Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Lost in Translation?

A few thoughts on the cons (and pros) of English language remakes

“English. English. English is best. I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest.” So goes the logic of the Hollywood executive it seems, as they continue to commission English language remakes of foreign films. It is rightly assumed that executives are pro these remakes because of their seemingly predictable financial success. The idea has already found an audience and is now being translated into English for a wider, western audience.

The figures do not back this up however. The most common rehashes are of oriental horror films such as The Ring, The Grudge and Dark Water. Some of these do achieve huge financial success in their English forms (The Ring), but many do averagely or worse (Dark Water was a big flop).

However, whilst the misguided accountant has clear (if wrong) reasons for wanting to remake the films, the filmmaker’s motives are often more questionable. Why remake a film unless you wanted to do something new with it?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Review: Prometheus

In film, no one builds worlds like Ridley Scott

It has often been said that Ridley Scott is at his best when he is creating worlds. Gladiator and Blade Runner stand as testament to this, but on a smaller scale, though no less impressive, sits Alien, his 1979 Sci-Fi horror.

The success of that film is down largely to its incredible design. Not only do we have the worn-down, yet futuristic, confined spaceship, but in the film’s first act we have this intriguing planet, complete with mysterious, wrecked starship and an infestation of the eponymous beasties. The world is complete, draws you in and makes a not too comfortable place to have your fears played out.

That legacy of original design was trampled upon in James Cameron’s bland, action follow-up, Aliens, and the less said about Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection the better, but now, 33 years after the original, we get a new edition from the Alien universe: Prometheus.

Scott has hesitated to call this a prequel. Whilst it technically is, one can see just cause for his reticence. This film could readily stand on its own, so if you haven’t seen the original film, this is open to you. If you have seen the original, then let me assure you: it will be satisfying.