Monday, February 28, 2011

re-makes suck

So, out of curiosity (and knowing that this year's Oscars were going to be a snooze), I decided to watch Let Me In, the Americanized version of Let the Right One In, to see how they compared.

I should have known better.

I was so hopeful! gave it an 89% approval rating by a wide variety of critics. That's a good sign, right?


Let the Right One In was just so fantastic, and I loved that it let you use your imagination and draw your own conclusions. Let Me In made unnecessary changes that spelled everything out for the audience and removed all of the subtleties that made the original so intriguing.

And, to be fair, Let Me In was hindered from the start (for me, anyway) by the presence of Cody Smit-McPhee. He aggravated the crap out of me in The Road with Viggo Mortensen. Something about that kid just makes me want to smack him. I feel guilty for having that thought, let alone sharing it, but in retrospect it definitely affected how I felt about both films that I've seen him in. It's a bad sign when you have trouble sympathizing with the protagonist.

It's not just movies, either. Television producers are just as guilty of corrupting source material. Anyone have fond thoughts of the Bionic Woman and Knight Rider re-makes? Oh, and NBC? Please make sure that your current remake projects, Wonder Woman and Prime Suspect, kick butt. You need them to be hits and the source material is pretty revered.

Speaking of Prime Suspect, there have been several other re-makes of British t.v. on U.S. airwaves this winter: Shameless, Skins and Being Human, to name a few. Of those three, Shameless came closest to being good t.v., but having been a fan of the original it just felt odd to see other actors portraying characters I care about - and not in a good way. Skins and Being Human just fell completely flat.

Can you think of exceptions to the re-makes suck rule? Battlestar Galactica comes immediately to mind, but beyond that I'm grasping at straws.

(I could get into t.v. / movie crossover remakes, but that is potentially another blog post.)


  1. Really should be sleeping, but ran across this on the way to bed.

    First off, ditto on not loving Let Me In, and for very similar reasons. I don't remember having a particular problem with the boy, though I didn't love him. I just recently saw "The Road," which is a pale shadow of the book (one of the best things I've ever read, so much so that I'm teaching it this Spring). I wanted to smack him in the movie, but took that as something the movie had gotten right, as I wanted to smack The Boy in the book...

    On the Remakes That Don't Suck list, I'd put Ocean's Eleven. WIll have to think on it some more for others, though. And do not speak of the terrible travesty that was Bionic Woman - it had such potential and was wasted -- WASTED, I SAY! I don't even want to think about what a mess they're going to make of Wonder Woman. I only wish I had the will not to watch it.

  2. Also, the remake of 12 Angry Men was very good.

    OK, I'm going to bed for real!

  3. I feel like I saw a good remake once... yeah, I can't think of anything.

    Over the weekend, I suffered through part of the new Friday the 13th again, and it is such a poor imitation of the original that it makes me sad for Jared Padalecki. (What is he Polish now? Loved the most recent meta episode of SPN.)

  4. @C - You're right, Ocean's Eleven is a terrific re-make :)

    @Jen - I found Jared's Friday the 13th re-make slightly more palatable than Jensen's My Bloody Valentine re-make. Of course, that's not saying a whole lot since both were terrible. I really wish my beloved Winchesters would get something worthy of their talent. (Especially Jensen, lol)

  5. I'm a bit late to the party, but in terms of film remakes that are pretty good, I would nominate:

    1) The Departed, a remake of Infernal Affairs
    2) John Carpenter's remake of The Thing. It's one of my favorite horror movies.
    3) Invasion of the Body Snatchers - both the 1950s original and the 1978 remake are fantastic.
    4) I've actually never seen it, but plenty of folks are shocked to find out that Al Pacino's Scarface is actually a remake.