To go along with Rich's entry earlier this week about the Coen's remake of "True Grit" that surpassed the original, I'd like to add another recent remake that should set a standard.
While it did not surpass the original, "Let Me In," the American remake of 2008's Swedish film "Let the Right One In," proved that it is possible to remake a foreign film without butchering it(a fate many American remakes have suffered in the last decade).
All the trailers for "Let Me In" implied that the American version would focus more on the horror elements of the story and less on the coming of age/budding love story that drives "Let the Right One In."
But to my surprise when watching a couple weeks ago, director Matt Reeves stayed true to the Swedish version. It was nearly a shot-for-shot remake with just a few minor changes.
With his remake of the classic "Psycho" a few years ago, Gus Van Sant proved that shot-for-shot remakes can go horribly wrong. But in this generation of remakes, where American directors have time and time again bastardized foreign masterpieces(the Japanese have been hit the hardest), Reeves pulled a diamond from the rough and successfully remade an award-winning film.
Kudos to you, Matt Reeves.