Open Your Eyes (1997) Dir. Alejandro Amenábar vs. Vanilla Sky (2001) Dir. Cameron Crowe
I’m going to admit it now; I watched Vanilla Sky first as I was unaware of the original. OH NO LOOK I DIDN’T KNOW OF A FILM THAT EXISTED OH NO HOW AWFUL OF ME, MAYBE I SHOULD KILL YOU ALL. Anyway, only after watching Vanilla Sky was I told about an original, which again starred Penelope Cruz. ‘Oooh’, I say pretending to care. Eventually, the more people became aware of Vanilla Sky the bigger the collection of pretentious little bastards announcing that ‘It’s a remake don’t you know, and I definitely consider the original as the better one because ha ha it’s just so good scoff scoff *eats own arse*’. Which is fair enough because I say that about originals a lot of the time but FUCK OFF did all of you know about the original. Instead of pretending you’re more aware than me because you quickly Googled what Vanilla Sky’s Spanish predecessor was after watching it, how about you try actually searching for foreign films to become a fan of. This isn’t a competition guys. Stop it. Or I WILL start the Armageddon. I FUCKING WILL. So, I decided to watch the remake to see what all the fuss was about, and this article then came to be. How delightful.
The thing with Vanilla Sky is it stars Tom Cruise. Now the problem with Tom Cruise is that he’s very small and annoying. So annoying in fact that I cringe every time his name is mentioned. I would usually not watch a film of someone who annoys me so significantly but the thing with Tom Cruise is that he’s an idiot, but his films are good. Very good in fact. Except for Mission Impossible 2. Also, it stars Jason Lee, which is just fabulous. Although it always makes me wonder whether this is the moment Tom Cruise turned Jason into a Scientologist puppet. The bastard. Stupid little cunting twat. GOD DAMN YOU TOM CRUISE. I REALLY ENJOYED MINORITY REPORT.
Both films are really very similar. The protagonist, David Aames (Spanish – Cesar), a rich owner of a publishing firm falls for his friend’s companion (in Spanish version; girlfriend and in American; acquaintance). This friend is Jason Lee, and this lovely lady is Penelope Cruz (she’s the lovely lady in both films). Anyway, our protagonist David is already sleeping with a nice piece of ass before getting obsessed with Penelope Cruz. This girl’s jealousy over Penelope drives her to cause a horrific car accident, which put David Aames in hospital and heavily disfigures his ‘pretty’ face. Now, it all goes a bit weird. Aames has to wear a mask, because he now resembles the elephant man. He keeps getting drunk and making a fool of himself and it’s all very embarrassing. So, one day he wakes up and everything’s normal again. His face is fine yay! Or is it?! Yeah it is. OR IS IT?! And so on. That carries on for another hour or so. In between, we get a one to one style interview with Aames and his therapist while in an institute, which begins to unveil a few problems and OMG WHAT’S REAL I DON’T KNOW ANYMORE *breaks down*. I can’t take it and start crying/screaming ‘OH GOD, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL MAN. YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL’ at my TV.
The authenticity of the characters in the Spanish version really shine through stronger than that of the American, solely because (and I know I say this often), Tom Cruise is just Tom Cruise being a bit weird. The Spanish version is about Cesar; a man having a mental glitch. I also have to say, I enjoyed Penelope Cruz’s character in Open Your Eyes a lot more than Vanilla Sky. God, her accent when speaking English makes me want to strangle kittens. You can sense how uncomfortable she is in her own faux American skin and that is never enjoyable to watch.
I find this one difficult; they are both incredibly similar as, well, they are the same film but they are both equally good on their own merit. I suggest you watch both and judge for yourselves and maybe, just maybe you’ll prefer the Spanish version slightly more because all you can imagine when watching Vanilla Sky is Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa screaming ‘I TOLD YOU I WASN’T GAY!’ and we all know he lied.