Americanization: Does it it need to happen to our cinema?
September 27, 2010
Slasher films, super heroes & “rom-coms” all come to mind when we think about American films. We love our movies as much as we love action, suspense, explosions and the far fetched scenarios seen on the screen. Luckily for America, we have a little ‘ol place called ‘Hollywood’ to bring us the thrills and chills that movie goers seek. But there is a certain stigma about American cinema that differentiates it from foreign films. It could be the differences in culture, dialogue, humor or overall tone to foreign films- but there is a difference, and mainstream American culture does not support it. American cinema is a lot about profit, where foreign films do not even reach the marketplace. A combination of distribution rights, script re-writes, and seeing our favorite stars as the lead = a formula for an American re-make of a foreign film.
It could be the charm lost in the process, or the entire essence of the film lost in translation- but ultimately American remakes are not as good as their counterparts.
Currently, there is a lot of controversy over the newest remake to hit theaters this Friday: Let Me In.
Let Me In is a 2010 American–British drama/horror film by Cloverfield’s director, Matt Reeves. The movie is based on the novel Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist and also the Swedish film adaptation of the same name.
Let the Right One In, was released in 2008 and received extremely high praise from American critics. Roger Ebert called the film “The best modern vampire movie”, with “97% Fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes. “Bloody Disgusting ranked the film first in their list of the ‘Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade’, with the article saying ‘It’s rare enough for a horror film to be good; even rarer are those that function as genuine works of art. Let the Right One In is one of those films – an austerely beautiful creation that reveals itself slowly, like the best works of art do’.”
Needless to say, this movie was beautifully done with no room for argumentation.
So why the need for an American remake?
Producer Simon Oaks, explains to FearNet : “There is a doggerel element to it in terms of the mood and setting. So I think it takes it out into a more accessible setting. I think perhaps there is a little more characterization in terms of the two central characters. To be perfectly frank with you, this is making an astonishing story – which however hard you might try or I might try to get people to go see the original, they’re never going to do it – more accessible to a much larger audience.”
But is this really true? Do we really have to experience already great stories going through a generalization for us to go and spend money on films?
When comparing Let Me In to Let the Right One In, stills have already shown the uncanny similarities.
The images from Let the Right One In (bottom) seem colder with a more realistic element to them, whereas Let Me In (top) seems to look more like a typical horror movie and has the star of Kick-Ass, Chloe Moretz.
One more week and we will know which elements Reeves has decided to keep and which of those he has changed for his American audience. But for a film that seems so similar to its foreign counterpart, what is really the point? Maybe Hollywood will finally prove us wrong by adapting to a certain audience while simultaneously keeping the essential magic of the story alive…or undead.