Remakes: why?


Can I ask something? I know I'll be sounding snobbish, but believe me, my question is sincere. Is it really necessary to remake a movie just because its original language is not English? I don't really see it as a crucial matter. Subtitled movies are shown in most theaters all over the world, I don't get why English-speaking people cannot get used to it and do the same effort, in particular if we're talking about movies worth watching. Remaking should be as rare as possible, and motivated by sincere attempt to bring something new to the original subject.

This is my humble opinion, of course, but I'd like a honest debate to understand the point of view of whoever disagrees. Cheers.

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I'm hearing impaired, so I watch ALL movies with subtitles (en anglais, for sure), and I do share your annoyance with remakes that exist simply because American audiences are said to hate subtitles. The thing is, I'm dubious about nearly ALL remakes, regardless of language, anyway.

Having said that, this is one remake that interests me quite a bit. Patrice Leconte (the original version) specializes in miniatures...small films with small casts in limited settings. They are, in other words, very "theatrical", depending very much on character and nuance rather than plot. And when it comes to theatre, every time a play reopens somewhere, it's a "re-make", actually a "re-think". And who would refuse to see yet another Hamlet because "duh, I awreddy seen it"? Long story short: I'm very interested in seeing Sutherland in a role already brilliantly performed by Jean Rochefort.

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wouldnt say English speaking people are the problem, only Yanks remake movies, but then again they dont like seem to like any movie that shows a culture that isnt their own(hence MCdonalds and Starbucks invading the world), recently saw the remake of Straw Dogs, which was almost a scene for scene remake of the original just in a different location, pointless.

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"wouldnt say English speaking people are the problem, only Yanks remake movies"

Not true.
Just one example: the Japanese re-made Sideways:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtnR1SXKSkU

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I suppose a north American production stands a much better chance of being picked up by a north American distributor....and add sutherland and its pretty well guaranteed?
Just watched it and Sutherland certainly carries the film....found both characters did a great job...I mean the Thief character certainly doesn't have that many lines!
Was sorry greenes character was so quiet...missed his resonating tones...
Gotta say the musical score was a high point....it saved a few longesh scenes....really loved it (music)

Didn't see the french original, but did question the whole premise of their meeting and continued relationship....is it just me, or a philosophical professor and a philosophical thief meeting randomly a bit over the top? However...it is a movie after all ....

All in all, certainly not a waste of the hour and a half...
Gblawson
The Censor
The Last canoe

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I agree with this post, as well as the original thread poster.

Having lived abroad for several years, I watched movies in the theaters and developed a sincere appreciation of the subtle techniques and viewpoints of European cinema.

So many remakes:("The Vanishing", "Let the Right One In"...ad Infinitum)are done with none of the spirit and essence that made the original so great.

It does seem that Americans are cheating themselves by not using subtitles to watch the originals.

Along these lines, any suggestions for American remakes that were better than the European originals?

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IMO, a lot of remakes are done simply because the world of Hollywood film-making has run out of ideas and/or is simply too lazy to come up with something original. And, yes, part of it is the xenophobia of the good ole USA, thinking that if it ain't "American" it ain't no good. So it has to be done (and somewhat dumbed down) for the US audience. This is a generalisation!

I understand this particular film is a Canada/Ireland production, filmed in Canada with Canadian and Irish actors (although those Irish actors tried really hard to hide their Irish accents).

Films do get remade for all kinds of reasons, but I can't at the moment think of one that was better than the original, and they are usually rather dismal.

Donald Sutherland is brilliant always, so I watched this simply because he's in it. And he never disappoints.

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And, yes, part of it is the xenophobia of the good ole USA


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Films do get remade for all kinds of reasons, but I can't at the moment think of one that was better than the original, and they are usually rather dismal.

The only one I can think of right now is True Grit, which I thought was much better than the original.

Here's a list of other opinions: http://www.imdb.com/list/Dtp4L57XzDM/

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I thought the US version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was better than the Swedish version - mainly due to the fact that I didnt like the actor who played the same role as Daniel Craig

Its very rare though that an American re-make is better than the original

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It seems that turs' sincere question just opened the door for all of your anti-American rants.Not objective, just a chance to put forth your thinking on how much smarter and sensitive all you Euro's and Brits are.There are many things that come into play as to why a re-make other than language. Yes, subs can be difficult in a theater especially sitting behind a 6'4" viewer in a full theater, but more important is the acting as to the draw. The excellent but unknown European actors will not draw in the States and if they do make it big where do they end up? Yes, the Hollywood studios. Sutherland though being Canadian is a well known and very proven actor going back to *MASH* and it is all about the acting and draw power. Unless you all have been living under a rock you would know that the big studios are not making the kind of money the once did and taking a proven film ala Anthony Zimmer or the Swedish "The Girl" triology and doing them in English with better known actors makes perfect business sense in the US. You can see them or not. I always try to see both versions for the comparison. That is what true movie fans do and not bang on the US or Hollywood all the time lining up to see Avatar, Titanic, Brad Pitt, Angela Jolie or George Clooney. Get over yourselves if not for us awful Americans you all would be watching your films in German anyway.

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Get over yourselves if not for us awful Americans you all would be watching your films in German anyway.


i don't see how it makes a difference whether arrogant a-holes such as yourself speak english or german.

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You were doing well until you got to the last sentence and came out with that ridiculous assertion. And it's especially ridiculous given that in the early days of your country there was considerable discussion about a national language and German ran English a close second.

If you want to know why so many people on this side of the pond despise you so much you have given the perfect answer. It is your boundless arrogance and lying conceit. Maybe it's worth reflecting that it was the Russians who did the heavy lifting in the War, not a bunch of people who turned up two years late.

It's a great shame that you felt it necessary, having made a reasonable post otherwise, to descend to such juvenile insults.

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So what you are basically saying with the "drawing power" is they're doing it for the money ... which is exactly what they were saying -- americans don't like subtitles, it's just a fact - they are accustomed to a movie not having them so they are less likely to see one that has them which in turn means less money to be made from the movie - it's nothing more than that ...

and I really have to say that this remark "Yes, subs can be difficult in a theater especially sitting behind a 6'4" viewer in a full theater" is utterly ridiculous as you have the same viewing conditions (or even better) as do the Europeans so what's the problem here? These two are just pointless excuses for the point you are trying to make and your argument would have been better off without them...

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I think it goes this way.
All films need money to be made and maybe in Europe /Asia/Africa people are more likely to fund it themselves or the budget is smaller...less high tech effects maybe, more on location.
They are not always successful, but some might be entered at Cannes and other non American festivals or just 'do well' in their own country and word spreads. It may become difficult to finance promos so the only thing to do is sell the rights or whatever. The press rave about the originals but sadly US producers looking for a sure fire money return may take a chance on a remake.
The cast in the remake will be carefully chosen to appeal to a demographic with a guaranteed disposable income. Making millions keeps the producers happy and may fund the odd independent film as a token of goodwill. But I suspect most just walk to the nearest Ferrari salesman.
Remaking classics and/or Shakespeare (and BTW it's only his greatest hits that get the treatment)has some integrity in that it hopefully brings the Bard to new generation every so often and gives the techno dept a chance to show off...(we can create a 13th century castle in Orange County) or Zac Efron can prove he can do an English accent.:) (nothing personal Mr E)
But the more people don't go to the cinema, the more chance of downloading stuff that gets their attention on YT/wiki or Imdb , the more chance of things changing.
It may even go the way of independent sales of your own DVD.
The people taking control from the Man.....WOW! :):)
IMHO

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I think that the fact that this is not even an American film makes the majority of the discussion on this thread moot. It was not an American funded film. Though many American films and TV shows are filmed in Canada they are backed by American production companies, which was not the case here. It was a Canadian/Irish production, and a truly international cast, with no American actors (Sutherland is Canadian, Mullen is Irish, Nardi is Italian, Greene is First Nation Canadian, O'Toole is English, with the rest Canadian or Irish). How you can blame the remake on Americans audiences or Hollywood is ridiculous. And you can tell it was not targeting American audiences. It is too slow moving and deep to be made for us low brow yanks.
I do not think there is any problem with Americans having an air of superiority. Each great culture has had its time and then was surpassed by another. It has been the way of the world since "Civilization" began. So let us have our time in the limelight, saving the world, until another country has the capability to take on the leadership role (or our country gives up the role, as is happening under the current Administration). It is said many other people hate American's for their arrogance. In some way's we have earned that arrogance. I also agree that sometimes we, (meaning those Ugly American's who do not try to understand, adapt or adopt to other cultures) go too far. It reminds me of my vacation in Argentina. My wife and I were getting a gelato and I was having a little trouble with getting my flavor choice understood. As we were leaving, he said something in Spanish about Americans only understanding English. My wife is has a fair amount of Spanish and has a little French. Spanish was my first 'second' language, that I stopped learning 45 years ago, before studying German, Arabic and Korean.
Since I did not see the original, I do not know if the ending was true to its roots. I need an explanation on how/why The Professor and The Thief open their eyes in the morgue and look at each other. How, in the end, The Thief walks into the house and The Professor gets on the train. I was trying to make up some reasons, like it was all planned, that they were fake bullets for the Thief and he was the one that was behind the set-up at the heist so they faked his death and The Professor wanted to run away so he paid the surgeon, making their meeting on the train not as spur of the moment as it appears early on. Unfortunately, that makes no sense (but that means it fits in with the rest of the movie).
As for Mullen's acting, I did not know he was from U2 and this was his first acting role. I felt he did an acceptable job. I thought it was just the director and script that limited his role.

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I agree. I don't see the point of a remake other than for the film company to make a lot of money. I think more English speaking people would go to subtitled films if there were less English films to choose from. I think the other problem is that foreign films are not advertised in the USA like domestic films are. Most people are unaware of what they are missing.

Also, did you know L'homme du train is a remake of 1967 film Faccia a faccia?

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I do not understand what people don't get. No reason "other than for the film company to make a lot of money"? Cinema is an art form yes, but it is a popular and therefore commercial enterprise. Of course the reason is to make money. The reason the company made the original was to make money, so if some company believes it can make money with a remake, it will. End of story. I do agree with the responder who comments that Hollywood is too lazy, or afraid, to pursue fresh material. That is fact, and it is a shame; but from the position of the company execs, it is an investment, and they bet on the closest thing to certainty they can find. It is quite simple.

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