Original vs Remake: Hollywood’s Need to Retell the Story (or the Lack Thereof)

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“The World of Apu” is a bimonthly, diverse, and multilingual online film magazine which explores film cultures from around the world.

Below you can find my analysis on a few international films, not particularly well-known ones, that have spawned renowned Hollywood successes (whether critical or commercial). Maybe I can get you to watch either or both of them, and then get you to ask if the Hollywood remake added to the existing film it was indeed necessary.

Original vs Remake: Hollywood’s Need to Retell the Story (or the Lack Thereof)

 

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Annabelle Comes Home (2019): Horror / Mystery / Thriller

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Annabelle, Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most dangerous artifact, becomes the beacon, attracts and brings to life all their other possessions when their daughter, her babysitter and her friend accidentally unleash her.

Following my previous mediocre reviews on the conjuring universe after Conjuring 2 (2016), Annabelle comes home, we get to watch her, and here we are… Having been disappointed, frustrated and in the end infuriated with The Nun (2018) I will admit I was kind of biased. The strong opening sequence though got my attention straight away, and the whole duration of the first act and beginning of the second started proving me, thankfully, wrong. I can’t remember last time I watched a paranormal horror taking place in broad daylight and have this effect on me. By now, Annabelle has my undivided attention. Then, the sun goes down… and so does the story! And I’m screaming “why?!?!”. Once again, the cliches take over and degrade the film and all its potential. I’d like to be fair here though so I’m gonna give you two ghost pros and two cons. Then you watch it if you haven’t already and make up your mind.

Pros:

  • The Ferryman is innovatively portrayed and everyone involved deserves a round of applause.
  • Daniela’s sequence in front of the TV is hair-raising.

Cons:

  • The dismantled by the guitar and reassembled foggy Werewolf. That’s right…
  • The incredible misuse of the samurai.

I never spoil a film but the following deserves mentioning. Apologies, but I can’t help it. My greatest disappointment in the film is Daniela’s dead father. So. Much. Potential. Wasted! Daniella is the only one who blames herself for her father’s death and he shows up accusing her! Big mistake as there are bad and good ghosts (as they point out). A mistake which gets even bigger when he doesn’t save her when she needs him the most, and which is blown out of proportion when Lorraine shares with her in the end that he told her to tell Daniella that she shouldn’t be so hard on herself. I’m not saying anything else. If you disagree, by all means please let me know. Apologies once again for the spoilers but I felt like it could not be left unsaid.

I’ll finish up with a positive. Congratulations to all three girls for their stupendous performance. Shockingly believable!

Captive State (2019): Sci-Fi / Thriller

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Nine years after alien forces invaded and colonised Earth, an underground movement, stealthily, plans an attack to fight back.

This is not “cinema of attractions”. No “Independence Day” (1996) effects with marching songs while shouting “we will fight” narrative. “Captive State” focuses on the world’s political and socio-economic state after the extra-terrestrials’ colonisation, leaving out the early terraforming practices. As stated next to the title, it is a sci-fi/thriller and not an action film. Political-espionage case scenarios resembling Europe just before WWII cannot be avoided.

The acting is solid and so is the photography and directing. If you asked me what I think it lacks the most I would say emotional investment. I felt hard to engage as the main characters are underdeveloped. Also, the masterplan gets too complicated on occasion even though it offers the desired twist. I guess the script could have gone through maybe a couple of more rewrites.

A perfect example of a groundbreaking sci-fi/thriller came only ten years before “Captive State” and it is none other than “District 9” (2009) – Neill Blomkamp’s finest film to date.