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Let Me In | Are remakes of good films appropriate?

CojonesCojones Registered User regular
edited November 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
Let-Me-In.jpg

Let Me In is an English-language adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist's 2004 novel Let the Right One In, later turned into a critically-acclaimed movie of the same name.

One point of contention raised while the movie was in production was by the 2008 adaptation's director, Tomas Alfredson, who said:
If one should remake a film, it's because the original is bad. And I don't think mine is
remakes should be made of movies that aren't very good, that gives you the chance to fix whatever has gone wrong. I'm very proud of my movie and I think it's great, but the Americans might have another opinion. The saddest thing for me would be to see this beautiful story made into something mainstream. I don't like to whine, but of course – if you spent years on painting a picture, you'd hate to hear buzz about a copy even before your vernissage!


I saw this film a few days ago and am still amazed at how sublime the performances of Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz were. I found that the chemistry between them was immense, and Richard Jenkins is amazing.

Not only that, I'd suggest that Let Me In was made a better adaptation of Lindqvist's novel than Alfredson's version by successfully trimming the fat by cutting screen-time with largely irrelevant side characters, and concentrating on the love story at the film's heart with sensitivity and beauty.

Thoughts?

Cojones on
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  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Let The Right One In is a love story? That's not how I perceived it at all.

    Regardless, I do think remakes should be reserved for bad movies, but when a movie is only seen by a handful of people, like Let The Right One In was; then I really don't see the harm in remaking it to cater to a different audience.

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  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Sentry wrote: »
    Let The Right One In is a love story? That's not how I perceived it at all.

    Regardless, I do think remakes should be reserved for bad movies, but when a movie is only seen by a handful of people, like Let The Right One In was; then I really don't see the harm in remaking it to cater to a different audience.

    I suppose my problem with a lot of Hollywood remakes recently is that they take amazing foreign films and essentially put them into English. I guess it's the bigger audience thing, but I don't see why people can't just deal with subtitles.

    Also, I think that there's a vicious circle where foreign language films aren't promoted very well because the studios think that people won't go and see a film with subtitles, so people don't go and see subtitled films and when ask say so, so studios don't promoted subtitled films.

    EDIT: Also, the new version would have to be absolutely amazing to be better than Alfredson's film. I haven't seen it yet.

  • ZedarZedar Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    BobCesca wrote: »
    Sentry wrote: »
    Let The Right One In is a love story? That's not how I perceived it at all.

    Regardless, I do think remakes should be reserved for bad movies, but when a movie is only seen by a handful of people, like Let The Right One In was; then I really don't see the harm in remaking it to cater to a different audience.

    I suppose my problem with a lot of Hollywood remakes recently is that they take amazing foreign films and essentially put them into English. I guess it's the bigger audience thing, but I don't see why people can't just deal with subtitles.

    Also, I think that there's a vicious circle where foreign language films aren't promoted very well because the studios think that people won't go and see a film with subtitles, so people don't go and see subtitled films and when ask say so, so studios don't promoted subtitled films.

    EDIT: Also, the new version would have to be absolutely amazing to be better than Alfredson's film. I haven't seen it yet.

    I know a lot of people who just flat out won't see a movie if they know it has subtitles. I don't see foreign-language remakes of movies to be a great offense. Was there any outrage like this when Ring was remade in english? It's just trying to reach a larger audience, plain and simple. I don't see anything wrong with that.

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  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited November 2010
    Interestingly enough, the author of the novel was more positive about the English version than the director of the Scandanavian version was.

    More and more I'm suspecting this animosity towards English-version remakes is just a new avenue for people to be pretentious. The English version doesn't change or alter the previous version in any way, shape or form. It's just a new way for people to say they liked it before it was popular.

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  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I don't know. Some of the English versions are good, but more often, in my experience, they are about the same or much worse. It feels like some strange cash-in process going on.

    I suppose a lot of my feelings towards this come from the fact that I don't really understand why people wouldn't want to watch a film subtitled in English. It's one of those things where I know that people have a problem with it, but I don't really understand why. This may have something to do with the fact that nearly everything I watch has the subtitles turned on due to a strange problem I have with loud TVs and migraines.

  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I agree with Bionic. This does just seem like another way to be elitist about movies. And I can also understand why some people might not like watching movies with subtitles, because they are distracting. I found this to be the case particularly with Let the Right One In, because I was so caught up with the visual bleakness that there were several times when I realized I had forgotten to actually read the dialogue and had to go back.

    That being said, Let the Right One In was a masterpiece, and it is pretty rare for a movie as good as it was to be remade. I've also heard the new version was also exceptional, so maybe this is really a non-issue?

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  • CojonesCojones Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    BobCesca wrote: »
    Also, the new version would have to be absolutely amazing to be better than Alfredson's film. I haven't seen it yet.
    As a huge fan of Let the Right One In, I couldn't fathom the notion that LMI could possibly compare, let alone be better than LtROI. Now, I'd back LMI ten times out of ten. Go and see it.
    More and more I'm suspecting this animosity towards English-version remakes is just a new avenue for people to be pretentious. The English version doesn't change or alter the previous version in any way, shape or form. It's just a new way for people to say they liked it before it was popular.
    I agree, this mentality is hugely prevalent and crops up whenever English remakes are made. It doesn't help that English-language remakes have a track record of being markedly worse than their originals.

    I find it more useful to frame LMI as another adaptation of the LtROI novel, rather than a remake of the film.

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  • Brian888Brian888 Registered User
    edited November 2010
    Interestingly enough, the author of the novel was more positive about the English version than the director of the Scandanavian version was.

    More and more I'm suspecting this animosity towards English-version remakes is just a new avenue for people to be pretentious. The English version doesn't change or alter the previous version in any way, shape or form. It's just a new way for people to say they liked it before it was popular.

    On the other hand, if Hollywood studios didn't waste their time and resources with almost shot-for-shot remakes of foreign films, maybe they could devote their resources to producing more original films. I mean, come on, did the world REALLY need Quarantine, when it had [Rec]?

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    -When is the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo getting it's English remake?

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  • ThirithThirith Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I've greatly enjoyed different productions of Macbeth, Richard III or King Lear, where every production brought out different facets of the text. As far as I'm concerned, a good remake can do the same, without taking away anything from an original. Granted, many remakes are cheap attempts to make money, but there's nothing wrong with the principle - as little when it comes to films as when it comes to different productions of the same play.

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  • ZzuluZzulu Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I thought it was pretty tacky to make this movie only 2 years after the Swedish one was released. They copy a lot of scenes from the Swedish version to the point where there's no difference at all a lot of the time.

    I like the movie, though. Did it need to be made? No, not really. It did have a slightly different mood towards the end of the movie though, compared to the original, but other then that it didn't really provide anything I didn't already get in the original.

    I can't complain too much however, since it's rare to get good vampire material these days. I guess an American (good) remake would let more people get to see what a decent vampire movie is


    Then, of course, it completely bombed and barely anyone saw it anyway

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  • Brian888Brian888 Registered User
    edited November 2010
    Thirith wrote: »
    I've greatly enjoyed different productions of Macbeth, Richard III or King Lear, where every production brought out different facets of the text. As far as I'm concerned, a good remake can do the same, without taking away anything from an original. Granted, many remakes are cheap attempts to make money, but there's nothing wrong with the principle - as little when it comes to films as when it comes to different productions of the same play.


    As am I. However, for that to work, you need base material that supports that many different kinds of interpretation. Not many works can do that. That's why Shakespeare is The Man.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    What about remakes that change the setting?

    Yojimbo to Last Man Standing
    Seven Samurai to Magnificent Seven
    Ran to The King of Texas

    Same story. More gun fights.

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  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited November 2010
    Brian888 wrote: »
    Interestingly enough, the author of the novel was more positive about the English version than the director of the Scandanavian version was.

    More and more I'm suspecting this animosity towards English-version remakes is just a new avenue for people to be pretentious. The English version doesn't change or alter the previous version in any way, shape or form. It's just a new way for people to say they liked it before it was popular.

    On the other hand, if Hollywood studios didn't waste their time and resources with almost shot-for-shot remakes of foreign films, maybe they could devote their resources to producing more original films. I mean, come on, did the world REALLY need Quarantine, when it had [Rec]?

    Funny you bring up Quarantine, since that's where I first started formulating my opinion there. I saw Quarantine before I saw [REC], and enjoyed Quarantine more. I suspect it's because I saw it first, so it was more fresh. My wife saw [REC] first, and then saw Quarantine, and she enjoyed [REC] more.

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  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited November 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    What about remakes that change the setting?

    Yojimbo to Last Man Standing
    Seven Samurai to Magnificent Seven
    Ran to The King of Texas

    Same story. More gun fights.

    Well, Ran was already a retelling of King Lear.

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  • krushkrush Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Sometimes... just to make it palatable to American audiences, a film has to be remade.

    Sometimes... it can be proven that a remake would be unnecessary.

    IMO, Rec, Ringu+sequels, Ju-on+sequels, Dark Water, Pulse, and the like NEVER needed American/English remakes. I'll admit, The Ring had me creeped out for a few days, and The Grudge was pretty decent, but Quarantine was laughable as a remake of Rec (now that I've finally seen it).

    Audition and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon proved they didn't need remakes (I doubt anyone in Hollywood short of Rob Zombie would dare to try to remake Audition)

  • CowSharkCowShark Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I'm totally on board with remakes. Whatever someone wants to remake, however they want it. Maybe it'll be cool, and maybe it'll be a steaming pile.

    Am I going to be excited about a remake that turns out to be shitty, or a cash grab? No.

    But whenever a remake of a good film is also good, then you have two good films. Where's the problem?

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  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Zzulu wrote: »
    I thought it was pretty tacky to make this movie only 2 years after the Swedish one was released. They copy a lot of scenes from the Swedish version to the point where there's almost no difference at all.

    I like the movie, though. Did it need to be made? No, not really. I can't complain too much however, since it's rare to get good vampire material these days. I guess an American (good) remake would let more people get to see what a decent vampire movie is


    Then, of course, it completely bombed and barely anyone saw it anyway

    Well, Hollywood clearly makes remakes because its very profitable. That sentiment isn't very insightful though. I would suggest that English language remakes are successful for two related reasons. First, that many people will not watch any movies with subtitles, no matter what (or dubbing either, apparently). Secondly, American society is rather isolated from the rest of the world, meaning most of the American movie watching public has no knowledge of any foreign language movies at all, meaning a large amount of potential profit is left on the table for any foreign language film.

    Hollywood studios knowing the two reasons I stated above are just taking the opportunity to make profit. I used to think a lot of remakes were of lower quality. I still believe that to some extent, since I greatly value originality in movies. But you rarely saw any complaints about The Departed being a scene for scene remake of Infernal Affairs (seriously watch them both sometime, its uncanny how similar each scene is. It's like someone specifically said 'Make this movie again, but with different actors and in English').

    So I do enjoy that good films are getting a wider audience, especially since all of that audience includes my friends and family, but I wish people would just watch foreign films.

  • ZzuluZzulu Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Actually, I thought the Ring remake was a lot better than the original

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  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Zzulu wrote: »
    Actually, I thought the Ring remake was a lot better than the original

    Really?

    I thought it lost a lot in the remake in terms of atmosphere. Though it is really difficult to objectively assess a remake when one has seen the original - you can't go in with a clean slate, I guess.

  • TehSpectreTehSpectre @PixelateJake on TwitterRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Quarantine and REC have the same setting, but end up varying a good amount.

    The sequel to Quarantine isn't going to be a remake of REC 2, so I think it was good it was remade.


    Also, Let Me In was fantastic.

    Edit: English version of the Ring was superior in my eyes as well.

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  • ZzuluZzulu Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I thought the american version of The Ring was oozing in atmosphere. There was this sense of creeping dread throughout the film that I really liked.

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  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    As long as we can all agree that The Univited was a terrible name for a terrible remake. The name made zero sense. But it did have Elizabeth Banks and the gorgeous Emily Browning. So, points for that I guess.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • DeebaserDeebaser Lead Frog Rammer Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Are remakes of good films appropriate?

    Two words: The Departed.

  • TehSpectreTehSpectre @PixelateJake on TwitterRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    On the note of remakes, John Carpenter cracks me up.

    He doesn't care if someone remakes one of his movies as long as he gets that sweet, sweet check.


    Edit: The Nightmare on Elm St. remake may be the worst movie ever made, if we're talking bad ones.

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  • ChopperDaveChopperDave Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    It really depends on who's doing the remake.

    The Departed, for example, was pretty much the best damned remake of a critically-acclaimed film that you could ever ask for. Ocean's 11 was pretty solid as well. But that's Scorsese and Soderbergh.

    Most re-makes (of good films, at least) are pretty awful, though

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  • krushkrush Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    What about remakes that change the setting?

    Yojimbo to Last Man Standing
    Seven Samurai to Magnificent Seven
    Ran to The King of Texas

    Same story. More gun fights.

    La Femme Nikita - Luc Besson original.
    Black Cat - Stephen Shin HK Action remake of Nikita (really not bad... the ice bullet was a nice touch)
    Point of No Return - American shit film remake Nikita.

    Same story, with wildly differing levels of goodness.

  • CowSharkCowShark Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Zzulu wrote: »
    I thought the american version of The Ring was oozing in atmosphere. There was this sense of creeping dread throughout the film that I really liked.

    I also really liked that in the American version, Naomi Watts figures out what she's done herself, and doesn't need hallucinations of freaking Towel-Head(tm) to point at the VCR for her.

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  • AtomikaAtomika genius of the restoration Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    A good credo to live by when judging any kind of medium is this:

    "There are no bad ideas, just poor executions."


    While there certainly are films (and other things) that are so iconic and so large a part of the greater culture that remaking them seems completely pointless, some thing done well and with masterful execution is always appreciated, whether it infringes on a sacred cow or not.

    In the case of Let Me In, I thought it a remarkably good adaptation, but since I was a fan of the original, I also felt it served no particular purpose to me personally. All it means now is that for a certain group of people I'll refer them to the Swedish version, and for a certain group I'll refer the American. Is the Swedish version better? Empirically. But it's not for everyone.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    What Ross said.

    Some remakes/adaptations are good, some are not.

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  • Magus`Magus` Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Aww, LMI bombed? That's a shame.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Are remakes of good films appropriate?

    Two words: The Depahted.

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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I liked the newer Dawn of the Dead more than Romero's.

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  • CojonesCojones Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    I liked the newer Dawn of the Dead more than Romero's.

    I know that it's heresy to admit this, but I too very much preferred Snyder's '04 DotD to Romero's - if only for the sheer entertainment value that that film brought to the table.

    As far as LMI "bombing" goes, I expect that the film will see a significant return on DVD/BD sales and should comfortably break even.

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  • AstaerethAstaereth Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Some very great movies in the past have been remakes so successful the originals are all but forgotten. Ben-Hur, The Maltese Falcon, Scarface, A Fistful of Dollars, The Thing... the list goes on. The issue is that there are four good reasons to remake a movie:

    1. The original had problems that more talented people, more money, and/or the wonders of modern technology can solve. (The Thing is a great example.)
    2. The new film is not just remaking the original but commenting on it. (Cape Fear, for instance.)
    3. The new film is not just remaking the original but finding a new interpretation on it, perhaps by being more faithful to the original source material (Let Me In).

    (Van Sant exemption: The new film intends to prove with scientific accuracy that Hitchcock was awesome.)

    Nowhere in that list is "we accidentally created a franchise here and want to remilk it" (Red Dragon), "we're desperate for some easy money" (every horror remake of the past decade that wasn't in a foreign language), "it's been twenty years and old people feel nostalgic" (Tron Legacy, all the A-list horror remakes), or "it's been twenty years and teenagers won't realize we're just copying something else" (all the B-list horror remakes--I'm looking at you, Prom Night).

    Even a remake with artistic aspirations can fail--look at Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But a remake made with the worst intentions is almost sure to.

    I'm unsure where English remakes of foreign films fit into this; there seems to be no hard and fast rule, as you can see from the American versions of The Ring (superior in almost every way) and Let Me In (equivalent in almost every way). So I think it comes down to the individuals involved.

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  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Are remakes of good films appropriate?

    Two words: The Departed.

    So not really?:P


    I'm with Ross here really. A remake is nice when it adds something new and it seems pointless when it doesn't. Of course, I'm used to subtitles and movies in my own language are pretty rare anyways so caring about this one way or another is a bit silly.

  • CorvusCorvus Caw? VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I don't think you can make any blanket statements. If people want to remake or adapt films for different languages or settings, that is fine by me. We can judge them on the quality of their work.

    I know there will be some sensitivity in the Non-English speaking world about the US remaking their films for the domestic market. And yeah, sure it would be nicer if Americans would just watch your film in the original language, but the wider public just isn't going to do that. So, a remake brings the story to a wider public than would otherwise be possible.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I have a LOT of customers who will not watch a movie if it's in another language.

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  • InvisibleInvisible Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Cojones wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    I liked the newer Dawn of the Dead more than Romero's.

    I know that it's heresy to admit this, but I too very much preferred Snyder's '04 DotD to Romero's - if only for the sheer entertainment value that that film brought to the table.

    As far as LMI "bombing" goes, I expect that the film will see a significant return on DVD/BD sales and should comfortably break even.

    I do to. There's a lot I didn't like at all about the original Dawn of the Dead and while the remake is far from perfect, it does more right in my eyes than the original. Heresy, but whatever.

    Haven't seen the remake of Let the Right One In, but I heard they changed some things
    Spoiler:
    , but that's a fairly minor point that I don't really affected the overall movie.

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  • cr0wcr0w Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I watched and very much enjoyed Let The Right One In when it was released here in the U.S., though I wasn't as rabid about it as many people seem to be.

    That being said, I enjoyed Let Me In even more. It had better pacing, much better performances (I thought Oskar was a bit too wooden in the original, Richard Jenkins was great as always, and Chloe Moretz was just brilliant), and the story/side characters were modified in ways that just allowed it to flow better. I honestly think it's a better film, though I hold the original in high regard. Also the vampire sequences were really well done.

    As far as other remakes go, I mean I can go either way. If they can make a good movie, I don't care if it's a remake or not. They're entertainment for me, I don't really get emotionally involved. I like the '04 Dawn of the Dead much more than the original, which I don't feel has aged well at all. Plus Romero's heavy-handed social commentary has annoyed the shit out of me for as long as I can remember.

    There have been only two remakes I've ever truly disliked, and they were The Grudge (which I just felt was stupid, I hated every second of it) and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Hell, I'd say I didn't even dislike ANOES, I was just indifferent to it. It was just uninspired, lazy and felt like no one on the production gave a shit. I'd much rather love or hate a film, because that's a genuine emotional reaction. That one I just couldn't care less about.

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