The local public radio station, KPBS, aired an April interview regarding film remakes. In it, critic Ian Forbes stated:
The girl with the dragon tattoo, David Fincher remade that film, I don’t know why because he didn’t even set it in a different location. If he had decided to move it too to America, you would have some different morals, ethics going on that would have made the story interesting. But to just redo it with a new score and without better production value, what’s the point? So it gets a little insulting to see them take those films and present the same story all over again but only for those people who said I don’t really want to read those subtitles.
Now I might agree with him, except for the “point” he doesn’t see: the English remake was a much better movie. Plot elements adhere more closely to the book, where the Swedish version takes liberties I did not appreciate. The English version also has a slight, subtle sense of humor which I found lacking in the Swedish. I like both Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig more than their Swedish counterparts. And it’s overall a simply better done picture. The Swedish film did not have the sense of purpose, the cinematic vision that the English one had. Now I am not hailing the English version some sort of great masterpiece, and as someone who read the trilogy of books, I might be a little biased to make the best judgement. Nonetheless, I recommend the English version, but not the Swedish one.
I agree with the general point Forbes was making, as far as cynically remaking foreign films only so that an audience does not have to read subtitles. To me the best example of this is La Femme Nikita. I have not seen the Bridget Fonda English remake, Point of No Return, but I can’t imagine it adding anything of value. La Femme Nikita is pretty much perfect in every way [see my prior post], so why remake it? Unfortunately, I already know the answer to that question, and it’s all about dollars. So it would have been prudent for Forbes to excoriate the Nikita remake, not The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Ian Forbes thought the recent Star Trek movie was good [prior post], which goes to show it’s important to know whose opinions to heed.