Friday, September 10, 2010

Movie Remakes: Which Side Are You On?

So I was reading a movie review blog from one of my genuine college facebook friends, Just Plain Something, and she was talking about the new Kid Vampire Romance Horror Remake of Let the Right One In, Let Me In.

The director of the original Swedish movie argued that the movie was made too recently to even warrant a remake while the author of the novel both movies are based on considers the new one directed by the director of Cloverfield to be a reinterpretation of the original novel. Movie remakes can be a source of major debate and arguments for or against. Sometimes a movie remake is good, but completely overshadowed by the original. Two good examples of this are The Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds. Now this maybe nothing more than the age of the films and a feeling of fondness for the original; but when it comes to The Day the Earth Stood Still, the movie wasn't the best review movie at the time. The argument here is the source material's message was way better than the remake's but that doesn't make the movie bad. War of the Worlds was met with the debate of purists who liked the original and fans of Spielberg and Tom Cruise who directed and starred in the remake. No one mentions the fact that C. Thomas Howell and Jake Busey made a straight-to-DVD remake of War of the Worlds around the same time, and rightly so.

Then there are remakes like Death at a Funeral. The original British comedy came out in 2007 and was remade in the United States this summer. The story stayed the same, a crazy family comes together for the funeral of the paterfamilias. Hilarity ensues when one guest uncomfortable at funerals accidentally takes MDMA, a little person shows up with a secret and sibling rivals deal with a chaotic day. Sounds like fun... dry British humor. The remake featured a black cast, but the story remained almost entirely the same, including the casting of Peter Dinklage as the little person. This sort of remake annoys me. While I like the idea of Americanizing a movie like Let the Right One In, remaking a movie already done in English just so a different type of audience (sadly a different racial and socioeconomic demographic) can enjoy it. I loved the original one so much that I could not bring myself to pay to see the other.

Movie remakes aren't always bad. Just recently a Hong Kong remake of the American movie Cellular came out which tweaked the story some, making it's premise much more plausible. The action is ramped up and more entertaining than the original American movie. People forget the fact that The Departed is a remake of the Hong Kong action series Infernal Affairs, it went on to win Best Picture @ the Oscars and Best Director for Scorsese. Alfred Hitchcock remade his own movie when James Stewart and Doris Day starred in The Man Who Know Too Much.

Movie remakes will continue to happen, mainly because film studios think that's what we want to see instead of original ideas like Inception. Recently we saw the release of Clash of the Titans in 3D. Right now Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon are doing a remake of True Grit written and directed by the Coen Brothers. There is a Conan movie reboot filming right now; and The Doctor,  David Tennant is going to be in a remake of Fright Night. Even Spider-man is getting a reboot, set in high school with a 30 year old Peter Parker.

Where do you stand on movie remakes?

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