Saturday, August 21, 2010

Let the Right One Remain an Original

Dear Hollywood,

Was there any real necessity to remake a perfectly good movie released only two years ago, just so that Americans don't have to read subtitles?

Yours truly,

Based and the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In was a 2008 Swedish film following Oskar, a twelve year old severely bullied at school and who dreams of violently squaring revenge on his tormentors.  He then meets Eli, about twelve herself, who just moved into his apartment complex.  Eli is strange; she smells, she's cold, and she's dressed inappropriately for the weather, barefoot and in a flimsy shirt despite the winter temperatures (yes, she's a vampire).  They began a strange relationship; curiously, Eli's appearance correlates with a sudden murder in Oskar's neighbourhood..

The book on which the movie is based is truly amazing; the amount of subplots and characters interwoven and unknowingly connected unfolds at an accelerated rate with unbelievable suspense.  The movie, of course, omits more unnecessary characters to keep the pace constant, all the while capturing the core of the book - the strange relationship between the young Oskar and the seemingly young Eli - in beautiful visuals.  It's tough for me to pick which I preferred.

Although in Swedish, with subtitles, I found myself forgetting that I was reading nearly ten minutes into the movie - not that it impacted much, as dialogue is sparse throughout the film.  Visually, the movie is absolutely stunning; being a bit of a fan of cinematography in movies I was in heaven with this movie.  Due to an Academy loophole, the movie was unable to be submitted for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, even though Sweden had selected it as its candidate.  Although the movie is centered around vampires with occasional flashes of intense gore, it stands as an incredible film from a cinematic point of view.

Imagine my reaction when learning it was rushed into being remade for North American audiences, due in your theaters on October 1st.

The story has been Americanized.  Oskar is no longer Oskar; Oskar is now Owen.  Eli, changed to Abby - thus effectively eliminating a plot point (I'd say, but I'd spoil too much).  If fact, one of the biggest plots (and twists) of both the book and original movie has been removed, in fears of it being "too intense" for American audiences.

You know, all it comes down to is Americans - or, more correctly, North Americans, including us - are too fucking lazy to even consider watching a movie in a different language with subtitles.  There was no reason to remake this movie aside from that; sure, it's considered to some to be a classic, and classics are as of late being remade; but the movie came out TWO YEARS AGO.  In no way is it outdated; in no way did it need a twenty-first century face lift.  Coupled with the laziness of this generation, the remake is an obvious attempt to keep relevant to the sudden influx of vampire pop culture.

To play my own devil's advocate, the director seems passionate about the source material - both the original and the book - and seems genuinely excited about the film.  The footage in the trailers nearly seems like a carbon copy of the original's imagery, which might be a good thing for the remake, since the original was so beautifully shot.  On the flip side, it could be viewed upon as lazy copying.  Also, the kids playing the two leads are respectable and good actors - Boy from The Road, and Hit Girl from Kick-Ass.

Sure, you can sit there and decide I'm just a stubborn believer against remakes, but that may very well be the case.  I fail to see any reason that such an excellent film needed to be remade.  Distribution to a wider audience isn't a valid reason, as the Blockbuster ten minutes away from my house had three copies of the original.

All I can say is... if Pan's Labyrinth is the next on the list to be remake, there'll be hell to pay.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed! I hope that the remake doesn't suck balls. And I pray to god that there isn't a Pan Labyrinth Remake!!!!