Some remakes stick so closely to the original, they’re the cinematic equivalent of a cover version. Others see room for improvement, bringing new ideas to the table or fixing things that didn’t quite work.

Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou’s directorial debut, “Secret” (2007) — an overripe youth romance with a mystical twist that made less sense the more you thought about it — might seem like a good choice for the latter approach. This Japanese remake, directed by Hayato Kawai, is an exercise in refinement. Based on a script by Saya Matsuda, it keeps most of the key moments but endeavors to plug the plot holes, resulting in a film that’s more grounded and coherent, but also less fun.

Minato (Taiga Kyomoto) is a would-be concert pianist who’s returned to study at music school in Japan after a traumatic experience at a conservatory in England. His old pal Hikari (Mayu Yokota) signals that she’s on the market, but Minato’s ear — and eye — are caught by a mysterious young woman whom he hears playing in a dilapidated wing of the university.