Posts Tagged ‘Spock’

Famous Films Foreign Origins

September 1, 2010

I once stated that Hollywood is the ultimate recycler because the powers that be have minded the comic book/old television show vault extensively. Well, sometimes Hollywood goes beyond the borders of the U.S. to find inspiration or steal ideas, depending on your point of view.

Below are some films that were made in one country and remade in the U.S.

Shichinin no samurai, Japan 1954
A Japanese village is terrorized by bandits. The villagers are fed up and look for a way to stop the bandit raids. So, with only handfuls of rice as payment, they get seven unemployed ronins (masterless samerai) to take care of the bandits once and for all, which they do.

Now for the translation of the title which is Seven Samurai. In 1960, the U.S. remake of this movie was done and it is called The Magnificent Seven. The setting is the Old West and the movie stars Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Colburn. The director is Preston Struges and the film features an unforgettable score by Elmer Bernstein. (Once you hear it, you’ll know what movie it is from and you just might get the desire to hop on a horse and ride off into the sunset.)

Trois Hommes et un Couffin, France 1985
Three bachelors share an apartment in Paris. They woo women, have parties and love every minute of it. They are living the high life and nothing domestic (i.e. marriage and children) will come in the way of these bon vivants. Until one day, a package is left on their door. It is no ordinary package. It is bassinet with a baby inside. Make that a crying baby who’s hungry and needs her diaper changed and life will never be the same for these men ever again.

Now for the translation of the title which is Three Men and a Cradle. If the plot sounds familiar it is because in 1987 it was remade in the U.S. as Three Men & a Baby. The movie had Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg as the bachelors and the director was none other than Leonard Nimoy. (Yes, Spock from Star Trek.)

Como agua para chocolate, Mexico 1993
Boy meets girl in the early 1900’s in Mexico. Girl likes Boy and Boy goes to Girl’s mother to request daughter’s hand in marriage. Mother says no, Girl is the youngest and tradition states that she is not to marry, so as to take care of mother. So, Boy marries Girl’s Older Sister and Girl prepares wedding feast where she channels her passion for Boy into the food.

The translation is Like Water for Chocolate. This film was remade in 1999 as Simply Irresistible and it featured none other than Sarah Michele Gellar. (I guess she tired of slaying vampires.) If you are surprised that Like Water for Chocolate was remade, join the club. Not many know of this movie and it didn’t do too well in the box office.

Le Dîner de Cons, France 1999
Picture this: A group of friends in Paris get together for dinner every Wednesday and they have this game whereby they each have to bring an idiot to this dinner. One of the friends, Pierre thinks he has found the best idiot in Paris. This idiot, Pignon, makes models out of landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower, out of matchsticks. Things go awry when Pierre can’t make it to the dinner party due to a sport’s injury and Pignon offers his assistance.

Now the translation: The Dinner Game. Can you guess what the American version is called? How about Dinner for Schmucks? Yes, that movie with Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd, which came out recently. In the American version, once the idiot/schmuck is invited to the dinner, he invites himself to into the other person’s life.  Moral: Don’t invite idiots or schmucks to dinner. They’ll never go away.

Yes, the powers that be in Hollywood are always on the lookout for the next hit movie, whether it comes from a comic book, an old television show or a foreign film. That, too, will never go away.

Sources:
http://www.amazon.com/Three-Men-Cradle-Roland-Giraud/dp/B0009WFFWC/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Men-Baby-Tom-Selleck/dp/B00005T7I2/ref=sr_1_5?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662756&sr=1-5

http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Samurai-Criterion-Collection-Spine/dp/0780020685/ref=sr_1_3?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281660769&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.com/Magnificent-Seven-Special-Yul-Brynner/dp/B000059TFW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662503&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Like-Water-Chocolate-Marco-Leonardi/dp/6305428476/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281661502&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Irresistible-Sarah-Michelle-Gellar/dp/B000067J1O/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281662162&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Game-Thierry-Lhermitte/dp/B0000A1HQP/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281832673&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Schmucks-Zach-Galifianakis/dp/B002ZG97GU/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1281837537&sr=1-1

The Sequel Strikes Again

April 29, 2010

Recently, it was reported on Empire Online that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are confirmed for Men in Black III and it will be a 3D film. The expected release date is May 30, 2011.

Since the late 1970’s, there have been sequels galore. Notable examples are the Star Wars films and Star Trek films. Yet, it wasn’t always like this. Up until the 1970’s a film was made, it was a success or failure and that was that. The characters were never revisited and the story was not continued. Of course, the exception was the James Bond films. The movie going public in years past were willing to accept that Elsa never saw Rick again, Dorothy never returned to the land of Oz and while Scarlett said that she was going to get Rhett back, it was seen as wishful thinking on her part.

My theory is the establishment of episodic television shows lead a desire in the movie going public to know what happens next. It wasn’t enough to have the main characters ride off into the sunset. People wanted to know if Luke Skywalker became a Jedi and defeated Darth Vader or if the crew of the Enterprise found Spock and saved the whales.[1]

I like sequels. There I said it. The Star Wars films are among my favorite movies. I saw Shrek and Shrek 2 and liked them both. I like the Star Trek films with the original television cast, the Next Generation cast and the J.J. Abrams reboot. Also, The Dark Knight was a blockbuster film that I felt was more thought provoking than most blockbuster films.

Of course, not every movie benefits from a sequel and after a while, the story gets old. The two Tim Burton Batman movies were great. Burton and Michael Keaton in the title role got the darkness and the tortured soul of Batman/Bruce Wayne right. When Joel Schumacher took over the franchise, the movies were just about some rich guy who dresses up and chases bad guys. Also, as many Trekkies know, some Star Trek films are better than others.

Still, the powers that be in Hollywood don’t want to mess with a good formula. So, if a movie made lots of money, more often than not a sequel is in order. As the engineers say, “If it works, it works.”

Source:
http://www.empireonline.com/news/feed.asp?NID=27639


[1] Star Wars Episodes IV-VI and Star Trek II & III respectively.