The original foreign version of Insomnia? Or the American remake? Both arrived via netflix and we can’t decide which to watch. Confounding matters further, both got excellent scores in my bible, eg, the meta-review sites. You know, gamerankings, rottentomatoes, take your pick…
You should just watch them both simultaneously. I will give you the difference: The American version is pretty typically American. Ie, the cop is this hot shot who is being investigated by internal affairs, blah blah. The original is slow and moody, and you never really care about anyone and the main character is just a random-stop-hand-job away from being Harvey Keitel in the Bad Lieutenant. It seems more like a 70s action film (Get Carter) than a modern movie. BUT: It has Stellan Skaarsgard, which makes it automatically great.
Can anyone think of any movies where the remakes were superior to the originals?
Evil Dead 2 (basically a remake)
Henry V (Branaugh)
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Maltese Falcon (Bogart - 3rd version to appear)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (perhaps)
The Three Musketeers (1973 version)
His Girl Friday (remake of The Front Page)
Down and Out in Beverly Hills
Evil Dead 2 was not a remake. Go back and watch it.
I’m viewing it from this perspective.
Extract these plot points from the original:
Ash & GF go to cabin
Find tape and accidentally release the ‘Evil Dead’
Ash has to kill GF
Entity pursues Ash
Make them into the first ten minutes of Evil Dead 2. Now take these elements:
Find out bridge is destroyed
Demon locked in basement
Guy tries to escape and woods stop him
When Flora Attack Nubile Women! (next on FOX)
Use them to round out the rest of the movie with the following additions/changes.
Hand O’ Glorious Fun
Demon-fodder friends to demon-fodder relatives & white trash
While I certainly think Ash is idiot enough to get caught up in the same situation twice, I believe the similarities point more towards a remake than a sequel. Could be that it has more in common with it’s predecessor than The Fly and The Thing. So I see it as the first movie made over in sequel form.
The original version of Insomina is 10000x better. Watch it!
MINOR spoilers below:
Also, this tidbit helps understand a plot point: in whatever country they are in, I forget, cops don’t carry guns. Which is why the lead character keeps hiding his weapon from view and is in even more deep shit when the major plot twist occurs.
The original takes place in northern parts of Norway. North of the artic circle the sun never sets in summer. The cop, coming from somewhere in Sweden below the arctic circle, is not used to the bright light and has trouble sleeping.
For Insomnia, the remake is better, in my opinion, but keep in mind that they are totally different movies. The remake is a psychological thriller in which the protagonist’s character evolves through a series of moral dilemmas. The original is more of a classic Scandinavian existential drama where morality is an illusion. The American version then, is much more accessible, and makes you care a lot more about what happens to the characters. The original is more of an intellectual exercise. Normally, I’m kind of a film snob and all in favor of films as an intellectual exercise, but I thought the American film succeeds so well in its own terms that it eclipses the original.
In any case, the films are different enough that seeing one will in no way spoil seeing the other.
There was a scene involving a dog (no spoilers) in both movies that was so AMERICANIZED in the American version it was friggin pathetic and sad. I thought Nolan would have the balls to follow the original but nooooooooo.
At the end of Evil Dead, the sun rises, Ash walks out of the cabin, then the evil comes through the cabin and attacks him, fade to black.
In evil dead 2, after they summarize what happened in the first movie during the first 10 minutes, the Sun rises, Ash walks out of the cabin, then the evil comes through the cabin and attacks him, knocks him into the pool of water etc. etc.
Similar thing happens at the beginning of Army of Darkness - he omits everything about turning evil and the Daughter/Daugthers Friend/Hillbillies who help him open the portal.
Evil Dead 2 is not a remake. Raimi/Campbell talk about how you could splice the three movies together and make it one big movie during the Evil Dead 2 commentary track.
The original takes place in northern parts of Norway. North of the artic circle the sun never sets in summer. The cop, coming from somewhere in Sweden below the arctic circle, is not used to the bright light and has trouble sleeping.[/quote]
That’s not why he was sleepless BUT ANYWAY, I’m here to point out that it was only by watching both Insomnias was I able to learn that Sweden is the hip and dangerous LA of Europe. Who knew?
C’mon, it’s not like the American movie would have been better, or even that different, if they had retained this feature from the original. The key difference between the two films is more fundamental: in the American version, it is possible for the cop to be a hero or a villain (and motivation for his possible villainy is provided), while the point of the original is to undermine those distinctions. This may make the American version ‘gutless’, but it also provides some dramatic tension that was lacking in the original.