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Let Me In, or Let the Right One In?

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Mark Kermode | 15:31 UK time, Tuesday, 12 October 2010

As you probably know, there's a Hollywood remake by the Cloverfield guy of my favourite film of last year, Tomas Alfredson's Let the Right One In. But how does it measure up? Can it measure up? And did you ever see an American remake of a European movie that did measure up?

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Are there is some american "union" rules regarding the hollywood remakes? Or perhaps it is more along the lines of the Godfather and its use of subtitles arguments...

    The most criminal remake was, in my opinion, The Ladykillers...

  • Comment number 2.

    I may end up watching the remake but i loved the original so much that i have for now decided not to watch the remake. From the trailer it looks very similar in its look and style to the original and i dont want scenes from the remake entering my mind as i rewatch the origial incase it spoils it. also i was trying to think of a remake i have seen and prefered after watching the original first and i cant think of any so i might as well not bother.

  • Comment number 3.

    Anytime this issue arises, the point remains the same: no matter how good, original or groundbreaking a particular film is, there is a significant proportion of the North American/British movie-going audience who will simply refuse to see it with subtitles.

    Short of a major cultural shift and as long as there's a dearth of original ideas in Hollywood, there's always going to be a potential market for English language remakes of successful foreign language films. Whether or not something is lost in translation is somewhat of a moot point; the intended audience will not likely see the original and therefore can't make a reasonable comparison. It's just down to pedants and critics (same thing surely?) to get upset about...

    p.s. Funny Games (US) was rather effective I thought and didn't deserve the critical kicking it got merely for being a remake.

  • Comment number 4.

    I've no real problem with remakes. They're not sacred texts and nowhere is it written that Thou Shalt Not Muck Around With Movies That Are Perfectly Fine To Start With. If the Coens want to put their own spin on The Ladykillers: well, I say let them. As it turned out, I quite enjoyed it, but then I have no particular loyalty to the Ealing version. On the other hand, if Tony Scott wants to have a bash at the marvellous Taking Of Pelham 123, he's welcome - it's a free country - but the results stank mightily, not just as a remake of a fine original but as a film in its own right.

    Some might argue that Wes Craven's The Last House On The Left is a better film than Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring. I wouldn't know - I've never seen the Bergman film - but I genuinely dislike Last House. And I don't think it's an officially credited remake.

  • Comment number 5.

    I saw the film, and I must admit, having had rather strange feelings about the original. I see where you're coming from with regards to the remake, but I must admit, I like it much more than I thought I would, and not just because as an old-time horror fan, it was great to see the Hammer logo again, though that was certainly a treat. The original certainly an interesting film, and the remake has generated much criticism for largely simply regurgitating the original with the language changed. But I think that the remake has many things to recommend it, no the least of which are the terrific performances. I don't think at all that the new version plays up the supernatural elements to a stronger extent (if only because so little from the original has been changed), and I don't think that it misses the themes of the original in favor of special effects or any such criticism. On the contrary, I think that the film was in some ways, perhaps too slavishly faithful. I think that at least part of the problem with remakes of foreign films is that sometimes American filmmakers who simply reproduce the original either fail to see what made the original special (which I do NOT think was the case with LET ME IN) or that in seeing that, they fail to take it in any new director. The icy blues and the snowy setting where very much a part of the original. Now, I've never been to Sweden, but thanks to people like August Strindberg and Ingmar Bergman, I think that it has a certain perception of being not unlike LET THE RIGHT ONE IN depicts it. Even living in a place in the States know for it's cold winters, I couldn't help but feel like winter depicted in LET ME IN was simply Sweden moved to New Mexico. Not being from New Mexico, maybe it's accurate, but what my ramblings are getting at is that at least in part, FOREIGN films are a product of a certain time and place. If you're going to remake a film, I think that a great director should, at least, take the fundamental material and apply it to a different context. If you take a film that's about the time and the place of its making and attempt to transplant it and lose the context, then ultimately, you lose the overall meaning, rather than taking the meaning and transplanting that. One of the most interesting things LET ME IN flirts with is the ideas about the Reagan-era politics and religious ideas that inform the viewpoint of the Owen character, something that the film leaves frustratingly unexplored. If, for example, the story had been transplanted into, say, hot climate, but still was thematically similar, you'd hit on my central idea, clunky as it may be. I think that ultimately, it should be more about the themes and ideas than the setting, otherwise you're just regurgitating the same thing in English and perpetuating the stereotype that American won't watch a foreign movie not matter how good because we don't like to read. I rather like LET ME IN. I find it a much less distancing film than it's predecessor and I felt slightly more emotionally involving and somewhat warmer, though that is a bit odd for a film about embracing evil, I suppose. But overall, I think that the film is pretty good.

    It's easy to see why Guillermo del Toro threw his weight behind a film about just how horrible it is to be innocent. In the end, like Pan's Labyrinth, it hardly matters if you deal with the supernatural or not; the world is an ugly place, but beauty and good are things worth fighting for. It's to Reeves' credit that in a world of happy endings and love defined by Taylor Swift songs, he's willing to look at something so dark, though I question just how well audiences will take to it, Mortez is a wonderful actress, and Kodi Smit-McPhee is nice lead with plenty of presence and little of the annoyance that accompanies so many child actors, and the two give the film a very solid emotional core. Reeves' clearly has his heart in the right place, but it's easy to see why he's been accused of hitting all the notes but missing the music. But in the end, my own rather confused reaction to the original film carries over anyway. At once a tender love story and a tale of an innocent embracing evil, I was never entirely sure how to take the film or exactly what it's message was. The finale suggests that Owen is on the road to becoming Abby's new familiar, but the simultaneous suggestion of somehow tender love and that living forever doesn't much matter if you don't have something worth living for ultimately feels confusing. The film jettisons the original film ambiguity about Abby's gender (an issue further expounded upon in the novel I have not read, apparently). It's further complicated by the suggestions of the lead's budding sexual curiosity (another idea expounded upon slightly but not fully explored by Reeves) I was never sure how to take the the tender but uncomfortable look at prepubescent sexuality anyways, so it further confused the issue for me anyway. Indeed, the film's double meaning title about being careful just what you let into your heart, its subtle but brilliant stroke. But in the end, perhaps Lindqvist, by removing one of the key components of the vampire mythology, suggests that maybe we don't see our reflection because once we embrace our true nature, it's something too terrible to behold.

  • Comment number 6.

    Let The Right One In was probably my favourite film of last year too (along with Bright Star). I'm pretty much dreading the remake, I can imagine myself sitting there squirming, getting more and more irritated as it goes on... even if it is a passable film.

    One of my favourite remakes of the last 10 years was Solaris, although it had none of the heavy content or depth of the original it worked well for a small simple story, and the 90 minute runtime was perfect for the film to showcase what it had to say.

    As for a remake better than the original, well I haven't seen Die Trapp-Familie, but if it's even on par as The Sound of Music I would be amazed.

    PS Sorcerer may not be as good as The Wages of Fear but it's still a good film!

  • Comment number 7.

    The real risk of going to see a remake of a film you love is that it may somehow besmirch your love for the original. For that reason I'll probably steer clear of this, and also from the Hollywood remake of the 36 (even though Martin Campbell's helming it).

  • Comment number 8.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with remaking films as long as it is done with some sort of class and talent behind it. Twelve Monkeys for instance was a very good reimagining of Le Jetee. We all know the story of The Departed and Insomnia. Without remakes, we wouldn't have those films but they did have the great talents of Scorsese, Nolan and Gilliam behind them.
    Saying this I nearly had a heart attack when i heard that years ago, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were planning on remaking Casablanca. Thankfully this didn't happen but it would have been a tragedy of epic proportions.
    To reiterate my point, as long as talented people want to remake or reimagine a film, I think that is OK. Lets just keep the classics away from Michael Bay's production company and we'll be fine..

  • Comment number 9.

    The only remake of a foreign film that I liked, that I can think of right now, was The Departed, which I felt was significantly better then the original, which I did see first and was completely underwhelmed by it. That said, generally I do dislike remakes, even though I do agree with the point the previous poster has made about audiences refusing to see films with subtitles. Something definitely gets lost in the translation, in some cases things get toned down - The Ring (US) was nowhere near as scary as Ringu, and that goes for Dark Water and many of the other such horror remakes.

    I am however, biased. I liked foreign language films and have no problem with subtitles, so it does make me cringe when I see that Scorses has plans to remake Cache...

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Scorsese's Departed is a very good example of a film which lives up to the foreign original. Mainly because it does try to make a different film rather than copying the Asian 'Infernal Affairs', particularly the fantastic use of location, which although photographed in New York does beautifully capture the Boston streets. I would argue that the Scorsese film in particular areas is better than the original which does get at points incomprehensible to the point of tedium.

  • Comment number 11.

    What about 'Breathless'?

  • Comment number 12.

    I think it's a shame that the majority of mainstream audiences still have a fear of subtitled films, which seems to bring about these fast-tracked remakes of foreign language hits (see also: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

    But there will always be a few people who, upon enjoying a remake, will be keen to see the original (as I myself did with The Departed/Infernal Affairs).

    If Let Me In proves to be a success (which, in this post-Twilight vampire obsessed era, it has a good chance) then the subsequent renewed interest in the original (and the book) can only be a good thing.

  • Comment number 13.

    True Lies. It was much better than the french movie on which it was 'based'.

  • Comment number 14.

    Put me on the Let Me In bandwagon.

    On your closing comment: I have to disagree with the idea that Let Me In is a vampire film that features kids. One of the strengths this film has in favor of the original is that it snips off all of the weaker, rambling subplots and tightens the narrative in almost completely on the children, their lives and their relations to one another. The translation difference, to me, seems much more tonal. Let the Right One In is wider and colder and Let Me In is warmer and more intimate, both cinematically and in their character depictions - consider the differences in the two portrayals of Abby, for example. I don't think either of those approaches are wrong, in fact I thought both films were very respectful of their source material, but they are different and chances are good that a viewer is going to respond to one more strongly than the other. In my case, I found the latter more personally resonant.

    So to answer your question about an American remake of a European movie that did measure up, I suppose I would have to go with Let Me In, wouldn't I?

    The ending of the The Vanishing remake is just awful, by the way.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have only recently seen Let the Right One In and thought it a beautiful, equisite movie. I won't get the chance to see Let Me In until it arrives in Oz (who knows when).

    However, the English language remake I did enjoy was "The Birdcage" as opposed to the French language version, "La Cage aux Folles". Mainly because I liked Nathan Lane and Robin Williams together in their roles respectively than Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi. Lane and Williams had more chemistry to me and I would say the movie was more lighthearted with less angst.

    However, that said, I for one would prefer to see a foreign language film with subtitles, rather than an English language remake anyday. In fact, when watching a DVD of a foreign language movie, I prefer to have the subtitles and original language than a dubbed or remade version.

    The movie that I found unusual and a favourite in my DVD collection, is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The DVD has BOTH the Mandarin language version and one in English. It looks completely bizarre seeing the characters speaking their roles in English, than hearing the wonderful original language.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am trying to keep an open mind about let me in however after seeing a trailer which looks shot for shot like the sweedish film, the fact that i am annoyed at hollywood for remaking every good foreign film, has allways been in the back of my mind. Let The Right One In was one of my favorite films of last year second only to John Hillciat's The Road and it is one of the best books i have read since Cormac Mcarthy's The Road. I suppose since its there i might as well see what's been.

  • Comment number 17.

    I have always respected your reviews about films ever since I saw your documentary on censorship on bbc2 I think it was some time ago when the bbc did a banned season. I have now become very familiar with most of your reviews having seen you on youtube on your radio show with Mayo and I am not surprised your rants are so famous, they're more entertaining than the films you review most likely. But I have to say that lately you have been getting rather personal, at least for me.

    You did a blog before about films that should be burned, and someone included Twilight. One of your favourites, which I understand must have hit a nerve or two. But I have noticed lately that you seem to like having a go at nearly every film I happen to be a big fan of.

    One recently was Devil. M Night Shyamalan's clever supernatural thriller set in a lift. You had just seen a horrible tale about a man in a coffin, Buried. You also said you watched through your fingers, which is fair enough, but I honestly think you don't give films like Devil a chance, unless they shake you to your essense, like your famous favourite, The Excorcist. Well, you even went so far it seems to imply that it was boring, nothing special. Well, I saw it and I am a huge M Night fan obviously, and I think it's one of the best films he has made so far. He hasn't ever let me down and this was no different. And you did say something about Unbreakable needed constructive critisism to survive, but still did badly, yet I believe that was slammed by many critics too. I don't know if you were one of them of course.

    I saw your blog about Paranormal Activity, which I thought damn clever and loved it all the way, but you couldn't get scared by it, it didn't affect you. I am wondering if you sometimes expect too much from these horror films, and therefore are disappointed when they don't affect you the way you want. I persoanlly am not touching Buried, but I am so glad I saw Devil. You recommended the wrong one there, but I would like to recommend giving these other films a chance which you said yourself you struggle with.

    By the way, I like Sandra Bullock some of the time, but lay off Premonition! I have a copy and I thought was very clever, she couldn't save him in the end. What the hell was wrong with that? That got really personal. I like you, please don't spoil it!!

    Why do the ycall you Dr by the way?

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm kinda squiffy about the remake but not so adverse to it as I was to Quarantine; when people tell me they enjoyed Quarantine I have to leave the room before I resort to violence. The main reason for my ire is that the original [Rec] had a well made English dub made for it to appeal to those who detest subtitles, but a US version was made anyway and the US release of [Rec] was held back till after Quarantine had been in cinemas... that's decidedly underhanded even for Hollywood (Well... maybe not Jack Warner...)

  • Comment number 19.

    In a way I think that remakes need to be distanced from the original both in time of release and in tone. Otherwise it's just an insult to the original filmakers. Your film isn't good enough for us we can't be bothered to read subtitles therefore we are going to remake it shot for shot but in English with English speaking stars and release it straight after yours has been released!

    In some ways, some of the best remakes have taken an existing plot and turned it into something new. I'm thinking of The Magnificent Seven. Sturges remake is an homage to the Kurosawa's Seven Samurai without being a clone of it, allowing Samurai to remain a critically acclaimed film in it's own right. This to me seems a far more respectful way to remake a great foreign language movie, than to make a straight forward copy that doesn't quite hit the mark and release it on the coat tails of the original.

  • Comment number 20.

    Remakes pretty much show hollywood for what it is. A money making machine that happens to make films. Considering the sheer quantity of other non-hollywood movies being made it clearly demonstrates the lack of imagination. It may also be worth noting that on regular occasions it brings out multiple versions of the same type of movie so as to "hedge its bets". Hollywood has turned itself into a fast-food market and its primary focus is... chicken...

  • Comment number 21.

    i always think that with foreign language films there is always much more scope to romanticize any film,remake or otherwise. the shear fact that what you are seeing is not in your mother tongue give the watcher more room to bring to the film whatever their opinion may be (good or bad) to fill in the gaps left by translation.

  • Comment number 22.

    @17

    no1moviefan asks: "Why do the ycall you Dr by the way?"

    Because he has the academic qualification of a Ph.D, a Doctor of Philosophy, and has therefore earned the entitlement of "Dr" (whereas the title Doctor for medicos is a social convention of respect, since most medicos haven't earned that actual academic qualification).

  • Comment number 23.

    Remaking of any foreign language film is so often the biggest example of dumbing down you see. I'd be hard pressed to see any improvement of an original film by having it "translated" for a US audience. It always follows that something is lost in translation and I'm frankly not looking forward to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have more of a problem with Directors who basically re-make old same language films or even "re-image" them.

    I do quite like seeing the original films in the language they are intended, you do get a better feel of the emotional context.

    Film goers are getting a lazy bunch. If a good excellent film is foreign and it has subtitles, dubbing I feel destroys a film, so be it. Reading subtitles and watching the film you do not loose anything in watching the film.

    Okay so the re-make gets a wider audience, but I have found that most of the time the re-make does not have the same sort of buzz as the original.

    Very few films remade I consider watching. The Departed I saw a few years after Internal Affairs. Reservior Dogs is basically an reimaging of City on Fire. Both films are good but I found the original more engaging.


    How do you think other countries see English Language films? I bet they are seen with subtitles.

    I think the bottom line is that Hollywood is becoming lazy in making films. The seem stareved of original ideas. They remake foreign films, re-image old films and churn out mindless sequals that make your brain melt.

  • Comment number 25.

    I very much like the "proto-Blue Velvet" remake of Gaslight with Ingmar Bergman, but then I have so far been deprived of the opportunity to see the original version, most prints of which were destroyed as criminally stipulated by MGM's clause in the contract with British National. Director of the original Thorold Dickinson wasn't even allowed to show his film to his friends in private. This shameful act of corporate censorship severely stunted the career of a fine director. Those in the know say his (non-Hays Code) version of Gaslight is even better.

  • Comment number 26.

    oops, I meant *Ingrid* Bergman of course!

  • Comment number 27.

    Forget the reason remakes are made, all that really matters is are they any good? With few exeptions they all suck the big one, and Let Me In is no exception. I don't know why a fan of the original would even bother with this unless they enjoy dissapointment. Life's too short, just watch something else.

  • Comment number 28.

    Just to fuel the fire take a look at these remakes and tell me hollywood doesn't need a new think tank... http://www.nextmovie.com/blog/upcoming-movie-remakes/

  • Comment number 29.

    ^^^
    a quick fire of silly decision would be:
    The Thing, Child's Play, Battle Royale (wtf!!!), The Crow, Deathnote, The Blob (really?...), even My Fair Lady supposedly

  • Comment number 30.

    'wings of desire' US remake: execrable & pointless. (i use this as my example because although the original has subtitles, there is peter falk speaking american english)
    i am happy with subtitles; my dyslexic partner is not - so i tend not to be universally sniffy about cinema-goers who will avoid subtitles at all costs.
    most remakes seem pointless: why? & sometimes stupidly cast: stallone in the remake of 'get carter': again, why? what irks me most though, is the paucity of fresh ideas - the modesty blanket covering the US film industry's seeming culture of safety/risk aversion.

  • Comment number 31.

    For my shame, I must admit that I enjoyed the modern US remake of "School for Scoundrels". That is all...

  • Comment number 32.

    I say remake what you want. I choose if I want to see it, I just have to be more vigilant when buying a movie to make sure I get the version I want.

    Foreign language films - Yes I like some, possibly a lot, but not BECAUSE they are a foreign language film, that just doesn't make sense to me.

    I watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo recently, and because it was late and I was quite tired, I watched it dubbed. I found it to be one of the most boring films I have seen of late, with basic dialogue, cardboard characters and essentially a pretty standard plot (Bergeracesque). I wonder if it got all of the praise because foreign language movies seem slightly more intelligent or mysterious?

    I understand there is to be a remake of Harry he's here to help, one of my favourite french movies (forgotten the original title). I'm quite looking forward to it - I get to say whether or not it matched the standard of the original, whether it emotes the same feelings that I expect; if I don't like it, I will dismiss it, simple as that.

  • Comment number 33.

    There's only one foreign film that I've seen both it and it's American remake and that's Taxi. The french version is fun and geeky whereas the American version is like the USA - brash and trashy!
    I'd say that's the main problem with American remakes of foreign films - the Americans, with their bigger budgets, just chuck money at the project and wouldn't know subtlety if it came and hit them with a big stick (which wouldn't be very subtle but anyway...). Whereas foreign films are often intelligent and subtly affecting.

  • Comment number 34.

    Gus Van Sant's shot for shot remake of Psycho has to be a contender for most unnecessary film ever made.

  • Comment number 35.

    Ooh, ooh ,ooh ooh! I've got one that's actually good - Insomnia. Well worth the remake.

  • Comment number 36.

    @RichIndeed Indeed!

    I reiterate, if these movies must be made for the few people that can't be bothered or don't wish to read subtitles, then there should (at the very least) be a decent amount of time between releases. The original needs to be given a chance to shine in their own right, make money, and gain momentum and any acclaim they deserve before the remake takes over.

  • Comment number 37.

    Only decent remake in my eyes was "The Thing" and now that's about to go through the prequel mincer too.

    One question, is John Carpenters back catalogue the most remade of any directors?

  • Comment number 38.

    There are only 5 good remakes that I've seen.

    The Thing
    The Fly
    A Fistful of Dollars (of Yojimbo)
    Django (a remake of A Fistful of Dollars!)
    Evil Dead 2


    Am looking forward to seeing Let Me In, as I only watched Let The Right One In a week ago, and thought it was terrific. I'm hoping it will make 6 on my list.

  • Comment number 39.

    Let The Right One In is one of the best films of the last few years.

    This remake is just dumbing down a piece of art to make as much money as possible.

    What next Let Me In Part 2 3D?

  • Comment number 40.

    I wonder how Dr K would feel about a remake of The Exorcist?

  • Comment number 41.

    Remakes are on the whole, rubbish. Few execptions which stand up are

    The Magnificent Seven (Seven Samurai)

    Invastion Of The Body Snatcher(1978)

    I think hollywood could harvest ideas from films which had a good idea but were badley handled when they were first made. If they are going to go grave digging.....breave new life into something , instead of making the original turn in its grave.

  • Comment number 42.

    Cheers @Brian Hutton. I just went to all the trouble of resetting my (long lost) password so that I could comment, only to find you got there first!

    I was, of course, going to mention The Magnificent Seven too. I just saw it recently for the first time in HD and the colours and detail are magnificent. Ant the score in unforgettable. Imagine how it would have looked in the cinema, rather than as most people my age remember it - an hour after Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and wedged between the Queens speech and James Bond.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hollywood's plethora of foreign language remakes only shows up it's total lack of ideas and, more worryingly, an unwillingness to take risks with innovative ideas. I don't remember hearing about a French/German/Spanish/Whatever remake of an American film.

    As much as Inception was a crushing disappointment to me, I'm hoping that it steers Hollywood away from it's comfort zone of remakes and franchise movies.

    But I'm not holding my breath.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think I've said all I want to about the Let the Right One In remake. Even if it turns out to be decent, the whole situation makes me sick. It's sort of like the cinematic equivalent of when Paul McCartney ran off with Heather Mills, even although Linda's still fresh in the memory. The looks are... sort of there, but you know it's way too soon for it ever to be considered respectful.

    As for The Departed, I'll never understand the appeal of such an average film. And it's doubly relevant because it was the year in which it stole the Best Picture Oscar, when the infinitely superior Pan's Labyrinth was confined to the Foreign Language category and didn't even win that. In fact there was a ton of stronger films that year including The Last King of Scotland, Children of Men, Jesus Camp and my own pick for best film United 93. The Departed wouldn't have even made my shortlist and yet, as Kermode pointed out, it was one of those "Oh shucks, we may as well" moments for the Academy, that later went to Kate Winslet. I've long proposed there should be a Oscar Snub category introduced so they can go back and recognise shafted films. (Don't tell The Good Doctor though - it may lead to the obsolescence of his Kermode Awards.)

  • Comment number 45.

    The only films that should be remade are those that are bad. I have never seen the point in remaking a good movie. If it's good, why mess with it.

  • Comment number 46.

    One more nod from me for The Magnificent Seven and a nod for Cousins, the remake of the French film, Cousine, Cousine.

    I may embarrass myself with this one, but I also liked Three Men & A Baby.

  • Comment number 47.

    Should we be making a distinction between a remake and two films that happen to be based on the same source? I'm not sure The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is technically a remake.

    Tarkovsky's Solaris and Soderberg's Solaris are technically two films based on the same story, rather than one being a remake. However, I personally have little patience for Tarkovsky's 'look how slow and arty I can make everything' style (over substance), and found Soderberg's version far more engaging.

    The Departed and Infernal Affairs I would argue are both great films that belong to different genres. This is when I think it is worth making a remake, as Scorsese took the story from the film and told it in an entirely different way.

    In theory I like the idea that they're remaking Hellraiser, since the original had so many great ideas but was a deeply flawed film. However, I am fairly sure they will turn it into yet another asinine 'browny-green' horror remake as with Nightmare on Elm Street etc.

  • Comment number 48.

    Remakes suck,thats just the way it is,to westernise or hollywoodise foreign films that have there own tone and mood ,turns great films into at best ok at worst,disasters . The greatest example of which is easily Get Carter

  • Comment number 49.

    What is this strange language called 'American'? I'll have to look it up :)

  • Comment number 50.

    ps why not remake jean de florette and set in texas,i rest my case

  • Comment number 51.

    I hated 'Let the Right One In'. I turned it off half way through, I just couldn't put up with it any longer. It was just so boring. Perhaps the remake will have some kind of dialogue.

    Generally I tend to agree that any remake has to be re-worked to suit it's target audience which will change with culture etc. (Perhaps one of the reasons I found LtROI so dull, yet suicidal Scandinavians and a bunch of wanna be artsy types love it so much.) However taking something genuinely scary in the original, Japanese and Korean horror for example, can lose the creepiness that made your skin crawl.

    I think remakes, whether remade of foriegn language films, or, of old films tend to fall in the 50/50 bracket. 50% are pure drivvle and 50% are excellent and reinvigorate something which was lacklustre to begin with.

    I'll reserve the right to comment on this new remake at a later date. Chances are if it's very close to original I'll hate it too though.

  • Comment number 52.

    I know it is nowhere near as good as (and it isnt european) the original but the magnificent seven is very entertaining.

  • Comment number 53.

    Although I shudder when I hear the term "re-imagining", admittedly the few successful remakes do that: take the original as a jumping off point rather than an exercise in carbon copying. Sturges' Magnificent Seven and McBride's Breathless cited above preserve elements of the originals but bring tropes of their own. This of course applies whether the remake is a translation of a foreign work or not.

    Not to rehash whole remake argument, but I'd like to make a generalization, without tediously presenting the proof: remakes that are done as an artistic choice tend to be more interesting and occasionally successful, than remakes that are done as a financial choice, a way of safely recycling proven material.

    Just to add to the list of films under discussion: not technically remake, just based on the same source book, you have the excellent Plein Soleil and The Talented Mr Ripley.

    Am I the only one who was disappointed that New Moon was neither a sequel nor a remake of last year's Moon? Just me then....

  • Comment number 54.

    @ Brian - New Forest

    "Am I the only one who was disappointed that New Moon was neither a sequel nor a remake of last year's Moon? Just me then...."

    What you mean : 'This time there's only ONE of them.'? That'd be riveting.

  • Comment number 55.

    Off topic, but just watch Film 2010. A thumbs down from me. Won't be watching that rubbish again. Such a pity Dr K isn't doing it.

  • Comment number 56.

    I think the recent Dinner for Schmucks the remake of "Le dîner de cons" (The Dinner Game) is another example of how much american remakes always fail to reach the same level of the original. No creativity, no purpose, just made because reading subtitles is apparently "hard" work for some people. Life on Mars was remade not because it was in another language but because it's set in England. Can't have that ! It's too foreign for America. Set it in New York so that everybody can identify with it. Same goes for the remake of the Italian job. It was mostly set in Los Angeles and still called the Italian Job.

  • Comment number 57.

    @ 1967Ross

    It's not... terrible. I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong with the liveness or the interactive stuff, since that's what we're doing right now. And I like her as a personality. ("Let's do that every week.") Plus the principle film critic is, well... okay. (There's only one The Good Doctor.)

    BUT :

    A : Don't make your host someone who has nothing to do with film journalism.
    B : Don't have one of your correspondents be 12.
    C : Don't interview drunk people.
    D : No Chris Hewitt. Just no.

  • Comment number 58.

    The reason the American 'Let me in' focusses more on the vampires than the kids than the original is purely a financial decision. In hollywood right now Vampires sell seats...whoever decided that a US remake was needed obviously missed the point the film was about the kids first and thought 'Oh look a popular film with vampires in'

    A better question that 'Are there any good remakes?' would be 'why is hollywood constantly remaking films and not coming up with new ideas?'

    Film companies not wanting to risk money on an untested idea? maybe.

    This is why The Thing is being made remade for a third time

  • Comment number 59.

    Having loved the original, my seeing Let Me In would be I suspect a complete waste of time. Seriously, what is the point? At best, it's only going to remind me how wonderful the original is.

    Somebody mentioned the remake of (Rec), which I didn't see either for the same reason, I wonder if there are plans on re-tooling it's recently released sequel and Dr K - what did you think of (REC)2? For me it was the most outstanding horror sequels in recent memory.

  • Comment number 60.

    Hollywood sucks. Seems that they just make a killing from other peoples ideas and cater to the morons who refuse watch a subtitled movie.

  • Comment number 61.

    @caitlindevi
    If ever there was a film that did not need to be remade 'again', is The Thing.
    The orginal black and white was pretty good, the 80s remake was fantastic, so why on earth make it again, it's insane?!

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm surprised how many people rate The Departed as highly as Infernal Affairs. The original is far superior, you have a real sense of how long these guys have been undercover and what they've had to go through to get to where they are. I thought Damon did this pretty well but I just couldn't buy into the DiCaprio portrayal. Also thought the usually brilliant Nicholson was just pure pantomime.

    Anyway, loved Let the Right One In and I do feel a little nervous about the remake, but a promising cast normally means at least a watchable remake, even if it is never going to live up to the original.

    I will watch it but I'll try and distance it a little from the original.

  • Comment number 63.

    i'll try to go slightly further, though it's really not about the mini piece in the video here, but about my own recent thoughts.

    as it happens, and has also been mentioned here, and even though different countries give different levels of importance and even utilise the role of a director in a fundamentally different manner, some director's have, of course, been taken from within one defined industry / culture and placed within another. that is, a westerners interpretation of the importance of a director is that he / she is above and beyond most other aspects to be considered when reducing what it took to get a film to be as it is. subsequently, studios have an easy selling point by their own portrayal and by the resulting easy-access interpretation of western fans of films from across europe and beyond. so, directors are a key talent that's often plucked and plonked into different environments.

    unfortunately, although this should be an easy thing to spot the simplicity of, and indeed many people still do spot it, it very often results in a lack of vision when it comes to realising it's the cultural and industrial dynamics as a whole that affect what product is produced. take the director from familiar territory that might be paying less but offering more in other regards and they'll doubtless find the increased money of america makes things much more comfortable in a great many ways. it can cause those from more intense / demanding / restricted industries to simply not manage to embody what they may very effectively produce with the same characteristics. hence haneke is still a very talented director, but haneke in france or germany is a different hanake from the one in america, despite the smart intentional shift likely in the message of a film like 'funny games'.

  • Comment number 64.

    @Delaney79 - completely agree about The Departed. I thought it missed an important point of the original which was that the undercover cop & the mole have been playing their roles so long they have started to lose themselves in it.

  • Comment number 65.

    On The Departed, I don't think it missed the point of the original, so much as it has a different emphasis - it's essentially a totally different film. Infernal Affairs was about the blurring of identity of these two "undercover" people; The Departed opted for a more conventional gangster film approach. I just think The Departed was a better film, with better performances, direction, cinematography etc. Infernal Affairs bored me rigid. I guess in some ways what Scorsese did was similar to what Michael Mann did to his own LA Takedown when he remade that as Heat, which is vastly superior.

  • Comment number 66.

    I guess there is one positive thing about a poor or for that matter good hollywood remake, it may inspire the viewer to look up the original which they ordinarily would have been completely unaware of. I'm certainly going put the original Norwegian Insomnia in my rental list with Love Film.

  • Comment number 67.

    I, for one, am looking forward to the English language remake of logboy's comment (#63).

  • Comment number 68.

    Sorry but i have come to this rather late and haven't had the chance to read through all of the posts however....

    By chance because nothing else was on i went to see the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in all its Swedish subtitle glory. I loved it and was not deterred by the subtitles as i have also been following the Swedish version of Wallander on BBC4 for a couple of years.

    Subsequently I have seen the Girl who Played with Fire at the Arthouse in Cambridge where two guys walked out after 15 minutes because no one told them it was subtitled and await the final part which is due out next month. however I have been informed that these films either are or will be remade by hollywood and that Emma Watson is playing the lead role.

    Beacuse the books are so popular it was always going to happen but I feel they tend to lose some of their rawness as the hollywood directors need to try and go for the mass audience and subsequently will go for either a 12a or 15 certificate and therefore will need to dampen down the story to fit the bill.

    For no other reason that i have now seen the original films i won't be watching the remakes......and i'm not convinced by emma watson as the lead.

  • Comment number 69.

    I watched Tron the other night all thew way through. I tried watching this when I young and it had not long come out and it bored me so I went to play or something. Anyway without the nostalgia of the film, not having the associated memories, I just saw the film as an out-dated, less than great movie with awful acting and story.

    So it's been remade. Can it tick the boxes for a generation who think the '80s flick stinks?

    Remaking The Thing, hmm Carpenter's film was awesome in every respect and will be hard to top, but look at the Zombie remake of Halloween, it's much better for a newer generation in my opinion, however much I liked the original.

    Some other great remakes that I can remember of recent times were The Hills Have Eyes, 3:10 to Yuma, Death Race, Quarantine, The Grudge, The Ring and Dracula. Stinkers include A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th.

    Q. Are they remakes when the original and it's counter-part are fundamentally different films which are loosely based on the same story?

  • Comment number 70.

    Well i will give it ago because you have to you never know it could be better , a slim chance but you have to give it ago .Just remember The Thing was a remake and that is one of the best film's ever made

    Oh caitlindevi The Thing is not being remade it is a prequel to The Thing again i have no hope for this after seeing the first trailer this week but will give it ago because you should never judge a film until you have seen it

    Anyway the Departed is not a patch on Infernal Affairs ,how it won best film god know's it doesn't come close to Taxi Driver or Goodfellas and how people can say it is the same league is beyond me

    Off topic did you get the Exorcist on Bluray this week and what did you think of the new transfer

    Z

  • Comment number 71.

    @theskintfoodie :D

  • Comment number 72.

    @ #47 - Tarkovsky's "Solyaris" was superior to the remake - the only decent thing about the remake above the original was the soundtrack by Cliff Martinez. The Tarkovsky version was just a bit too talky in places. However, 5 minutes in I could see it was the superior film - perhaps I just liked the pace. Stalker is a better film overall and one of my favourites of his.

    Re: The Thing - it's not a foreign film.... but anyway, since the prequel is based in the Norwegian camp, surely they should be, uhhhh, talking Norwegian?? Anyway, it will be trash - The Thing was successful as it had some great people all working on it at the right time at the right place: decent screenplay by Bill Lancaster, Rob Bottin who made himself ill he worked so long and hard on the monsters, score by Ennio Morricone, a dog they were lucky to get who did all the creepy staring ... the list goes on. It was a one off.

    You could say the same about many classic movies - the right people at the right time to make it great.

    The 1978 Donald Sutherland "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers" was not better than the 1956 version. It was okay, but not superior.

    The Manchurian Candidate was spoiled for me by watching the remake first.

    As a rule of thumb I treat remakes of foreign films the same as a normal remake - avoid.

    I would love to "do a Clockwork Orange" on people who refuse to watch a subtitled film.

  • Comment number 73.

    Sorcerer is vastly underrated film, Wages of Fear is clearly better but Sorcerer is damn fine

  • Comment number 74.

    On the Infernal Affairs vs The Departed.
    I think IF superior to Depatarted.
    IF was particularly good at showing how both 'moles' became attached to parts of their undercover lives; particularly in how the (IF) gangster 'mole' turns and wants to become a respectable police officer; despite what he has to do to get there.

    The bad guy wins in this movie by becoming good, but at the expense of the 'good' guy; the good guy loses by letting his identity be swamped by his undercover persona; once his boss is killed no-one knows, or cares, he's a supposed to be a good guy.
    We're judged by our public persona's. Not always true; but that's how it goes is one of the messages.

    At the end of TD the bad guy going good gets killed (as a retribution for his sins); there is no such final judgement in IF.
    Fair? No. Growth and change? Yes. And that is not much explored in cinema.

    This discussion takes me back to a earlier discussion this year about the differences between Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant and Herzog's Bad Lieutenant POC.

    Both Ferrara and Scorsese are Catholic; and that colours their work.
    Herzog and Lau are not; they have a different outlook on whether or not people receive their just deserts, and whether or not peoples' fate is fair and just.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Otherwise; I've been lucky (or it has something to do with my preferences) to have seen most of the original movies well before they became Hollywood remakes.

    The ones that just try to recreate the essence of the original (even if shot-for shot) can be watch able. e.g. Ring, Grudge, Assassin (La Femme Nikita).

    Huggster; really agree with you about Carpenter's The Thing; it really was a movie of its time; not least for the special effects (no CGI); nowadays we take amazing special effects in our stride; before CGI. Bottin's effects and make-up were ground breaking.

    As for prequels! We already know how the damn thing will end; the curse of George Lucas strikes.

    Otherwise, as noted above, there is strong resistance to subtitles (and movies in black n white etc).
    I can understand Hollywood tailoring English language versions for its core audiences. (Art for the proles?)

    Occasionally directors can take an existing good story and make it their own, by giving their own very distinctive take on it (e.g Fistful of Dollars, The Thing etc; as wordswamp #38 also above noted.)

    Usually I've preferred the original movies; for all the reasons that interested Hollywood in remaking them (often shot for shot, but with a bigger budget) in English in the first place.
    But it's not a hard and fast rule; I live in hope that I'll be surprised and impressed.

    Having written the above; can you imagine an English language Pan's Labyrinth remake that was better than Del Toro's? Unless you haven't seen the original.
    Our impression of remakes may be a generational thing.

    As for straightforward remakes. Remakes of a movies that are already much loved by an audience are a different kettle of fish. (Casablanca, Exorcist, Godfather, Wild Bunch, Zulu, Great Escape, Apocalypse Now anyone?).
    Then again The Italian Job got remade (and was pants), yet made money. Go figure.

    Other remakes are exactly remakes of movies but different takes on ideas; all the different Dracula's and Frankenstein's are a go0d example (though not much good got done with them after 1960).

    Zombie movies are the same. Romero's Night of the Living Dead was really fantastic; back when first released.
    A zillion zombie movies later, who is genuinely scared by the idea nowadays?

  • Comment number 75.

    Personally I think the mistake Hollywood often makes is that it actually tries to remake the film directly, rather than examining the story itself and using that as a basis to create a new film in a different context.

    Films like Fistfull of Dollars or The Magnificent Seven work precisely because they didn't just remake the originals in English with the same characters using guns rather than swords.

  • Comment number 76.

    Remakes can be justified if they are done correctly. Filming Quarantine in several months to beat REC to the ciniemas is not one of them. Neither is remaking The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo just because 'we liked the original'. The worst excuse was Psycho, remade 'so that no one else would have to...'

  • Comment number 77.

    In principle, I'm not against remakes: as a previous poster said, films are not sacred texts. That said, there are some films that have become such classics that any remake is doomed to failure as it couldn't possibly live up to the emotional effect such classics have upon us (a remake of "Casablanca"? Not a chance.)

    And, as others have pointed out, some remakes are as good as, if not better in some cases, than the originals: I'm thinking of "A fistful of Dollars" etc. These films take an original idea and run in a different direction with it, which is fine.

    I even quite liked Peter Jackson's remake of "King Kong", even if a few scenes were overlong (the T. Rex fight, the Brontosaurus stampede, which was just silly, etc).

    The best remakes are those that don't pretend to be the original: there was no point whatsoever in calling the remake of "The Italian Job" by the same title, for example. As a heist movie, it wasn't that bad, but the 'remake' tag was just a millstone around its neck. And the less said about "The Wicker Man", the better (why do the worst remakes seem to have Nic Cage in them?).

    But overall, I can count the remakes done by Hollywood that turned out as good as the originals on at least one, and possibly two hands if I tuck my thumbs in. All the rest are usually utter rubbish that don't deserve to be seen, let alone make money. One suspects they are merely some sort of tax write-off, or contractual fulfilment get-out, rather like Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music".

  • Comment number 78.

    "Let Me In, or Let the Right One In?"
    Read the Book.

  • Comment number 79.

    on the last comment ,the book is superior to both but then books almost always are!!!!!that opens a whole new pandoras box!!

  • Comment number 80.

    I'd have to agree with people who said that remakes aren't inherently bad, viz. "Funny Games [USA]", "Last House on the Left", "The Ladykillers", etc. I remember thinking of "Let the Right One In" that it was gripping, and Dr. K is undoubtedly right that it's ultimately a movie about pre-pubescant love in what happens to be a vampire film (and, of course, one that is just as incidentally Soviet).

    On remakes, I'm ambivalent. On the one hand, they can be a good way of correcting for failures and updating flawed or dated scripts - to my mind, "My Bloody Valentine" made a lot more sense the second time around, and despite being absolute trash it was a lot more enjoyable. On the other hand, remakes for the sake of setting the film in the US in order to encourage "believability" or empathy in the US and Americanocentric market strikes me as artistically rude. A good example is "Abrir los Ojos"/"Vanilla Sky". Put aside any feelings about Tom Cruise the person; the former was a better artistic vision, if only because it came first. "Sky" didn't add anything, and as a result it felt less meaningful. It's like taking "The War of the Worlds" and setting it in Manhattan. I mean, as if...

  • Comment number 81.

    At risk of being a total philistine, for me the US remake of the ring was far more moody and atmospheric than the Japanese original. I think it had something to do with the subtitles... not because I hate subtitles, but that some pillock in editing decided to lay pure white subtitles over a movie with pure white backgrounds and costumes, making every second line of dialogue indecipherable.
    I was only able to guess what was going on from the US version which I did enjoy.
    I can't say if I would have enjoyed the original more if it had been subtitled better.

  • Comment number 82.

    I am British and have lived in French-speaking countries for most of my life. I am not a fan of French cinema although occasionally some films do stand out (any film by Laurent Cantet for example) and I do strive to appreciate french humour that is so different from the British.

    However Diner des Cons is a jewel as long as you watch it as a French humourous film (adapted from the stage version). The main joy of the film is the use of language and play on words used which is so French but marvellous in its execution. I have absolutely no intention of seeing Dinner for Shmucks and had decided that even before hearing Mark's wonderful rant. It has obviously just taken the bare bones of the plot and made a completely nasty travesty of a remake....

    I once found a DVD of the film with a dubbed English version - it was hideous - obviously no effort made to translate properly and with D-rate American voice-over "artists" which made me flee. Made me realise that there is something that the French do extremely well and that is the dubbing of English/American films - still not perfect of course but translations are usually good and most of the voice-over artists very professional.

  • Comment number 83.

    When it comes down to it the only reason people do this is because an English speaking movie will go further economically and that is why one would do it.


    No matter how great a movie is... if you have people speaking in "a funny language" or a film that is in "oh no not subtitles!" then it will limit the size of the audience and in turn the money being made.


    On a positive note it can have a good effect:


    Yojimbo = A Fistfull of Dollars = Leone being able to make The Good The Bad and The Ugly

  • Comment number 84.

    To be honest, I think that "Sorcerer" is much under-rated - it can stand on its own and does not need to be compared to "Wages of Fear" (which is also excellent). As for bad re-makes, the worst is probably yet to come in the form of the American "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo": David Fincher is undoubtedly an excellent director and - on the strength of "The Social Network" - Rooney Mara is a fine actress, but do we really need this? Noomi Rapace is the definitive Lisbeth Salander. Full stop. End of story.

  • Comment number 85.

    We don't need any remakes, either of foreign films or of old films but while they recoup money at the box office then they'll be made.

    Unfortunately, as in all film making, it's about making money.

    As an Englishman living in Spain I have watched a lot of Spanish films (and dubbed originals in the past few years) and I would always prefer to watch films in the original version with subtitles. Unfortunately I am among the few that prefer this way. Most people, in my experience, seem to prefer there own language or dubbing.

    In which case what better way for a film company to make money than get the rights to a foreign language hit and then remake it for their own market. It would seem so simple but unfortunately what they often do is alter the story or style for their market, therefore losing what was good and ruining the film.

    I would like to see a remake of the Spanish film 'Celda 211' a great film but Hollywood would definitely change the ending.

    They could try putting the money they spend on these remakes on better marketing and distributing the foreign films they already have and see if they can make money that way.

    Additionally, remakes will be made again and again, as if you are going to invest money in something as notoriously difficult to get right as a film then you want to opt for something as safe as a story that has worked before, Theatre remakes old productions and scripts (Shakespeare and so on and on and on) and no one complains about why we have a 'remake' of Hamlet.

    Somehow cinema is seen as doing something wrong in remaking, reimagining or whatever you want to call it. How many versions of Robin Hood have we had? And at least a couple of them you'll have enjoyed. The story of Jesus Christ, loads of versions. Dracula, hundreds, King Kong, a few (personally I really enjoyed the P. Jackson version and I've never seen the original). There are some stories that resonate with us and deserve to be told again.

    No one would care if the newer versions were any good, problem is they often aren't and in comparison they lose even more.

    Thank you for your time, I was very bored this lunchtime.

    PS. Yojimbo to Fistfull of Dollars to Last Man Standing, it doesn't always work out.

  • Comment number 86.

    I once heard Mark say that he can never understand why directors try to remake films they liked; it would make more sense if they tried to remake a film they thought didn't work. That's exactly how I feel. It's a bit like me wondering into the Louvre, daubing some paint over the Mona Lisa, calling it an improvement, and then having the audacity to charge people to see it.

    If you want meaningful, thought-provoking films (films that provoke thoughts other than 'I want to kill the director for ruining my memory of this film') Hollywood isn't the place. Remember, these are the idiots who gave the world 'Made of Honor' and 'Little Man'....

  • Comment number 87.

    Comments 81, 85 and 86 basically sum up the dilemna well. Usually the way that a remake comes about is not down to a particular director or writer's passion for the original, it's a matter of the studio finding someone reliable that they can trust to make a good reproduction. I find it ironic that Hollywood is engaged in a war against net piracy, when they are in effect in the business of copying other peoples' work to make money, in a depressingly similar vain.

    A good example to illustrate the problem is The Departed - because that's at the better end of the range. I would estimate that most people who praised it so highly had not seen Infernal Affairs before watching the remake - I had (several times), and although there are few things that I could really point out that were particularly problematic in the remake, it was a giant let down in terms if the overall atmosphere/tension created by the first film - and I'm a massive Nicholson fan. The Departed seemed to have a lot more in common with Donnie Brasco, The Sopranos and other mafia films than the Hong Kong Triad gangs and claustrophobia and vibrancy of the overpopulated Mong Kok district - the desire of the gangsters not to be swamped by their surroundings next to the cops resignation. It seemed almost futuristic, like 'Strange Days'. Without that dense, urban dystopia contrasted against private little moments in an apartment block or garden, the whole scenario felt like a random backdrop to allow the enigmatic 'big names' to do their work and smolder with charisma etc. - a fundamental difference between the egotistical and repetitive Hollywood approach and far-eastern cinema. It's almost as if, it's not the spoken language that needs to be translated (look at the success of foreign lang. martial arts films in USA), but rather the cinematic language - to make it that bit more cliched, that bit less specific, that bit less taxing on the audience, that bit safer. If they took a fraction of the money spent on Let Me In and spent it on a proper cinematic release of Let The Right One In, they would get most of their money and with far less investment - but then they would have to admit that cinema is becoming decentralised. The rise of the remake is in direct corrolation to the lack of ideas or vision amongst hollywood/studio funders, regardless of the occasional decent remake.

  • Comment number 88.

    ..with it being set in New Mexico, maybe if Let Me In is a success, they will build fake Swedish council flat blocks in Las Vegas as a homage - go and get your picture taken with the guy bleeding victims in the woods outside. Then they could remake Pan's Labyrinth in Vietnam and have Sean Penn torturing a little girl in an underground blast bunker.

  • Comment number 89.

    #86: "I once heard Mark say that he can never understand why directors try to remake films they liked; it would make more sense if they tried to remake a film they thought didn't work. That's exactly how I feel."

    #88: "Departed... it was a giant let down in terms if the overall atmosphere/tension created by the first film"

    #15 : "It looks completely bizarre seeing the characters speaking their roles in English, than hearing the wonderful original language."

    ^These quotes are gems from these posters.

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant topic to discuss and very well discussed in the vid Dr Kermode. I was going to comment further but most ppl seem to have some interesting things to say which covers this.

    (1) I wish remakes would HONOUR the originals (esp. from different languages). In science references perform this function of acknowledgment and "traveling stories" should do the same, I feel.

    (2) The problem with remakes (I like the description Attrib. Dr Kermode: "Change in tone") is the original intention to remake them. If good before then to beat that the work is already done so why do it? It seems mostly the director only wants more "grist for his mill" and does not do the original justice from this money-making exercise. A bit like puppets going through motions. Oddly a lot of the scenes in the fellowship felt the same as the Ralph Bakshi version... .

    (3) A minority of films are well-done remade, but the languages of the original are usually such an outstanding feature. I liked Breathless (Richard Gere) more than the original but that is partly to do with timing of seeing these and the leading lady and Richard Gere!

    (4) With so many stories being told and Hollywood being a money-making exercise, remakes are just waiting to be served-up. I found the debacle with the recent Hobbit very suggestive of this money-making mentality. I really wonder if that film will have any spirit in it when it is made... ?

  • Comment number 90.

    Even from the extended clips you can tell this is a hack carbon copy akin to Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. Although not this doesn’t necessarily makes bad film technically, it shows a depressing lack of vision which American horror was renowned for in its 70s heyday.

    Remakes of classic films may not always be of much interest to fans of the original but (as with Scorcese’s Infernal Affairs remake Departed) you can acknowledge they have made a good stab by bringing in some originality and flair.

    BBC TV’s gripping six part thriller State of Play got made as a worthy cinema version to a bigger audience, but it is not as if the widely distributed LTROI was buried away on a European TV channel in the first place.

  • Comment number 91.

    Dragliner78 @ 43

    I can give you an Asian remake of a Hollywood original: Connected, the Hong Kong version of the amiable and enjoyable Cellular. Firstly it IS an acknowledged and credited remake with Larry Cohen and New Line named prominently in the end crawl. Secondly, it's better. The hero character is far more interesting and the action scenes are tighter, particularly one of the best car chases in years.

    As I'm just coming back to this thread having seen Let Me In a couple of days ago: I really enjoyed it. I think it's a little more obvious where the original was more subtle, and I see and understand why Matt Reeves has made some of the changes to essentially get some kind of a mainstream audience. But I don't think these are intrinsically bad differences. I also think it's gorgeously shot (maybe one of the best photographed films of the year) and well performed, although it feels massively overscored with almost constant music where it really isn't needed to that extent. Michael Giacchino only got to write about 8 minutes of music on Reeves' previous film Cloverfield so maybe he's making up for it now. :) But I think it is a worthy remake and doesn't do what some Hollywood remakes have achieved, which is to cheapen and desecrate the original.

  • Comment number 92.

    The only film I can think of where I preferred the Hollywood version is Insomnia.
    Much as I admire Stellan Skarsgård the original was an experience similar to watching paint dry but if the paint had an unpleasant smell and gave you allergies.
    The version with Al Pacino was quite tense and the combination of harsh light and pacing gave me a taste of what sunshine 24hrs a day must feel like.

 

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