Random Thoughts of a Movie Insomniac: Vol 13. Rants/Raves on Remakes.

poltergeist3The release of the remake of “Poltergeist” has got me thinking of the whole idea of remakes in the first place.  Now keep in mind, ta dear readers.  The following article will be just my opinion on the subject and should not be taking so literal.  OK   I also kind of go all over the place with my thoughts, but that’s to be expected.  After all look at the tile of what you are readingPsychoWhen I was younger.  A remake was done to update a story to more modern times.  Most of the films I remember watching were ones that were first made in black and white and then updated to color.  They changed the look of everyone’s clothes and the devices that were used.  But the story more or less stayed the same.  The acting also stood out because those earlier ones were a bit more melodramatic in terms of  line delivery and style.  I’m not saying they were bad, but characters in earlier movies didn’t  speak like you or I.  Now to be fair they don’t speak like we do either.  But for the ones made in the early 50’s.  It’s a pretty big difference.  Now a days I’m seeing remakes for basically anything and it doesn’t have to be an older feature either.  “Death at a Funeral” had two versions within a few years of each other and both were English Language films.  Is the British accent such a tough thing for Americans to understand that we needed a new version with Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan.  The Studio Ghibli feature “The Secret World of  Arrietty” has two English dubs.  One with British Actors including Mark Strong, and Saorise Ronan .  The other has Will Arnet, Bridget Mendler, and other American actors for their English Dub.  Since the original book was based on “The Borrowers” by a British Author.  I never understood why two English versions was made.  They didn’t make an American dubbed version of “Howl’s Moving Castle“.  That one featured actors from both sides of the pond including Christian Bale and Billy Crystal.

Let Me InSpeaking of movies done in other languages.  I don’t mind when movies that were once done in a foreign land are redone for an English audience.   “Let Me In” is a really good movie that adds elements that were in the book but not in the Swedish version “Let The Right One In” (Read my thoughts on that flick by clicking the link).  It also adds some really good visual touches in certain scenes and lacks in other ones.  I prefer “Vanilla Sky” over “Abre Los Ojos aka OpenYour Eyes)”  Yes both versions have Penelope Cruz, but the remake has the added bonus of having Tilda Swinton and Kurt Russell.   Most movies when they are remade in America The setting of the original  is changed to a well known city like Chicago or Los Angles. Which brings me to “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo “.  The book was written by a Swedish author, featuring Swedish characters and it was set in Sweden.  Therefore it makes sense for the 2009 version(click to read my review) to have actors like  Noomi Repace and Michael Nyqvist because of their nationality.   The remake, done in 2011(Read my review of that over on my older site) by David Fincher and yes I am calling it a remake.  This whole argument about calling it an adaptation is just a cop out in my opinion.  I’m not saying that one version was better then the other.  I’m just tired of people calling remakes adaptations. Just because it was based on a book.   Umm where was I? …… Oh Yeah.  So the version directed by Fincher features American Actors Daniel Craig, and Rooney Mara who are portraying Swedish characters.  Why was this version not set in The U.S.  It could have easily been done there.  Does the US have no stories about rape and revenge, we had to set it there.  Not knocking on any of the actors who were in the US version.  Hell, Rooney Mara got an well deserved Oscar nomination for her role.   I just never understood why it couldn’t have been set in somewhere like New York or Boston.

dragon-tattoo-postersWhen I first watched Luc Besson’s “La Femme Nikita” it was on  a screener VHS that was English dubbed.  I later bought the subtitled version, but I do notice every now and then.  Whenever I put in a DVD of a foreign language film.   The audio always reverts to the dubbed version.  I then have to stop the flick, go back to the main menu, select the correct language(which is usually the 2nd one listed below) and restart it.  Which brings me to question.  Why do they make English dubs of live action movies when a remake is less then a year away.   Fans of the movie are ones that prefer it with subtitles in the first place and if you don’t like it.  I can’t really understand why you would watch it dubbed and then watch it again with English speaking actors in the roles.  With movies like “Spirited Away” and “Akira“.  The dubbing into English is fine because  I’m not watching live actors I’m watching the animation.   Translation Software for Blurays one day will have it where you can watch a movie in several different languages and  watch both the remake and the original on the same disk.   This would be great for movies who sometimes  get the rights bought out before we can see them  I remember when “Quarantine” was released and I heard about the far superior version “Rec” (read my review), but I wasn’t able to see that version until after the remake hit home video.

In no way am I trying to discourage you from watching remakes or be mad  if you are not a fan of foreign films.  This was just something on my mind because I haven’t had much time to see many films.  I’m working on something very cool that I will be needing your help with.  So stay tuned these next few days dear readers and I will share the news with you.

Whiskey

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About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcast The Film Pasture and As You Watch. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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26 Responses to Random Thoughts of a Movie Insomniac: Vol 13. Rants/Raves on Remakes.

  1. drhumpp says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I don’t necessarily have a problem with remakes, but the stylistic choices of most modern films just don’t gel with me. They’re generally well done, but they’re not usually the type of movie that I’d spend my free time with. That said, I usually enjoy the original movies as opposed to the remakes.

    For remakes of recent movies, I have to take it on a case by case basis. I personally enjoyed Open Your Eyes much more than Vanilla Sky. But I like Amenebar’s (sp?) movies much more than Cameron Crowe’s.

    • The Vern says:

      I should rewatch Open Your Eyes, but as of right now the remake is pretty well done. Maybe it’s the soundtrack I like more. I don’t know, but I do thank you for visiting

  2. The Psycho remake seemed somewhat unnecessary to me and Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates? not a good choice. In my opinion classics should never be remade at all. Remakes should extend only to B movies, foreign films or really old films that producers feel can be improved upon.

    • The Vern says:

      Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche were terrible casting. You were suppose to be afraid with Marion, not cheer for her demise, and what the hell was the point of all the odd imegary inside Norman’s Head. Gah. Thanks for the comments.

  3. table9mutant says:

    I can’t stand dubbed films. I don’t know how people can watch them. I agree it’s not as bad on animated films, like the Studio Ghibli ones, although I far prefer subtitles on those as well. I don’t understand remakes of excellent films such as Poltergeist. Can young people REALLY not watch older movies? Why don’t they want to explore anything more than a few years old? Annoys me! :-/

    • The Vern says:

      What ever happened to just re-releasing a movie. The Original Poltergeist would have been great to see again in theaters. Yeah I agree with you

    • emmakwall says:

      Dubbing in films looks ridiculous!! I agree it’s different with Studio Ghibli though – you can’t tell their mouths are moving differently. Major difference! Plus it’s good for the kiddie winks to have English versions to watch, it could even lead them to watching the original subtitles versions in the end.

      • table9mutant says:

        Exactly! I appreciate the dubbed Ghiblis for kids to be able to watch them. I say start them young on the kid friendly Ghibli films! 🙂

      • emmakwall says:

        I totally agree! My boyfriend always buys his niece a Studio Ghibli film for Xmas/birthdays and she’s 15 now and really into anime! I showed my bro Spirited Away when he was quite young and it kinda scared him! No Face going “uh…..uh” LOL!

        Even I don’t mind watching Studio Ghibli dubbed, though I do always watch them for the first time in Japanese. The only one I thought was really silly was Ponyo – Liam Neeson voiced the sea king and it sounded so out of place!

      • table9mutant says:

        Spirited Away, huh? Yeah – you probably scarred him for life! Lol. 😉 Ugh – yeah, I really didn’t like his voice in Ponyo but also really didn’t like the dubbing on Howl’s Moving Castle. I’ve never seen the dubbed versions for a lot of the “older” ones that aren’t really for kids. If I’m not actually watching it with a kid, I always go with subtitles. 🙂

      • emmakwall says:

        I don’t think I’ve ever watched Howl’s Moving Castle dubbed. I watch them on TV sometimes (Film4!!) and they’re always dubbed on there. With Arrietty it wasn’t too bad because they were English not American (not that American voices are bad, jut that Arrietty is very much like The Borrowers which is English!)

        I think Spirited Away is pretty terrible dubbed, it’s such a crazy weird film that it just sounds so wrong.

        I think I’ve said this before but my favourite US dubbing is The Cat Returns because Tim Curry sounds so funny as the Cat King!! “hello babe!” he actually says that.

      • table9mutant says:

        Howl’s is weird because Billy Crystal (who I love) does a voice but it just sounded like Mike Wazowski (who I also love) the whole time! 🙂 Very distracting….

      • emmakwall says:

        Lol!!!! Even before I got to the end of that sentence I was thinking how distinctive his voice is and Monsters Inc!!!

        Yeah I’d definitely not heard those dubs, I’d remember!

        🙂

  4. Brittani says:

    Great post! I go back and forth on remakes. On the surface, I kind of hate them, but like you, I don’t mind remakes from foreign films to American audiences at times. Sometimes they bring more attention to the original film, like Let The Right One In that was far better. Other times I just wish people would gtf over the fact that they have to read subtitles and just watch the original film. Mostly the remakes I enjoy are the ones where they’re updating the film. Like Amityville Horror or House of Wax, those types.

  5. David says:

    I liked both versions of Girl Eith The Dragon Tatoo. Not so much the Psycho remake. Either way, great post.

  6. emmakwall says:

    Very interesting post Verny! I want to write a post on remakes soon too!

    I’m not against remakes at all, some remakes have been brilliant – I thought the US version of The Ring was better (and a lot scarier) and I preferred Let Me In as well (and I still think you could argue that Let Me In was simply a book adaptation, not a remake). The Amityville Horror remake was also better. Etc etc etc.

    the Poltergeist remake looks awful however! And there have been many bad ones. Still, we can ignore them.

    Very interesting about Arrietty, I watched that recently and had no idea it had English and American dubs! (I loved it btw!!)

    I love your sign-off drink 🙂

    • The Vern says:

      Thanks Emmy. I think the US version of Ringu was the only good adaptation of a Japanese horror film. Rest were shit I read your BF buys his niece Ghbli flicks and that is awesome. I tried to find a copy of the British dub of Arrietty and all I can find here is the American one. Do you know of where I can buy this.

      • emmakwall says:

        You’re welcome great Verny!

        Thanks for your email by the way, it really made me feel better and I’m excited to begin our podcast! I’ll reply soon 🙂 thanks for taking the time to answer me, it meant a lot.

        I’m not sure, I watched it on British TV but I’ll check our Amazon etc and have a look. I’ll find you one 🙂

        Yes, The Ring was really scary! And I think you’re right, I can’t think of another Japanese horror film adaptation that was much good !

  7. Chris says:

    I too prefer “Vanilla Sky” over “Abre Los Ojos. Love Cameron Crowe’s soundtrack.

    To me, the new Poltergeist remake feels like a shameless cash grab. Same with other recent horror remakes such as Nightmare on Elm Street.

    The Dragon Tatoo at least was a little different in that it was in English. I liked the remake with Rooney Mara, although I do prefer Michael Nyqvist as Blomkvist.

  8. The Vern says:

    Thanks Chris. Yeah Poltergeist feels very much like a cash grab. Yes The remake of Girl with Dragon Tattoo was different because it was in English, but they still speak in Swedish accents. Still Fincher does make some good visual choices and I do enjoy it

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