Movie remakes — a lot of them are unnecessary, true, but when a director brings their own vision to the material, making it a separate artifact as opposed to just straight up remaking something for the sake of… money (?), remakes can be really good. Having a version that’s shot digitally, instead of on film? That’s when a remake can turn out even better than the original. Don’t believe me? Here are seven (7) examples!
Man invents telepod, then accidentally gets into it with a fly. What was once a straight up sci-fi/horror film is transformed (almost as if it were put in a telepod) by David Cronenberg into one of the most disgusting body/horror films anyone’s ever seen. This iteration of The Fly received critical raves, and some even thought Jeff Goldblum could be nominated come award season (he was maybe hurt by the fact that his shockingly heart-breaking performance came in a movie where he dissolves a man’s leg with his fly-mouth acid). This might be the best example of why remakes can be a really good thing — a unique director taking an original premise and filtering it through said unique perspective.
The original Ocean’s Eleven was supposedly made just as an excuse for the rat pack to go gamble in Vegas. The remake, however … seems like exactly the same thing. But that’s good! While the sequels became increasingly less interesting fast, the first film actually succeeds at not only playing with genre conventions (there’s a great critique of a how believable a seemingly earnest speech actually is immediately after George Clooney makes one), and the way the heist plays out/was planned is actually very satisfying.
I tried not to put too many foreign-to-domestic remakes on here, but I think The Ring is the one that really stands out. Obviously Ringu has a much better critical ranking, but I just think the American version works better. It’s probably director Gore Verbinski’s best movie (Pirates of the Caribbean is less about the movie and more about the central performances holding it all together), and the cast is really tremendous. Plus, I saw it in high school, so it’s just a really lingering impact on me ever since then and DAMMIT I’M ALLOWED TO MAKE ONE OF THESE ABOUT ME, OKAY?!
Technically The Thing is based on the same book as Howard Hawkes’ The Thing From Outer Space as opposed to being a straight up remake, but let’s be honest; it’s pretty much impossible to not be influenced by earlier films based on the same property as the one that you’re making. Anyway, The Thing is one of the greatest movies ever and the practical effects are amazing and the score is so haunting and ’80s and perfect and Kurt Russel is such a bad-ass and Keith David never got the career he deserved and *voice slowly trails off as I walk off into the sunset*
3:10 To Yuma
3:10 To Yuma was not a big hit, maybe because westerns are never big hits anymore, but it is sad and haunting and violent and so so intense and good. Plus, Christian Bale and Russel Crowe turn in equally great and completely different performances as a wounded man helping to transport a very wanted criminal to jail (to restore honor to his family) and the criminal being transported respectively. This movie made around $70 million, but I’d still say it was very much under-seen, and that’s really too bad.
Whoa, TWO westerns in one article? This is about to be the most popular thing on Smosh.com! Unlike 3:10 To Yuma, True Grit actually managed to be a pretty big hit (people attributed it to the fact that movie really resonated with Christian audiences, I guess because of that passage in the bible where Matt Damon spanks a ten year old girl), but just like 3:10 To Yuma, it managed to exceed the quality of the original. It’s an even bigger accomplishment in this case, because the original True Grit is a classic that won its star John Wayne an Oscar. But it lacks the wry humor that the Coen brothers bring to all their movies, plus it found Hailee Steinfeld to give an exceptional performance as the ten-year-old girl looking for justice, which is almost always the biggest flaw in any movie with kids — the kids.
People might be horrified by this, but the original Evil Dead (not Evil Dead II, or Army of Darkness) is just a regular-ass super low-budget horror movie made by a director who would pioneer a lot of filmmaking techniques later, but not necessarily with this film. The Evil Dead remake was brisk, disgusting, and shockingly creepy, plus it used what it wanted from the original while making it its own. This is no Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, is what I’m saying.
Have you enjoyed any remakes? Let us know in the comments!
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