If there’s one thing I do on this site quite a bit it’s bitch about how much I can’t stand movie remakes. Well to be perfectly honest that isn’t entirely true. There are definitely times where a good concept may not have met its potential with a film and someone comes along to do that concept justice.
I just can’t stand when a remake is made that seems meaningless. As if the creators had zero ideas on their own. But like I said, it can be done. And it can be done well.
Here are seven examples where I think the remake was better than the original…..
Ocean’s Eleven – 2001
About nine years ago, it seemed entirely reasonable that this film was to be little more than an excuse to get a bunch of Hollywood A-listers together for a little partying in the desert while they “worked” on a film for a few weeks. It turned out that while the second installment was just that (except trade Las Vegas for Amsterdam), the first was actually a refreshing, well-acted, wonderfully executed movie with an enticing plot and slick moves from beginning to end. And it was a damned site better than the original.
The Manchurian Candidate – 2004
Many people would argue that the 1962 movie was a better picture but I disagree. When you take Jonathan Demme and combine him with Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, and Meryl Streep? Forget about it. Demme is just as freaky as he is in Silence of the Lambs. It’s incredible how dark and “realistic” this film is. It makes you feel as if the scenario is entirely plausible in today’s world. 1962’s film explores that too but I just find that today, with our technology this crap can actually happen.
Village of the Damned – 1995
I gotta go with John Carpenter here. Granted the one from 1962 was pretty damned freaky, I just love Carpenter’s movies. Plus take a Christopher Reeve, an attractive Kirstie Alley and Luke Skywalker (!) and you’ve got yourself a film.
The Birdcage – 1996
I really miss Gene Hackman. In this remake of the 1978 classic French fill La Cage Aux Folles we see a more modern realistic depiction of gays and politics. And not to mention “family.” Plus most Americans never saw the original film.
Cape Fear – 1991
Of all these films the original Cape Fear was pretty damned close to the 1991 version. Robert Mitchum was a stone-cold pimp, and there will be no argument about that fact. However, old movies that are meant to be fearful aren’t quite as powerful as more modern films, especially those directed by Martin Scorsese. While older films have that vintage quality, it doesn’t bode all that well for horror. Also, having Robert Deniro play the psychotic role isn’t such a bad thing either.
The Fly – 1986
I have to quote a website called Scene Stealers here which sums it up quite nicely.
You took a somewhat creepy, albeit campy 50s horror classic and shot the thing full of steroids and meth. Once mildly disturbing, you turned this horror staple into an unholy nightmare from which there is no escape or shelter, because once a fella’s seen Jeff Goldblume puke-eat and tear the fingernails off his hands, there’s no going back.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – 1988
Hard to believe this one is a remake right? It was a remake of a 1964 movie called “Bedtime Stories.” Though one would think Marlon Brando and David Niven would be a tough act to follow, the 1988 remake did pretty damn good in Steve Martin and Michael Caine. The plots are pretty similar but there’s something about the 80s era that made it much more appealing. That and the fancy allure of France. And let’s not forget that Michael Caine was amazing in this movie.