English Film adaptations of International Films

So this comes off the back of watching the US remake of Old Boy on Netflix. I mean, I didn't have particularly high hopes, but it felt like both a scene-for-scene rip-off of the original yet at the same time an empty husk - for instance, they tried to recreate the iconic fight scene in the corridor but failed to come even close to pulling it off. Which brings me to the point. Thinking back, I can't remember any English adaptations of international movies which have held up to the original at all. Old Boy was lousy, the US version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo doesn't even compare to the Swedish version, and I only heard bad things about the recent Ghost in the Shell.

So the question is - which films do you think have been well-adapted? Or if there aren't any, what's the issue? Is it the cultural differences making the story disjointed from the setting? The differences in style between US movies and those in other countries? The fact that a remake almost by definition attempts to capture the essence of an existing movie rather than blaze its own trail?

Maybe The Ring?

How close of an adaption are we talking here? Because The Magnificent Seven is a pretty good US remake of Seven Samurai

Palindromemordnilap:
How close of an adaption are we talking here? Because The Magnificent Seven is a pretty good US remake of Seven Samurai

Actually, good shout. I have been meaning to watch that for a while...

The Grudge was pretty cool, too(Ju-On).

Funny Games is an interesting one because it was adapted almost exactly ten years after the original, by the same director, using the same set and same props and is an almost identical shot-for-shot remake.

I don't know that it is the kind of film that one gains a lot from watching it in it's original German, so I suppose the remake could be just as impactful. I've only watched the original, however.

Are you talking about English remakes or English-language (i.e. usually North American) remakes? Quite a difference there.

Catnip1024:
Or if there aren't any, what's the issue? Is it the cultural differences making the story disjointed from the setting? The differences in style between US movies and those in other countries? The fact that a remake almost by definition attempts to capture the essence of an existing movie rather than blaze its own trail?

That about sums it up. Values dissonance, differences in style, failing to understand to source material, or in the case of Dragon Ball Evolution, trying to appeal to an audience the source material was not aimed at.

Palindromemordnilap:
How close of an adaption are we talking here? Because The Magnificent Seven is a pretty good US remake of Seven Samurai

This was my first thought as well, but this film attempted to translate more than just the words into English.

Oldboy though, things like that hallway fight made more sense in no-gun Korea. Makes less sense in the US.

Squilookle:
Are you talking about English remakes or English-language (i.e. usually North American) remakes? Quite a difference there.

Well, if we are being picky (or accurate), I will clarify that I meant English language. Hence why I am talking about US films in the OP.

I mean, I can't think of many British remakes of foreign films to start with.

Saelune:
Oldboy though, things like that hallway fight made more sense in no-gun Korea. Makes less sense in the US.

Yup. The other thing that bugged me about that scene was that they mimicked the way that they moved in the Korean version, which doesn't really make sense for a bunch of white US thugs. Western thuggery takes a different style to Korean thuggery, and they should have built it around that if they were going to do it at all.

First that come to mind is Let me In. The adaptation is just as good(if not better).

Catnip1024:
and I only heard bad things about the recent Ghost in the Shell.

Rest assured that if you heard bad things, you heard them correctly.

Also, if we're adding lousy English adaptations of foreign films, you can add 'The Secret in Their Eyes' to the list.

"International films"?
Pretty sure there's no such thing as "international" films.
Is this just for Hollywood adaptations?

stroopwafel:
First that come to mind is Let me In. The adaptation is just as good(if not better).

Good call. Very solid remake of the original Swedish film.

Frankly, I've always found the entire concept confusing and infuriating.

I mean, if you think a movie is worth adapting, then certainly you think it's good enough that people would be interested in in the first place, so really... what's the point? And if it's simply a language problem, then certainly subtitles or dubbing over the original would be a far more cost-effective solution than making what's essentially a whole new movie?

Ogoid:
Frankly, I've always found the entire concept confusing and infuriating.

I mean, if you think a movie is worth adapting, then certainly you think it's good enough that people would be interested in in the first place, so really... what's the point? And if it's simply a language problem, then certainly subtitles or dubbing over the original would be a far more cost-effective solution than making what's essentially a whole new movie?

Yeah, always seemed to be a weird US thing to me, Hollywood thinks people are allergic to non-US films, so they have to redo them with Americans otherwise the audience comes out in spots or something?

Just thought of one - Quarantine. Or at least in the sense that while I can't compare it to Rec, I think it's a pretty decent horror film in its own right.

Ogoid:

I mean, if you think a movie is worth adapting, then certainly you think it's good enough that people would be interested in in the first place, so really... what's the point? And if it's simply a language problem, then certainly subtitles or dubbing over the original would be a far more cost-effective solution than making what's essentially a whole new movie?

That's true for the most part, but I can imagine that adapting it can be worth it if it suits the cultural context. While I haven't seen either, supposedly Seven Samurai & Magnificent Seven are an example of this.

Something that doesn't work in this case is 'The Secret in Their Eyes'. Part of why the original works is that it takes place in Argentina decades ago, where its plot ties in heavily with the class divide within the country. People can get away with certain things easily due to their higher social status. In contrast, the US adaptation falls short, because it tries to recontextualize it in the context of the early post-9/11 era. However, it just doesn't work. It doesn't work as social commentary, nor does it keep within credulity.

Have heard the Animal Kingdom TV series is ok. If Aussie to American counts. And if 'ok' counts. And if 'film to series' adaptation counts.

Ogoid:
Frankly, I've always found the entire concept confusing and infuriating.

I mean, if you think a movie is worth adapting, then certainly you think it's good enough that people would be interested in in the first place, so really... what's the point? And if it's simply a language problem, then certainly subtitles or dubbing over the original would be a far more cost-effective solution than making what's essentially a whole new movie?

Meh! A lot of people simply can't appreciate a good movie if it doesn't have Hollywood actors. Besides, dubbing and filming are two separate industries.

Tayh:
"International films"?
Pretty sure there's no such thing as "international" films.
Is this just for Hollywood adaptations?

Well, the Netflix genre categories beg to differ. I don't know what a better term would be, though - "Foreign"?

I mean - if you can think of non-Hollywood / US reboots of foreign films / series', feel free to suggest them. I was struggling to think of any.

Xsjadoblayde:
Have heard the Animal Kingdom TV series is ok. If Aussie to American counts. And if 'ok' counts. And if 'film to series' adaptation counts.

Yeah, TV counts. And English-language to English-language adaptations, because that would let me complain about the US reboot of the Office.

Along with Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven, there's also Yojimbo adapted into A Fistful of Dollars and (though not as good) Last Man Standing. Haven't seen all of the last one but I swear there are numerous bits of AFoD that are almost identical to Yojimbo as far as cinematography goes.

Some remakes do make sense, as it adapts the material in a way that will be more familiar for the intended audience. American viewers at the time were much more comfortable with a Western film than they would have been with a subbed/dubbed Samurai film, so adapting Kurosawa's films into Westerns is a logical solution for someone wanting to bring those stories to an American audience.

True Lies is an good adaptation of an old French movie that nobody remembers.
The Departed is, in my opinion, better than the original Infernal Affairs from Japan. The acting is better, it looks better (probably because of the budget difference) and the ending is solid and conclusive, unlike the sequel baiting original.

Hawki:

Catnip1024:
and I only heard bad things about the recent Ghost in the Shell.

Rest assured that if you heard bad things, you heard them correctly.

What was it that you think was bad about it?
Personally, i quite enjoyed it aside from the obvious reveal they hinted at half way through. Would've been good if they'd just stuck with a remake/adaption of the original rather than switching it up half way through and doing a pick and mix of scenes from through out the franchise, but atleast those scenes were well done. With that being said, its been awhile since i last saw it so maybe i never noticed/can't remember the issues

Vanilla ISIS:

The Departed is, in my opinion, better than the original Infernal Affairs from Japan. The acting is better, it looks better (probably because of the budget difference) and the ending is solid and conclusive, unlike the sequel baiting original.

Came here to say this.
"Departed" might be the exception to the rule, solely due to Scorsese directing it, though.

COMaestro:
Along with Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven, there's also Yojimbo adapted into A Fistful of Dollars and (though not as good) Last Man Standing. Haven't seen all of the last one but I swear there are numerous bits of AFoD that are almost identical to Yojimbo as far as cinematography goes.

Was about to mention Yojimbo/AFOD as well, but i remembered it was made by an italian director in Spain, so not sure if it qualifies entirely.

I kind of like 'Let The Right One In'.

It wasn't better than the original, but it wasn't horrible as well.

Ogoid:
Frankly, I've always found the entire concept confusing and infuriating.

I mean, if you think a movie is worth adapting, then certainly you think it's good enough that people would be interested in in the first place, so really... what's the point? And if it's simply a language problem, then certainly subtitles or dubbing over the original would be a far more cost-effective solution than making what's essentially a whole new movie?

I always have the impression they remake movies to strip them of their cultural influence. No matter the genre American movies are stylistically very recognizable so these studios probably have the assumption that if they remake(or 'americanize') a movie that it connects better with the audience. Which might or might not be true considering foreign films are a fairly niche market compared to Hollywood productions.

I haven't seen the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo but I liked the David Fincher version.
People already mentioned Let Me In or however it was called as well, good movie.

Hawki:
Something that doesn't work in this case is 'The Secret in Their Eyes'. Part of why the original works is that it takes place in Argentina decades ago, where its plot ties in heavily with the class divide within the country. People can get away with certain things easily due to their higher social status. In contrast, the US adaptation falls short, because it tries to recontextualize it in the context of the early post-9/11 era. However, it just doesn't work. It doesn't work as social commentary, nor does it keep within credulity.

Yup.

i think most of the time, when people that are aware of the orignal material see a hollywood adaptation of that movie, it feel just wrong. often the americans just keep the base idea and base everything that made the movie a good movie in the first time.

Delivery Man (original movie : Starbuck) with vince vaughn was nowhere as funny as the the original movie starbuck

Ed TV (original movie : louis 19 le roi des ondes) just completly scrap the original movie idea. the original movie was about a complete looser, who have the only dream to be on tv win a contest that will show his life 24/7, but now that he's on tv, suddently he become popular, but most people just want to share his fame, and have no real interrest in him. the tv show production even staged a few drama to happen to him, without him knowing this. and all the suddent he realised his life is now a nightmare and do everything he can to get the show cancel, to regain his former life.

Dinner for Schmucks (original movie : le diner de cons) was a fantastic french movie, but again, the remake with steve caroll was not as funny.

maybe it's just a cultural thing. but i can list plenty of american remake that i think that fall short of the original. 3 men and a baby (original movie : 3 hommes et un couffin), jungle 2 jungle (original movie : un indien dans la ville), point of no return (original movie : Nikita), taxi (original movie : Taxi (but in french))... but i must admit the birdcage (original movie : la cage aux folles) i did appreciated the remake more...

Catnip1024:

Tayh:
"International films"?
Pretty sure there's no such thing as "international" films.
Is this just for Hollywood adaptations?

Well, the Netflix genre categories beg to differ. I don't know what a better term would be, though - "Foreign"?

I mean - if you can think of non-Hollywood / US reboots of foreign films / series', feel free to suggest them. I was struggling to think of any.

i know a couple of french canadian movies that were remake in France. so a french remake of a french movie... La grande s?duction, Starbuck (that was also remake by the USA), de p?re en flic are three movies i can think of.

Vanilla ISIS:

The Departed is, in my opinion, better than the original Infernal Affairs from Japan. The acting is better, it looks better (probably because of the budget difference) and the ending is solid and conclusive, unlike the sequel baiting original.

Infernal Affairs was made in Hong Kong, boyo.

And IMHO it is much better than The Departed if only because the latter was sloppily edited, way too melodramatic and overwrought and basically did nothing to change the story aside from setting it in Boston. It added very little and was way too "Hollywood-ized" if that makes any sense. It did have a better soundtrack, though.

It's an all right film but Scorsese has made way better crime films and, in my opinion, better films in general.

 

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