Wishing Some Books Would Stay Books

You know, I almost hate saying “some books should stay books” about this one, because I truly loved the Swedish movie version of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s brilliant novel Let The Right One In (my review). If it had never been a novel prior to being a movie, it would be one of my all time favorite films. But knowing the novel and having loved it as much as I still do, I had a hard time not taking some issues with it. I think anytime you’ve fallen in love with a novel, you’re going to have some issues with movie versions of it. But even having said that, the Swedish version was good…even though they cut the novel to shreds and took important stuff out….but I’ll shut up about that.

But NOW they have the AMERICAN version coming out! And for some unknown reason, they had to change the freaking title to Let Me In, set it in New Mexico, change the names of the characters from Oskar and Eli to Owen and Abby, and give Oskar (erm, I’m sorry, Owen) brown hair and a normal skin color instead of his pale skin and blond hair. Oh, and the gender issues that were only alluded to in the Swedish film seem to have just completely disappeared from this version from everything I’ve read. The reviews so far say that this is a very good movie, but still, it takes more away from Lindqvist’s original novel.

I think the brilliance of his novel was that it WASN’T just another vampire story. He went places that others didn’t. He scared the crap out of me but not with traditional horror. Instead he scared me with the horrors of what WE are capable of, not vampires. This movie seems to turn the tables on that. I read one review (of the movie) where someone said they sympathized with Eli’s (Abby in the new movie) caretaker who is a child molester in the book. There’s more to him than that, but it’s a part of who he is. I’m just trying to figure out what the hell they did with his character in this new movie….

And what saddens me more than anything about having my favorite novels made into multiple movies that don’t stay true to them is when I do an Amazon search for them and they get further and further away from people being able to find the BOOK. When I searched for “Let the Right One In”, the first result was the DVD of the Swedish film. The second result was the Bluray. The third result was Lindqvist’s novel which has now been RENAMED Let Me In with the movie cover as it’s cover. Bummer…

Will I see the movie? I don’t know. Probably not in theaters. I may see it when it comes out on DVD out of curiousity to see just what they’ve done with it, but I can guarantee you that even if it’s a brilliantly made movie like the Swedish one, I’ll be left angered by what’s been changed. So it is with these things….

This post is cross posted from Tumblr.

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14 Responses

  1. Dude! That definitely sucks to the highest suckitude. Even though I haven’t read the book yet, I’m in your corner…(Do I get extra brownie points for having the book on my TBR shelf, ‘specially for the month of October??)

    It seems as if lately more movies are made from books, and they’re not doing the fine job of making them true to form. I mean, sure, I’m okay with some variations of how the observer observes the art, but ‘geez louise.

    And also, what’s up with all of these television remakes? Why can’t they bring back Punky Brewster? Er, or were you too young to remember her? 🙂

  2. Argh! For God’s sake the title doesn’t even mean the same thing!

    I still never got to finish the book (it went back to the library) But I did love the Swedish movie version.

  3. Since I’ve already talked to you about this (many, many times :P), I’ll just keep my comments brief.

    Like you said, so it is with these things…

    And I’m still dying to read the book!

  4. I haven’t read the book yet, but I totally know where you’re coming from. I almost never watch movies based on my favourite books, since I just know they won’t do the material justice. 😦

    It also drives me crazy when Hollywood remakes recent foreign films. I mean, I can understand why they might want to update something from the 1960s, but the Swedish Let The Right One In isn’t that old. Ditto for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The Swedish movie JUST came out, and already Hollywood’s got a remake in the works. Blah.

  5. Ah! Space! I haven’t read the book, and I was surprised they were making a film so soon after the Swedish one. I did hear at Comic-Con it was better than some people thought it would be, but I don’t think they necessarily thought Matt Reeves brought anything new.
    One thing I am looking forward to is the score–it was done Michael Giacchino.

  6. I have to read this book! lol Boo to film changes. 😦

  7. I want to watch the movie Let the Right One In but my husband doesn’t do vampire-subtitles and I’m too scared to watch it alone! I should read the book. When I saw the trailer I thought, hey that looks a lot like the Swedish one but glamourized. Why does Hollywood have to make everything all shiny?

  8. I believe it was Ibeeg and I who recently had this same conversation in regards to them making an American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The Swedish film is EXCELLENT. There is no need for an American version. Take away a handful of people with reading disorder who cannot handle subtitles and what you have is people either choosing to take a chance to see great films or missing out. I feel the same way about this one. I have Let the Right One In queued up on Netflix and plan to watch it this October. I will never watch the American version. I have no need. I felt the same way about the wonderful German film Mostly Martha which was remade for America as No Reservations starring Catherine Zeta Jones (who I think is fantastic). My wife and I watched about 10 minutes of it and felt like puking. It was like a watered down shot for shot remake of a very beautiful film. No point to it at all.

    I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve seen American remakes that I liked: The Ring, for one example. However, had I known it was a remake and watched the original I have no doubt I would have skipped The Ring altogether.

    There are certainly books that need to remain books. And there are foreign films that need to remain foreign films. There are hundreds if not thousands upon thousands of creative writers out there who could be producing original films that would blow us away. Instead what we get are mostly remakes, sequels, and films based off books. For every wonderful, LOTR type experience there are dozens of crap book to film adaptations that make your stomach churn.

    Sorry for the ranting, but this is one of those pet peeves of mine.

  9. I saw this book the other day at B&N and requested it from my library. So glad that I ran across your thoughts on this as I won’t bother to watch the movie. The story sounds fantastic though!! 😀

  10. Christina, You most definitely get brownie points for having the book on your TBR shelf 😀 You get the whole pan of brownies if you read it :p I totally remember Punky Brewster by the way…I think I am too young for it (I’m 29) but I still remember it :p I really do wish that they would just leave some books alone 😦 Or if they’re going to make them, keep the main themes in!!

    Darren, Exactly!!! The title totally doesn’t mean the same thing!! That bugs me so much :/ You so need to finish the book…it’s SO good!

    Debi, You really need to read this one 😀 You’ll definitely have time to read The Historian and this one for RIP…both of them fly by they’re so good!

    Memory, You know I really think you’d actually like this one a lot 😉 Just saying. But yeah..it bums me out to no end when they make my favorite books into movies 😦 I nearly never see them. I can’t believe that they’re doing a remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo already either!

    Amy, You’re actually the one who inspired me to post this over here too! 😛 I figured this might be a good discussion post after I saw you wanted space, lol.I’ve read really good reviews of this one too online so far, but it just bums me out what was left OUT of the movie. People will see it and think that it was such a good movie and never read the book…and they’re missing out on so much stuff. Particularly the gender issues. And even more…like I said, the point of the book was that it was humanity that was truly evil (ties in with the gender issues) and this makes the vampires out to be the evil ones. Really kind of sucks. On the other hand, I am excited about the soundtrack 😀 I’ll probably get that regardless of the movie!!

    Eva, You haven’t read this yet???? OMG you would totally love this book! Get it now! LOL :p

    Other Chris, You should totally read the book!!! You’d really like it! And the movie really isn’t that scary so much as haunting. I really enjoyed it. Like I said…just wish it didn’t leave things out :/ But it at least did a better job than this one looks like it will.

    Carl, Never apologize for rants on my blog!! They’re always welcomed and appreciated 🙂 I really need to see the Swedish Girl With The Dragon Tattoo…but I want to read the book first. I can’t BELIEVE that they’re making an American version of that one already too! WHY?! So freaking ridiculous!!! You are in for a real treat with Let The Right One In when it comes up from Netflix! It was filmed gorgeously and stuck fairly true to the original book, but even it left quite a bit out. Have you read the book? I so hope you do at some point in time! I think you’d truly love it, Carl! Really love it! Oh, I’m totally with you…I’ve seen American remakes that I liked too. And many of the times I didn’t know they were remakes either. The Ring is indeed a prime example. I still like it just as much as Ringu. I think they’re both excellent in their own. And LOTR will forever stand as a great trilogy in my opinion. I know there are many who hate that it was made into a film, but I loved those movies. And many would call me a hypocrite for saying that because Jackson certainly didn’t include everything in the movies, but I felt that he included what the ESSENCE of the novels were. This new Let Me In movie which totally aborts the title of the novel doesn’t even do that. Thanks for the discussion Carl 🙂

    Staci, Oh man, I’m so excited that you requested this one from the library!!!! I can’t wait to see what you think of it!! It’s such a good book.

  11. I was shocked when i saw that the book itself had a new title! I get putting a film still on the cover but changing the title is something i haven’t seen. So much for Morrisey tributes huh? 90% of me wants to skip this movie and 10% want to watch it so i can bitch about it. On a good note, i preordered Handling the Undead (maybe the new american movie title will be “Zombieland 2?) so i will have it the day of release.

  12. I loved the Swedish film, really adored it. Got incredibly angry when I saw that they were doing a remake. Agree with Carl, it’s such a small number of people who would fail to get along with a subtitled version – why do it? I won’t be giving it my money! Have to admit that I struggled with the book though – having loved what the film was, there were elements of the book that I felt were just too, well, silly (for want of a better word) and threw me straight out of the narrative. :S

  13. I saw the Swedish film and haven’t read the book yet, but I was surprised too when I heard they were doing the film a second time! I really don’t get why they need to do this, as I don’t see the need for it. As you said, I loved that it was a vampire story that wasn’t just about fangs and bloodlust. I think I’ll see the American one at some point though, I’m way too curious to ignore it!

  14. Hi Chris,
    I completely agree re: the American remake — it could never in a million years improve on the Swedish version. I just posted my book review of Let the Right One In and mentioned your post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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