Apparently David Fincher's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is a fine film. Nevertheless, its existence makes me sad. The books that inspired it are wildly popular in America. Film adaptations of all three books in the trilogy have already been made (in Swedish). Reportedly they're excellent. Two years later, they're remaking them in English. Isn't that a bit of an insult? I once read an interview with the original film's director Niels Arden Oplev which I'm sad to say I have been unable to locate. He essentially said that he was so proud of Noomi Rapace's performance in the original that she deserved international recognition. He hoped that whoever they got to play Lisbeth in the American version didn't steal all of her thunder. He makes an excellent point.
Some remakes make sense. Especially in the case of comedies, cultural differences can have a major impact on how a film plays to various audiences. Sometimes dramas touch on sensitive issues that could distract a particular audience from the larger focus of the film. In that case, I have no real problem with a remake, since it allows more people to enjoy the story. From what I understand, however, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" was not sanitized for an American audience. David Fincher has reportedly delivered a "Hard R" faithful remake. Why?
This isn't a new thing. Remember the wave of Japanese horror pictures in the early 2000's (The Grudge, The Ring, etc). For some reason, when Hollywood executives see a great foreign film, they decide that the best thing to do is to remake the film at great expense with a new cast. Why not just subtitle the original and give it wide release?
But "We hate subtitles!", I hear you cry. As an anime fan back in the nineties I have very little sympathy, but why not just dub the film? A good dub is perfectly acceptable! Heck, most countries dub foreign films for theaters. At least then you're still seeing the same performance.
Every time I see an excellent foreign film immediately optioned for an English remake I get a sad feeling in the pit of my stomach. How would you feel if every time a good American film was released it was remade in French, people from other countries went on and on about how brilliant some French director was, and nobody outside the US knew or cared who Nicolas Cage or Stephen Spielberg were? I suppose most Americans wouldn't care, which is pretty much the problem.
A recent Spanish thriller called "Cell 211" is a great film, already optioned for a remake. It has nothing in it that would prevent an American audience from enjoying it except that maybe they don't know who Basques are. God forbid anyone would be exposed to different cultures or world events from a movie. Rent it from Netflix before they put Colin Farrell in a remake and replace the Basque prisoners with Al Qaeda sympathizers or something.
Oh, and for her trouble Noomi Rapace got a supporting role in the recent Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows as a gypsy fortune teller. Now that she's proven she's a capable leading lady, I'm glad America could give her a leg up into playing a kooky ethnic sidekick.