted for much of the post-Vietnam War era.
    • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:
      • The movie reconstructs Darth Vader and reverses the infamy he got at the end of the prequel trilogy. In the original films, Vader was depicted as an extremely powerful and dangerous, but ultimately beatable antagonist, but after decades of parodies, references, and a very ill-handled Start of Darkness, he lost much of his mystique and aura of threat. However, Rogue One depicts him as a borderline Humanoid Abomination, a vast, unknowable force of pure death which even his nominal allies are visibly frightened of.
      • Psychic Strangle. Director Krennic's look of visible terror as Vader chokes him shows just how horrifying an attack like that, which he can barely comprehend and couldn't possibly fight against, would be.
    • The Last Jedi both deconstructs and reconstructs classic Star Wars tropes at the same time. Your heroes can make mistakes, and sometimes aren't what you thought they were, but in the end, they prove why they became such legendary heroes in the first place. Blindly jumping into a battle you have no chance of winning gets people killed, but fighting to the end to save what you care about is never foolish. Looking to bloodlines and families to find heroes can create a ruthless Knight Templar, but heroes can emerge from the most unlikely of places. DEFINITE YMMV and Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment on whether these elements made the film a masterpiece that restored the franchise to its roots, or a cynical mess that doomed it forever... Or, you know, anywhere in between?
  • The whole airplane disaster genre has been spoofed thoroughly by Airplane!, and for a long time, audiences have been unable to take them seriously. United 93 is a reconstructed work of said genre, ultimately for the simple fact that many of the events actually happened...


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