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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  • Comment number 92. Posted by Esther

    on 11 Nov 2010 07:19

    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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  • Comment number 91. Posted by streetrw

    on 10 Nov 2010 10:20

    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.

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  • Comment number 90. Posted by youngian

    on 9 Nov 2010 13:28

    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.

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  • Comment number 89. Posted by information1st

    on 5 Nov 2010 10:41

    #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... ?

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  • Comment number 88. Posted by Rosko

    on 4 Nov 2010 23:11

    ..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.

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  • Comment number 87. Posted by Rosko

    on 4 Nov 2010 23:02

    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.

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  • Comment number 86. Posted by I_am_I

    on 27 Oct 2010 17:04

    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'....

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  • Comment number 85. Posted by porkchopexpress

    on 25 Oct 2010 12:38

    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.

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  • Comment number 84. Posted by pozzo2010

    on 19 Oct 2010 21:08

    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.

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  • Comment number 83. Posted by RussiansEatBambi66

    on 19 Oct 2010 16:49

    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

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