Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Best and Worst Remakes

I was talking to someone about the Total Recall remake and how unnessecary it is.

It made me think about how many films have been remade.  For your own fun, check out this comprehensive list of movie remakes.

But I started thinking about what are the best and worst remakes.  The best would be ones where the remake is better than the original.  The worst would be ones that bungle what made the original so good.

When compiling a list, I realized how how few of the the pairs I had seen.  What I mean is that often if I saw the remake without seeing the original, and vice versa.  So my list is very small.


Father of the Bride

The original is nice with some fine, heartfelt moments.  But the remake is much funnier with Steve Martin's palpable rage and insanity rising throughout.  I can remember the scene where the daughter is telling her parents about how she met a man in Rome.  Diane Keaton gets more excited while Steve Martin gets angrier.  When I watched that sitting next to my dad, he could not stop laughing.  This movie definitely struck a chord.

My favorite scene:

Father's Little Dividend/ Father of the Bride II

The original is, again, a nice story about becoming a grandparent.  But the added craziness of George Banks becoming a father again is hysterical.

Dawn of the Dead

Zack Snyder's remake is slicker and scarier.  But more than that I thought that he actually had some wonderful character development.

King Kong

I know that I'm committing movie sacrilege here, but I've never been a huge fan of King Kong.  I know that the original was an marvelous technical achievement, but the story never captured my imagination the way it did many others.  The remake is not the greatest, but it is thrilling enough with some beautiful moments that make it better than the original for me.

The Seven Samurai/The Magnificent Seven

Again, I know that this flies in the face of most film buffs, but I enjoyed the Magnificent 7 much more than the Seven Samurai.  There was a slowness to the original that always held me back.  I also think that the characters in the Magnificent 7 are much more well defined.  


Cape Fear

The original was scary and provocative and had class.  The remake, while great at setting mood, was a disgusting mess.  And what did it add to the story to make our villain a born again Christian who analogizes sexual assault with baptism?  If course, this was made by the same guy who directed The Last Temptation of Christ, so I should not be surprised.


My mom still gets angry when I say that I think Anne Heche had a better performance than Janet Leigh, but it is true.  And Vince Vaughn's slightly different take on Norman Bates is underrated.  But they are not the problem.  Gus Van Sant set out to do a shot-for-shot remake of the original.  Fine.  I thought that this was an interesting experiment.  But the only shots he changed were the shower scene, Arbogast's murder, the end confrontation, and the psychiatrists explanation.  In other words, the only scenes he changed were THE BEST SCENES IN THE MOVIE.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out why he thought he could out-Hitchcock Hitchcock.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Great picks regarding Father of the Bride and Dawn of the Dead. However the new King Kong was a terrible, bloated movie that collapsed under its own weight. Even if you did not like the old one, that does not make the New one good. Speaking of bad ape movie's I would add Tim Burton's remake Planet of Apes to the bad category . On an aside, I think the remake of Fright Night was pretty good. It went in a new direction that worked in this day and age of movie meta awareness.

  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008) over Hulk (2003).

  3. My pick for worst remake was Tim Burton's Willy Wonka. What a pile of junk.