Re-make or Rip-off? ?Vanilla Sky? vs Original

Tania Chatila
El Vaquero Staff Writer

It’s a story about a man whose life is turned upside down after a near-fatal crash with a crazed lover – “Vanilla Sky”

It’s a story about a man whose life is turned upside down after a near-fatal crash with a crazed lover – “Abre Los Ojos”

No, it is no error in print. Rather, the two synopses represent the word “identical” in every literal sense. In comparison, “Vanilla Sky,” directed by Cameron Crowe, seems to represent the word “remake” in every literal sense. Nearly line for line, scene for scene, the American version of the Spanish thriller “Abre Los Ojos,” directed by Alejandro Amen?bar, steals the story and uniqueness of the original movie.

With the exception of a very few changes in minor elements of the film (like changing the main character’s occupation in the Spanish original from wealthy business man to wealthy Penthouse editor in the Hollywood remake), the plots and cinematic direction are identical.

“Vanilla Sky” tells the story of a wealthy, good-looking business-man, David, who takes a liking to women. Amid his busy, lavish life, however he meets the simple yet stunning Sofia who shows him the true meaning of love. But his life takes a spiraling turn when a past fling, Julie, returns and disfigures his face in a near-fatal car accident. Jumping ahead, as the movie so often does with it’s “past to present” storytelling, viewers find David wearing a prosthetic mask and in jail for murder. The plot continues to twist and turn as audience members struggle to see if David’s life is a horrible reality or a surreal dream. The screenplay, originally written by Amen?bar and Mateo Gil Rodr°guez, is beautifully written and adapted for the screen. A truly unique plot, the film has you wondering the truth until the very end. However, it seems this Hollywood version of the Spanish thriller is so much like the original, it might just be best to rent “Abre Los Ojos.”

While remakes are supposed to capture the essence of originals, “Vanilla Sky” is “Abre Los Ojos,” just without the Spanish dialogue. For anyone who has seen the original, it is easy to predict nearly scene by scene what and how actions and dialogues are going to be presented next. So what’s the fun?

While “Vanilla Sky” is entertaining, the point of the movie doesn’t really seem all there when the original, released only five years ago, is also available. Also, judging upon the incredible similarity of the two films, it seems only reasonable to watch “Abre Los Ojos” instead. And for those of you who don’t understand Spanish, subtitles are available.