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I'm a sucker for authenticity (pirated software and cheap knockoff bags excluded), which is why movies sometimes infuriate me, because they always prove that such a thing doesn't exist. We've seen it happen with movies that are "inspired" or "based on" TV shows, comic books, and earlier films that are already classics (and, in my opinion, should not be touched again). Random example: When Disturbia, I found out, was supposed to be a modern, updated version of Hitchock's Rear Window, you should've seen the shit fly in my living room. But what can you do? Everything is inspired in some way or another. Can I even say that Hitchcock is foundational and "untouchable", or is this equally ignorant because I haven't looked further enough into his own influences?

Anyway, enough of that college-essay talk. I'll do a cheap lead-in here and discuss Hollywood's most recent example of its violating that which is authentic or has already been institutionally established. This is its decision to "remake" earlier and probably better films that became cult hits in Asia. Ringu (The Ring), My Sassy Girl (the remake for this one didn't even hit theaters), and Dragonball Z instantly come to mind. Oh, and the Infernal Affairs series, but everyone argues over that one (and, admittedly, The Departed was pretty kickass). Basically, remakes suck.

So if this is a pattern of Hollywood, and bicultural kids like myself who know the originals are condemning Hollywood, tell me WHY things like this still happen:

According to IMDB, The Ramen Girl goes like this: "An American woman is stranded in Tokyo after breaking up with her boyfriend. Searching for direction in life, she trains to be a râmen chef under a tyrannical Japanese master." Tofugu, who wrote the entry "'The Ramen Girl' Makes Me Want to Cry", outed the movie as a remake/rip-off of Tampopo (タンポポ).

Setting aside the facts that there are a lot of marketing issues involved, that ownership over a story or idea is really hard to claim, and that maybe remakes are actually a twisted form of flattery, I think this is bullshit. You can argue that remakes are a re-imagining of an earlier story, or a new "spin" of it, so it shouldn't be held to the earlier piece. But everybody compares a remake to the original, once the fact that it's a remake is made public. The really crazy part of me wants to map this pattern onto a history of colonialism and the West's idea that it can take ownership of things that aren't its own (museum artifacts, anybody?), but I won't even go there.

To read the Tofugu entry, which is much less convoluted, go here.



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