3 Jun 2012

The adaptation of Svenska

I was going to post about the movie  The people vs. George Lucas and discuss whether artists have the right to change their creations post release just as George Lucas has done with  Star Wars, and THX-38 and Steven Speilberg did with ET.

But as I was looking at the news on Stuff it appears that Charlie Gates has posted an article on stuff about the release of ET on Blue ray. 


I sort of feel that my thunder has been stolen a little bit, and while as I write this I realise I had intended to discuss other subjects, I decided to just leave it until tomorrow when I feel less "band wagony".  But if you are interested in the new blue ray release of ET then I think you should check out Mr Gates post on stuff.

What I am going to discuss briefly today is adaptations.

I recently watched   The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,  The American adaption of the Swedish film of the same name. The Swedish film being an adaption of the best selling novels by Stieg Larsson.  The novels are on a list of books I want to read but I haven't as of yet. I did watch the Swedish films with my partner and we both really liked them. We liked them so much that when we heard that Hollywood was making an English version we both cringed. But after hearing about the cast, and then watching the trailer we decided to give it a go.

It was actually very good. I am not going to review it here today, but I will say it was the best adaptation of a foreign film I have ever seen.

In general Hollywood remake foreign films so they capitalise on an already successful product. Much in the same way they produce sequels willy nilly or how I eat Turkish delight.

Here a few examples of Hollywood remakes of foreign films.

The Assassin - Le Femme Nikita (French)
Three fugitives - Les Fugitifs (French)
The Departed - Infernal affairs (Hong Kong)
Let me in - Let the right one in (Swedish)
The Magnificent seven - The Seven Samurai (Japanese)
3 men and a baby - 3 Hommes et un couffin (French)
Dinner for Schmucks - The Dinner game (French)

But the creation behind these adaptations can be less mercenary than I have suggested.  I think it was John Badham the director of Assassin who was the driving force behind the remake because he loved Le Femme Nikita so much. But as it was a French film he thought most Americans would never watch it. He decided to create a version that a main stream audience would watch so he could share a story he loved so much. I can appreciate that sentiment.

Niels Arden Oplev the director of the Swedish adaptation of The girl with the Dragon tattoo was very unhappy about the Hollywood adaptation. He did not se the pont of the english language verison, and thought that it would detract from the wonderful perforamces of the Swedish actors.


And while I have an  automatic cringe response to Hollywood remakes of foreign films Badham is right. So many people will not watch a foreign film. It is not just Americans either.

Oh yes I felt your lip curl in disdain and arrogance at those Americans. But is the New Zealand public any better? or the Australian, or the Canadian or Australian audiences? I don't think so. It might be a shame, but it is a reality that most people do not like subtitled movies. 

But I am not saying there are no terrible remakes. While I said I appreciated Mr Badhams sentiment,  I did not enjoy the execution however. I thought Assassin was rubbish, and certainly not on parr with the original.

After viewing both versions of  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I wonder if the American remake is more based on the book? But then the look of the American version mirrored the Swedish film in many ways. Any way both are good and if you like foreign films, or just great films give The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a go. I will do a proper review later.

But in the mean time, Bra gjort Noomi Rapace, bra gjort!

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