This month has seen the release of yet another Hollywood remake, this time of the classic 2009 Swedish film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. For the uninitiated, the plot is not, as you may think, a cautionary tale of a young Scandinavian girl who holidays in Goa and decides to get a cheap tattoo on her ankle whilst drunk, only to wake up the next day with what looks like elephantiasis. It is in fact a dark psychological thriller, with subtitles for those who don’t know their hurdy from their gurdy.
The remake stars Daniel Craig and
Wayne Rooney Rooney Mara, and comes complete with English language script, naturally, and swanky website that has puzzling catchphrases that Yoda would be proud of, such as evil shall with evil be expelled, and what is hidden in snow, comes forth in the thaw. So, if you really can’t be bothered to read subtitles, then you can watch the new version and find out exactly what they hide in the snow.
But the question that I want to ask is why? I’ve nothing against remaking old films to bring them up-to-date with cutting edge movie technology, but it’s been only two years since the original which, on its own merit, met with much critical acclaim worldwide.
And of course, Hollywood has a dubious track record. Most notorious has to be the remake of The Italian Job, the vintage British film set… in Italy, but still quintessentially British. Fast-forward to 2003 and the all-new and improved Italian Job is set in… California. Wrong. Just so wrong. More like The Bodge Job. And unblievably, clearly missing the innuendo in the title, it is rumoured that they are considering making a sequel called the Brazilian Job! Presumably set in a beauty salon. Anyone for a ‘Brazilian’ girls?
Other remakes are rumoured to be in the pipeline and I’m at liberty to give you the exclusive synopses of these films, with information garnered from my multiple industry contacts.
Lord of the Rings – in association with Cash4Gold. Bilbo Baggins falls on hard times and decides to abort the quest to Mount Doom to destroy the ring, instead choosing a risk-free cash alternative.
Flashdance – the remake stars the Chippendales with an 18 (rated R) certificate. In 3-D. Catch that one in selected ‘theatres’.
Lawrence of Albania – the original 1962 film is given a modern, European edge as Lawrence is torn between his home country and his new mafia comrades. The camel train makes way for a convoy of old Trabants as he navigates his journey across the country.
Gladiators – you’ve all seen the fabulous Russell Crowe in the 2003 classic so steel yourself for the 2011 version that makes the most of commercial opportunities by bringing the story into the 21st century with the gladiators of the hit television series. Be amazed as Decimus Maximus fights off Nitro with a giant cotton-bud. Including special guest appearances from the controversial Westboro Baptist Church as ‘the christians’, armed only with bibles. And God hates steroid abusers placards.
Greece (the musical) – Danny and Sandy rekindle their romance on the beach of Kos, taking advantage of the favourable dollar/euro exchange rate in the ailing Greek economy. Sing along as they make sweet melodies whilst dodging molotov cocktails and plates hurled from anti-austerity cuts protesters.
The Godfather – this time starring Silvio Berlusconi as the mafia don Corleone. Expect the addition of multiple sex scenes with 18-year-old ‘friends’ of Corleone (all apparently ‘integral’ to the plot). In a new twist, Corleone decides to run for Prime Minister to avoid prosecution for financial irregularities. Yes, I know, sounds a but far-fetched. Only in the movies…
Glad you like it Miss Meddle.
I was a little confused as to why they’ve re-made it so soon, or indeed re-made it at all. Look out for the remake of 13 (Tzameti) coming to a cinema near you soon… a re-make of a beautiful French noir film, full of suspense and the kind of grit you can only ever really feel from European cinema… which will now be starring Ray Winstone and 50 Cent. I mean… REALLY? I might even go and see it, just so I can sit there wailing throughout the entire thing.
Ray Winstone and 50c?! I’ve just looked that up to check if you were joking, but you’re not. That has to be so bad.
Ha! Your remakes are hilarious.
I will say, in defense of the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” movie, is that the Swedish version is actually a miniseries. It wasn’t actually shot as a fast-paced movie, so I think there’s room to have both versions.
The original is not a mini-series, it’s a film that’s part of a trilogy of ‘Girl With…’ titles, all connected. So the remake is just a new version of the first film.
The Swedish version is a six-part television miniseries, no? Is the miniseries different than the Swedish movies?
Oh I didn’t know there was a mini-series before the films. I stand corrected. So there are two separate Swedish adaptations of the books!
What exclusives do you have on remakes of Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music? Actually, how come Hollywood hasn’t tried either of those on for size? 😆
Love your Gladiators proposal, it would probably be a hit!
Not sure about Mary Poppins, but the word on the street is that the Sound of Music will be remade as a new gangsta version starring Kelis singing ‘My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard’. Has to be seen to be believed.
Would love to read your synopsis on the inevitable remake of Flashdance!
You heard about that? I thought it was a secret. I’ve edited the post to include it.
Quality of a film will always win out over smoke and mirror issues the writer here brings up. First, the 2011 Girl with a Dragon Tattoo is NOT a remake. In a press release dated February, 2009, an executive for Yellow Bird, Soren Starmose, stated that they were negotiations for a Hollywood adaptation of the bestseller. To say that Hollywood was looking to remake a film that hadn’t been released or hadn’t yet found an international distributor makes no sense. Hollywood was going to make an adaptation (not a remake)regardless of whether the films were ever made. It is worth noting that Yellow Bird originally produced the films for television and were pressured to release them in theaters. Hollywood can’t be the only for-profit-bad-guy as Swedish film industry was also milking their mini-series quality adaptations of Larsson’s work. These films are Swedish but they’re not Bergman.
In the end, regardless of timing, quality wins out. There are so many ways Hollywood could have cheapened the adaptation but Sony hired a talented screenwriter, put the project in the hands of a visionary director, gave him a budget and final cut. They fully developed one film in the time it took Yellow Bird to crank out three television quality movies. To write off a film under false assumption that it was a cheap Hollywood remake is as shallow as not seeing a film because of subtitles.
I wouldn’t say shallow. Maybe too judgemental. I stand corrected. Although your point about budget isn’t entirely valid. A film doesn’t need a big budget to have artistic credibility and be engrossing.
Though my criticism still stands for The Italian Job and other pointless remakes that come out years after the orignal and offer nothing new.