The remakes that nobody knows are remakes
You might not know it yet, but one of your favorite movies could be a remake of a famous Asian film. All these years, Hollywood has made it perfectly clear that it can adapt and change whatever story is popular in other countries and make it their own. So much so, that you might even forget that your favorite movie is not the original.
Hollywood’s aim is to attract the American audience by adapting foreign stories that need no adaptation whatsoever. And in the process, they can even ruin cinematic masterpieces because they focus on the ideals that the audience from this side of the world have. But hey, this is not always the case.
My Family Cinema has selected some remakes and their original counterparts to see their differences and similarities. Maybe you can have your own opinion about the topic at the end of the article. But, in the meantime, we can even turn it into a competition. We will score each film and its remake from 1 (bad) to 5 (amazing) taking into account the information we have and provide. You can later write your score in the comments!
Plot: A journalist must investigate a cursed videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone who watches it.
MFC thoughts: We can’t fail to mention that both films were co-written by Kōji Suzuki, author of the horror novel Ringu on which the movies are based on. The plots are very similar, that’s for sure, but there are some differences. In Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata, the cursed videotape is short, creepy and mostly silent, whereas in The ring, starring Naomi Watts, it’s much more graphic and tries to scare you all the time. The Japanese version is visually much darker, subdued and filled with shadows, but The ring has most of its scenes in green or blue, which is quite strange at first sight.
Plot: An undercover policeman infiltrates a gang. A career criminal infiltrates the police department. Now both of their covers are in danger.
MFC thoughts: When we talk about these two movies, we must mention the speed in which the story is told. Infernal Affairs, starring Tony Leung and Andy Lau, is much faster paced, whereas The Departed, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, just over explains everything. Moreover, the American version does a better job at showing how the main characters are feeling and how they are dealing with their current situation, and makes it perfectly clear that their birthplace dictates their future.
Plot: A man bored with his life routine decides to take on ballroom dance lessons to find the missing passion in his life.
MFC thoughts: The main difference between the two versions are the characters. In the Japanese version, directed by Masayuki Suo, you don’t really know much about them, you don’t get to know their back story. However, in Shall we dance, starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, the characters are more stereotypical and even provide some comedy relief. Another significant difference is the context in which each film takes place. The American version shows that dancing is the characters’ way of being free from the daily routine, but in Shall we ダンス? the main character takes his dance classes more seriously because he knows society will be hard on him and the choice he made.
Plot: Due to a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of extreme rage or sorrow, a revengeful spirit kills anyone that dares to enter its home.
MFC thoughts: First of all, we have to say that both films were directed by Takashi Shimizu, a true genius. But, in the American version, he did not participate in the creation of the script which, in our opinion, makes the difference. As in most American films, The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, is more romantic and has detective elements that we do not see in Ju-On. In a horror movie, we just want to see horror, there is no need to add other elements to make it more gripping. As far as special effects are concerned, it’s a matter of choice. In the Japanese version, Shimizu had a decent budget to work with, but nothing can beat Hollywood’s CGI… or so we thought, because in The Grudge some scenes look more ridiculous than frightening.
This remake fever still has a long way to go. But is it actually necessary to produce them? In his acceptance speech, after Parasite won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes, director Bong Joon Ho said: “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” And he has a point. We should be able to embrace new cultures through the movies that portray them instead of allowing subtitles to stop us from watching cinematic art that can truly inspire us.
Well, that was fun! Let us know in the comment or in our social media what score you gave to each film and which one is your ultimate favorite!