When are remakes acceptable?

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Everyone\'s asking the same thing, has Hollywood run out of ideas? The trend toward remaking any film that was remotely successful is growing larger, much like the pockets of the Hollywood big wigs. It\'s perhaps reaching an all time level of crazy with the upcoming remake of Death at a Funeral, less than three years after the original, only shifting the setting from London to America and making the whole cast black. They\'ve even recast Peter Dinklage in the exact role as a homosexual dwarf.

Outside of monetary possibilities, it\'s a wonder why they would remake such a recent film that\'s even in the English language. Despite the original film\'s success in Australia, drawing a solid box office for a relatively small film, it was scarcely seen in America. Obviously it\'s aimed at appealing to the same audience that the Tyler Perry films continue to draw in, film after film, taking advantage of the original film flying under the radar.

Aside from this ludicrous example, the argument could be made that the idea is to take old films and render them relevant to modern society and also to allow the story to take full advantage of the technology available now. But then there\'s remakes like Gus Van Sant\'s Psycho which manage to be gob smackingly awful despite being shot for shot identical with the original masterpiece, only with poor actors and a bizarre orange and green colour scheme. Why?! This year alone we can expect a remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Robin Hood, The Karate Kid, and more.

Even for foreign language films, I\'m sure the directors of the remake argue that they are bringing the story to a new audience. With upcoming retakes of Let the Right One In, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and even The Lives Of Others in the pipeline, it appears that almost any foreign language film with international success will get fast tracked to a Hollywood remake. It almost seems a contradiction that the foreign films with the most exposure in western countries are the ones that get remade again for them. Shouldn\'t it be that, if any, the unseen gems get remade?

You could almost see logic in remaking bad films, in an attempt to grant a potentially good story a new life. But then again they tried that with Clash of the Titans and look what happened there... Essentially what it comes down to is people\'s laziness. Rather than seeking out classic, foreign or independent films, it\'s easier to grab it off the new release shelf when it stars someone with a seven figure pay check. There is also people\'s stigmatism against reading subtitles or watching a film in black and white.

 However, it is likely that the reason remakes are a cash cow for production companies is because the audience is curious. Much like the anticipation of a beloved book being adapted to the big screen, a remake makes an audience wonder \"How will they do it? What will be different? What will be the same? Who will they cast?\" Even though most of the time people come out disappointed, having seen a sloppy commercialised rehash of the original, occasionally a remake can be fresh, engaging and feature an appropriate reimagining. So at the end of the day, like any film really, the success relies on the talent that lies behind it, and regardless of the origins, a good film, is a good film. Take for example The Departed, a remake that debatably outdid the original film Infernal Affairs, taking the story to glorious new heights in capable hands.

 The Clash of the Titans is in current release now, and Death at a Funeral is expected to be released later this year depending on the film\'s reception in the US. So expect it to head straight to DVD.

Comments

kat 09 Sep 2010 02:06

i loved the original it was funny cause it was brithish humour the americans will ruin it

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