One of the hottest films out right now is the David Fincher re-make of the hit Swedish movie, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” I would probably go out and see it except for one thing: the original Swedish movie hit the U.S. not too long ago (in 2010) and I recently saw it on DVD last year.
I knew Fincher was making the U.S. remake and I knew it would probably be pretty awesome. But then I saw the trailer. It looked scene for scene just like the Swedish film. (And as good as the Swedish film is, it’s kind of a hard movie to watch. I’m not really looking forward to delving into that darkness again so soon…if ever.)
Hollywood loves to re-make movies and old TV shows. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t. So I can’t help but wonder: “When does it make sense to re-make a movie?” Assuming you have a great screenwriter and cast, here are some of my thoughts on when a re-make makes sense:
- When there’s new technology that didn’t exist originally (Think “King Kong” or “Godzilla”).
- Transcoding the genre (Akira Kurasawa’s medieval samurai epic “Seven Samurai” which was a remake of John Sturges’ Western “The Magnificent Seven”).
- Re-imagined to speak to a new generation (e.g. Baz Lurman’s “Romeo+Juliet”; “Guess Who” starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, which was a reverse remake of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”).
- Re-envisioning an originally bad or cheesy original to something contemporary and cool (e.g. the new “Battlestar Galactica” on SyFy).
- When a lazy English-speaking audience doesn’t want to see the foreign original with sub-titles.
Obviously that last one applies perfectly to the Fincher film. I’m sure there are some purists out there who squabble at remaking foreign films for lazy English-speaking audiences. It’s a subjective thing. I think it does serve a purpose of bringing a great film to a new audience that otherwise wouldn’t have seen it at all.
What About Iconic Masterpieces?
Even if a film can match one of the criteria above, do you think there are some films that should never be remade? “Citizen Kane”? “Annie Hall”? “The Graduate”? “Casablanca?” I think there are some films (like these four) that are so unique and special that I personally wouldn’t want to see them remade because I believe they’ve earned the right to remain one of a kind. But that’s just me.
And What About Those Iconic Black & White Photographs
All of this leads up to the question I posed yesterday about colorizing iconic black and white images. I say, if it’s for historical referencing, no problem…if done well. That’s kind of how I see the photos colorized by Dullaway. But, if it’s art, unless it’s along the lines of a total re-imagining, thereby creating something totally new, I wouldn’t. (Do you really want to see a black and white Ansel Adams in color?)