Matt Reeves, I'm talking to you, though you are not the only culprit, not by a long shot.
The Day The Earth Stood Still is a classic portrait of cold war trepidation and American fear, as well as the crippling effects of xenophobia and the power of stillness and good set design. Could it warrant a remake? Sure. Sure, it could, no, it could. The nature of American fear has changed. The images and proper nouns that evoke paranoia and anxiety are different in 2008, almost 2009, than they were in 1951. So, okay. Of all the scifi flicks of the past hundred years, The Day The Earth Stood Still would not necessarily suffer, as a story, from an update.
Too bad that's not what Derrickson is doing, though. He's lifting a few key names and a vague resemblance of the original plot, and is turning it into a special effects extravaganza- a The Day After Tomorrow with aliens and a tree-hugging, wooden protagonist with strange alien powers. Oh, hey, but don't worry, you guys- Gort's still in there, so it's okay.
And now, Matt Reeves is directing an American adaptation of Let the Right One In, a brilliant, scary, sad, subtle film about a lonely boy and a lonely girl and the terrible bargain they strike up for love. Except that's not what he's doing at all. It's like telling a story around a campfire that you hear from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from someone who read it in a book. One of the more fundamental aspects of the story, you will notice upon watching the film, is that the aforementioned lonely little girl is a vampire. Oh yes. A vampire. Reeves, being the brilliant and edgy filmmaker that he is, has decided... everything is a product of the boy's imagination. It's a fantasy. It's "...essentially being the fantasies of this 12 year old who’s having such a hard time. It would never be that overt where you would watch the movie and say that’s a dream but to me that is kind of an organizing principle.”
Why can't American cinema just Not Fuck Things Up That Are Awesome? Seriously. Why is it this difficult? You want a remake? The Departed. Now there's a motherfucking remake, and how. That's how you honor source material while creating something vibrant, effective, timely and meaningful.
So. The Day The Earth Stood Still and Let The Right One In? I don't plan on seeing them any time soon, and if I do see them, it sure as shit won't be after paying to. There are far more worthy things to support with my money. Like mink farming. It'd be more humane, anyway.