Monday, December 9, 2013

The Incredible Failure Of Oldboy

Oldboy came out just in time for Thanksgiving. About two weeks later, it's already gone from most theaters. It was a relatively high profile picture with a famous director and big time cast... based on a much beloved foreign film. So what happened?
In a previous post I rallied for Spike Lee's Oldboy, and I stand by everything I said. The film had excellent acting performances. The editing was off. But as a whole, Spike Lee genuinely captured the essence of the original. It leads me to wonder if we psychologically view foreign language films in a different light. Perhaps a concept as bizarre as Oldboy's makes sense to us coming from a completely outside perspective (in this case Korea).
But once it is translated into an American existence we just separate too completely from the material. Perhaps that mentality comes into play of, "That could never happen in my back yard."
This is of course a broad assumption, but I can't really put my finger on what went wrong with this one. I suppose there's always a chance the target audience (ie. people who loved the original) was not interested in a remake at all. Then again, I don't recall pulling any emotional bravado from this remake... I suppose I assumed it had more to do with my foreknowledge of the content of the original, but perhaps Spike Lee's Oldboy just doesn't connect with any audience... even someone experiencing the material for the first time.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen it, though I did see the original and it was great. And that's probably the reason for this adaptions failure. The original wasn't broke so it didn't need fixing. In addition the original has had 10 years to reach the masses, had it come out in 2005 (something like to the 2 year gap between Girl with the Dragon tattoo) and it may have been successful. But we've all seen it and know the twist so why bother seeing it again. Unless you're one of those brats that can only watch movies without subs.