• Erin Wendorf

Westernization: The Real Parasite


Image courtesy of IMDb

Formerly overlooked because of its subtitles, Parasite has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon. Earlier this year, it won four Oscars, including the coveted Best Picture award, thus making history as the first non-English-language film to do so. After such a monumental event, in Hollywood’s eyes, that means that the next obvious step is to…remake it with an English-speaking cast. With a white lead. Of course. There have been whispers for a while that Parasite will be remade in English, going as far back as July 2019, and just last month it was confirmed: HBO will be filling the void left by Game of Thrones with a spinoff series related to the movie. Naturally, the internet was quick to criticize. We have seen time and time again that recreating eastern media for a western audience does not work out as well as expected (Netflix’s live-action Death Note movie comes to mind). Although there is no evidence that it was done with malicious intent, there are racist undertones to westernizing an eastern movie, especially one that has gained so much popularity. By broadcasting an “American version” of Parasite, it would undercut the success of the original: a subtle flip-off to the cast and crew who put their hearts into making the movie the best it could be. However, Bong Joon Ho, the movie’s director, will be working on the spinoff, so it might still retain the spirit of the original. We’ll just have to wait and see. As controversial as this situation is, there is still a little good to come out of it: releasing a series, regardless of the language, will attract a wider audience. Parasite has already gained viewers after its big win at the Oscars – due to curiosity about what makes it “Best Picture-worthy” – and a spinoff will likely garner more viewership for similar reasons. Plus, an American version might be more relatable to viewers, because the obvious class disparity between the Kims and the Parks in the movie is a much more extreme scenario than what one would see in the U.S. Because shows have fewer time constraints than movies, the series could look into different areas on the spectrum between wealth and poverty, rather than just each end. Parasite is a fantastic movie, and it deserves all the accolades it gets, but when it comes to capitalizing off of its success in the west, it is best to let the original stand alone. It does not need something that has the ability to tarnish its image that took great pains to create. Until the series is released, all we need to worry about is the positive impact the movie has made in terms of representation in media. By Erin Wendorf, Staff Writer

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