The comparisons made in Part 1 of this article are reminiscent of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I personally watched the 2011 American re-make first, and visually it was mind blowing. From the opening titles alone with its incredible graphics and the pulsing beat of “Immigrant song”, a cover of the Led Zeppelin classic, the audience attention is thrust upon the screen. This intensity is kept throughout the film which unfortunately ruined the suspense of the story and made some scenes unbearable to watch. The American film also added in animal the plot simply to add more violence as it had no impact on the story itself and could have easily been left out. The film as a whole though is a worthwhile watch the acting is strong particularly with the lead Rooney Mara whose portrayal of “Lisbeth” is comparison-able to that of Noomi Rapace in the original Swedish film. Another positive factor of the re-make is the attention given to flash back scenes, though there are commendable efforts in the original the Americans have down to an art building up the tension for the big reveal. Yet the big reveal itself was lacking due to the fact many details had been skimmed over throughout the film and though the end was good it was not satisfying.
The original covers a lot more ground with the story and with the characters. The opening scene of a heartbroken old man crying over a flower created questions and empathy whereas the American version just created confusion. This importance of details is keep up within the film and develops interesting characters as well as some sinister fore-shadowing which the re-make lacks. Paired with the slow sleepy atmosphere of the filming it produces a wonderful suspense highlighted in places by more violent scenes. The ending of the two films differ completely the American version and a confusing character change whereas as the Swedish is more positive suggesting a continuation with an intriguing insight to Lisbeth’s past only briefly mentioned in the re-make. Though films are spectacular to watch the Swedish version trumps the American with the story telling allowing the later film only to considered nothing more than a re-make.
It’s not just foreign films however that receives the Hollywood re-make treatment even its own films are often re-branded for a modern audience. One example of this is “Fright Night”, last year Hollywood delivered us a re-make of the 1985 original which was nothing like the former film. Though marketed as an 18 the original film is more comedy than horror though it does make you jump in places. The true horror of the original is the torment of the viewer knowing that geeky lead “Charley” is right about the vampire next door and will probably end up dead before anyone believes him. However in the modern version it is Ed that is the laughed at nerd rather than his eccentric outcast of the original whilst Charley is a hot former geek, because we couldn’t possibly have a unattractive lead who believes in vampires. This change of dynamic completely ruined the film for me as well lengthening it as first we had to wait for Charley to believe Ed and then the rest of the characters. Colin Farrels “Jerry” was sexed up rugged tradesman next door rather than the aristocratic commanding presence of Chris Sarandon in the original. The new Jerry also acted more psychopath than vampire and it wasn’t until almost the end of the film that I believed he was a mystical beast rather than a lunatic who just happened to bite people. In all the re-make was a disappointing product that was blasphemous to the original with sexed up characters all over the place.
Personally I see no need for remakes, if you loved the original then don’t hurt yourself by watching a reproduction of it, no matter how good it is you’ll always be able to find something you preferred in the original film. Yet American cinema is miles ahead in visual effects and if they could retain the story telling of the former films I believe in future they can create some fantastic re-makes. Still if Hollywood had enough decent screen writers than it wouldn’t need remakes at all.
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