8) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
If you’re coming to David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo before Niels Arden Oplev’s original, you’re due for a good couple hours of old-school thriller entertainment. The cast is superb (Rooney Mara in her breakout role, along with Daniel Craig, Robin Wright and Christopher Plummer), the visuals are stunning and the story is gripping (multiple millions of readers can’t be wrong). Unfortunately, someone else got there first.
The only real problem with Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo is that Niels Arden Oplev made his own perfectly good version just two years before Fincher did. It has its own great cast and breakout lead (Noomi Rapace), its own pleasant visuals (this is the same director that established the look for the Fincher-esque Mr. Robot) and the plot is almost beat-for-beat identical.
The only major difference is one comes with subtitles and one doesn’t.
A similar case to Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Gus Van Sant’s Psycho was pretty much redundant on arrival for no other reason than that it was almost identical to the original. Van Sant’s film also had the added factor of just not being very well-made. Where Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho was (and still is) a masterpiece, perfectly measured and intelligently crafted to deliver maximum impact, Van Sant’s Psycho simply isn’t.
There’s nothing more pointless than chasing an already perfect film by deciding to remake it wholesale. 1998’s Psycho is almost shot-for-shot the same movie, but what’s most egregious about it are those changes which Van Sant did decide to make: random shots inserted into the shower sequence, Norman Bates masturbating at the sight of Marion Crane through the hotel walls, and – worst of all – Vince Vaughn taking a part that will always rightfully be that of the great Anthony Perkins.