To remake (a movie) or not to remake. That is the question that movie fans engage in rather intense discussions over. And it’s a question that may be easier to answer than you may think.
Studios have been remaking movies (or the stories that other movies had been based on) almost since there were movies. It’s not a new process, but the business of remaking movies has gained in popularity in recent years. It’s the popular thing for filmmakers to do, but it’s rather unpopular among most hard core movie fans. Just why is it so much the “in thing” to do for filmmakers? And why does most avid fans detest this practice?
There are a few possible reasons why one would chose to remake a movie. One reason is that sometimes the filmmaker feels that he or she can modernize the theme from an older movie. Others feel that they can “do it better” than the original filmmaker did. Both of these reasons are usually rather arrogant reasons. It is possible that when making the original movie, the folks making it did not have the money/resources to make the best movie possible, but most of the time, the person remaking a film for one of the two afore mentioned reasons are simply arrogant and show little respect to the filmmaker who came before them.
The most popular reason for remaking a movie is out of sheer greed. Money. Greenbacks. The Benjamins. The studios and filmmakers may not admit it, but most of these remakes are made simply in an attempt by the studio/filmmaker to cash in on the popularity and success of the movie they are remaking. Often these remakes are not made “for the love of the original film”, but rather they are made by people who know very little, if anything, about the movies that they are remaking, It’s sad, but true.
To delve into why most fans dislike remakes, we can simply look at the reasons why filmmakers and studios do these remakes. True fans have a love for the cinema, for movies, and for those who made the movies that they love. When someone. who does not share this love. comes along and remakes a movie just to benefit financially from the popularity of the film being remade, it tends to anger the fans. And rightfully so. And if the person remaking the film is doing so because they feel they are better than the original filmmaker, well, that’s enough to make a hardcore fan’s ears blow steam out of them! It’s an insult to the original film, the original filmmakers, and to the fans who love the original film.
Now, there are times when the remake can be acceptable. If the filmmaker remaking the movie is a fan of said movie, shows respect and love for the original movie, and adds something to the story, it is possible for a remake to be a good film, and to be accepted by the fans.
Some remakes which are considered by many fans to be well done, and perhaps as good (some say better) than their original inspirations, are as follows:
* The Thing (1982) – A remake of “The Thing From Another World”, director John Carpenter took the original story of a parasite from another world and took it to another whole new level. This film is considered by many to be the greatest remake ever made.
* The Fly (1986) – David Cronenberg remake of the original film of the same title, which had starred Vincent Price. In the remake, Jeff Goldblum stars as the scientist who accidentally transforms into a human fly. Croneberg applied his unusual style of filmmaking, to create a movie that was far scarier and more terrifying than it’s predecessor.
* Cape Fear (1991) – Director Martin Scorcese remade the 1962 original with more intensity and terror than the film by which he was inspired.
* Dracula (1992) – Although not considered by most to be as great as Tod Browning’s 1931 classic, Francis Ford Coppola’s remake about the tale of Count Dracula certainly did justice to Bram Stoker’s horror classic.
* Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – This one is the topic of debate to this very day. There are fans who feel that this Marcus Nispel directed remake was more intense than Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic original, whereas other fans truly hate the remake, stating that it lost the eerie, documentary feel and look that made Hooper’s film so terrifying. Since overall, it seems that there are as many who love this remake, as hate it, it’ll be included here in this “acceptable” list.
* The Last House On The Left (2009) – Somehow directed Dennis Iliadis made his remake, of Wes Craven and Sean S. Cunningham’s 1972 exploitation film, more unsettling, disturbing and maddening than the original.
* Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) – Brilliant remake of the wonderful 1956 film of the same name.
* Diabloque (1996) – One of the few American remakes of foreign films that truly works. A remake of the French film of the same name from 1954.
* Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) – Not as great as the original 1931 James Whale directed classic starring Boris Karloff, but this Kenneth Branaugh directed, Francis Ford Coppola produced take on the Mary Shelley story is more loyal to the book, and darker than the 1931 film. Note: The 1931 film was not the first film based on this story. Edison Films made a silent version of the story in 1911.
* Flubber (1997) – Remake of 1961’s “The Absent-Minded Professor, starring Robin Williams. One of the few excellent uses of CGI technology.
There are others that fit into the above list, but in an attempt to limit the length of this article, these fews will do to illustrate the point that there are remakes that are equal to, if not better, than the originals.
Since the list of atrocious remakes is a much longer list, we’ll just name a number of them, without going into full detail as to what makes them so bad. The best way for each reader of this article to truly see why these are bad, is for the reader to watch the movies and see for his or her self.
An abbreviated list of some of the multitude of bad remake movies includes, but is not limited to, the following:
* A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) – remake of Wes Craven’s 1984 mega hit.
* Psycho (1998) – Gus Van Sant’s near scene-for-scene waste of celluloid remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s (1960) horror classic.
* Godzilla (1998) – Awful American remake of the 1954 Japanese iconic film.
* The Nutty Professor (1996) Eddie Murphy’s egocentrically awful remake of the Jerry Lewis 1963 comedy classic.
* King Kong (1976) AND (2005) – Whether it was the bizarre 1976 remake or Peter Jackson’s long, drawn out, self-serving remake from 2005, no remake to date has been worthy of the 1933 classic.
* Poseidon (2006) – The overdone special effects on served to make this remake of 1972’s “The Poseidon Adventure” even more unwatchable than it already was.
* The Stepford Wives (2006) – A remake of the 1975 feminist satirical hit, the writers of this remake made so many errors that the script became contradictory and a jarbbled up mess.
* The Shaggy Dog (2006) – Mutt of a remake of the 1959 original.
* The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) – A completely unwatchable remake of the 1951 scifi classic. Keanu Reeves may as well have had his Madame Tussaud’s wax figure stand in though out the entire production.
* Clash Of The Titans (2010) – Terrible CGI laced remake of the 1981 stop-motion classic. One of the greatest examples of why not to remake a movie. One of the worst movies of the new millenium.
* Any American remake of an Asian or other foreign horror movie. In America, it’s simple; the stories of these great foreign horror movies end up being “dumbed down” for mass consumption. Rather than taking a great foreign movie and neutering it for an American audience and remaking it, perhaps the studios here should release the original foreign film as it is, in American theaters.
For the most part, remakes do not work and fans, as a whole, do not want them! When so few filmmakers are capable of pulling off a remake, perhaps the best idea it :just say no”. With so many great filmmakers and writers out there just waiting to get their big break, why not turn to them, and their original ideas, rather than churn out these regurgitated remakes that most fans won’t turn out in theaters to see anyway? Relying on casual moviegoers to make your box office numbers rise only works for opening weekend. It’s the hardcore and knowledgeable movie lovers who really make your wallets fat. If you make what they want to see, they’ll buy a ticket to see your movie on opening weekend AND the following weekends as well because when the true movie fans love your movie, they’re loyal to it and will support it.
For the most part, movies are like a good steak. Sure, you could chew it up, spit it out before swallowing and then pop it back into your mouth and eat it again, but why would you want to?
To close with a message to the filmmakers and studios out there…
Please, no more remakes!