Remaking successful foreign films has become the norm in Hollywood, with classics such as Oldboy seeing the remake treatment in the not too distant future. So many successful world films go unnoticed until they are remade, and some audience members watch the remake without even knowing it had a foreign counterpart. It goes without saying that the originals are usually the best, and it’s such a shame that so many of them go unnoticed.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is originally a Swedish film-adaption of a novel; it got the remake treatment in 2011, just two years after the release of the original film. Perhaps the most ridiculous thing about the remake is that despite being American, it’s still set in Sweden and some of the characters
speak with a Swedish accent. Essentially you are left with the same effect as watching the original film dubbed over in English. Due to budget issues, the American producers are in talks about dropping Daniel Craig’s character Mikael Blomkvist entirely. Any one familiar with the franchise will know that losing this character defeats the whole object of the franchise, and he is as much the protagonist as Lisbeth Salander herself. It begs the question, why do they need to remake the films? When the overall effect is the same as watching the original film dubbed over in English the lengthy process of producing the remake seems pointless.
Oldboy is a classic Korean thriller starring Choi Min-sik, critically acclaimed it features in the iMDB top 250 films of all time and is an iconic example of Asian cinema. The American remake is due for release in October 2013, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Brolin. It will, unlike
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, be an Americanised version, which I suppose is a slightly redeeming factor but with the likes of Samuel L Jackson in the line up it’s likely to be another one of those brash American thrillers that holds little of the integrity of the Korean original.
With so many struggling upcoming filmmakers and scriptwriters, it’s a wonder that Hollywood aren’t trying to nurture the future talent and keep the film industry fresh and alive. It’s long since been about the culture and art of filmmaking, and has become a money laundering business out to earn quick cash with minimal effort. It takes a lot more effort to produce an entirely new idea than it does to, essentially steal one that’s been done before. And if you steal and remake a classic, there’s already a dedicated money-giving audience without having to go to great lengths to market the film. Instead of invest more money into new and upcoming talent; Hollywood and the big shot production companies would rather invest
in unoriginal films that have a dedicated audience already. If they’re not remaking old classics they’re continuing franchises that have long since lost their spark, and all for the sake of money.
Is film a dying industry? Of course not. As long as there are films to remake or franchises to continue then Hollywood will always have money lining its pockets. The big production companies will continue to produce films that are assured to make them billions because even when we struggle to afford the cinema or buy DVDs, people will still make the effort to go and see, say, The Fast and Furious 15. For film lovers it’s a shame to watch the industry slowly turn in to a money-laundering scheme. In many ways the film industry has lost its originality and spark, there’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, no new talent to get excited about.
Instead of nurturing new and upcoming directors, we’ve got the old ‘masters’ at the helm with nothing new to offer. When they’ve had their time, what will be left? It’s for this reason that I watch a lot of foreign cinema. Thai and Korean film industries are in their prime, and they’re ever growing and developing, there’s always something new and fresh to bring to the plate. You can guarantee that Hollywood will get their claws into any successful, noteworthy Asian film, but that says a lot more about Asian cinema and how diverse and exciting it is than it does about Hollywood’s lack of originality!