I’ve decided one of the best ways to decide what movie to watch is to find out what international movies are being remade by Hollywood, and then watch the international version instead. Denisa and I watched La Chevre the other night (IMDB rating: 7.1), a very fun French film that was later remade as Pure Luck, with Martin Short and Danny Glover (IMDB rating: 5.1. See a difference?).
I had seen the remake years ago, and I remembered enjoying it as a light piece of fluff. So when I saw La Chevre pop up on Netflix Instant, I decided to give it a whirl, and I’m very glad I did. The premise is simple: a very unlucky girl goes missing, and so a very unlucky man is sent after her to find her. They’re both unlucky in the extreme. If one chair is broken among fifty, they’ll inevitably choose that chair to sit in. Accidents happen wherever they go. All the time.
The French original has a lot of really creative bits in it. Not quite a family film (Pure Luck was, as I recall)–it’s got some risque elements, but nothing that pushes the PG-13 boundaries. Definitely a fun three stars, where the remake was maybe 2 or 2.5.
So many people complain that film adaptations are never as good as the books they’re based on. That’s debatable in my book–comparing oranges to apples. A fair fight is American remakes to their international counterparts. I’ve watched a fair number in my time, and they’re always worse. 13 Tzameti, La Femme Nikita, Seven Samurai, Let the Right One In, The Orphanage–all great movies. All remade for America, because apparently American audiences don’t like to read subtitles.
What’s so bad about subtitles? They’re tons better than dubbing, which just ruins a movie for me. You can still get a sense of the original acting, the emotion, the mood, through subtitles. A sense you lose when you dub. And when you remake the entire film . . .
Look at it this way. The original was made by people who felt passionate about the material, typically. They created the idea from infancy on. The remakers? They took the idea fully formed, then xeroxed it into a different language. A copy is never as good as the original. Sure, you have cases where the remake is done with care and effort. Sometimes you end up a with a really good end result, but more often than not? Dreck. Take a 4 star movie and turn it into a 3 star. It’s a travesty.
Or am I just a film snob?
Such is my lot in life.
Anybody out there got any remakes they really loved? Or ones they just hated once they were remade? Please share–what to watch, and what to avoid.