5 Good Movie Remakes
Generally-speaking, I’m against remakes (as you can tell by my research). However, I’m also willing to admit there are some movies that make me look the other way. Since the horror remake to Carrie is coming out this weekend, and the English-language remake of Oldboy is just around the corner, I thought I’d compile five remakes that were actually good.
Film Equals followers know this subject was already tackled, so I automatically disqualified the five films mentioned (True Grit, War of the Worlds, The Italian Job, I Am Legend, and The Departed). As for other rules, I’m not going to be picky about the type of remake or genre, so pretty much anything is fair game…as long as it was a movie first.
Here we go:
1933’s King Kong is a very well-received film; therefore, making an updated version probably seemed like a bad idea. However, Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) was the right guy for the job. This undoubtedly makes 2005’s King Kong worth mentioning on a remake list. The runtime is definitely a turn-off, but Jack Black’s surprising performance and the amazing action sequences/special effects help the movie substantially.
Among the most egregious offenders of the remake rules are English-language remakes. To me, it says “we’re too lazy to read subtitles,” which is why I normally loathe straight-across remakes. Other critics usually agree, which is why Vanilla Sky pales in comparison to Abre los ojos (although I disagree slightly). With all this working against David Fincher’s (The Social Network) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I’m slightly surprised I adored this movie like I did. Being a huge fan of Stieg Larsson’s novel, I truly believe the English-version is a far closer adaptation to the novel and I whole-heartedly back this movie.
You can check out my full review here.
Both movies I’ve mentioned up to this point have been “upsets” in a way, since the originals are widely considered better than the remakes. However, Ocean’s Eleven doesn’t follow this trend. The 1946 movie holds just a 46% Rotten Tomatoes rating compared to its 2001 counterpart’s 82% rating. The newest movie changed up the formula when it came to crime thrillers and is as sneaky and fun as they come. With a truly spectacular ensemble (seriously, how did they get all those actors?) and Steven Soderbergh directing the film makes it a sure-fire hit.
We can go back to reality with 3:10 to Yuma because the 1957 original probably had people fuming before James Mangold’s remake released. And while it may not be as good as the classic, the two lead performances (by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale) mixed with some updated and well-directed action sequences make it a worthy adaptation (to say the least). Personally, 3:10 to Yuma was the first Western that truly captured my imagination in the way Westerns should, making it a passion pick.
Casino Royale is a unique film for this list because it’s almost debatable whether it is truly remaking anything. When comparing the original to the remake, these two movies certainly have the biggest differences. The 1967 Casino Royale is a bad attempt at parody, while the 2006 Casino Royale is a thrilling spy film that catapulted Daniel Craig’s name into stardom. The difference in quality and the fact that Royale is arguably the best Bond movie to date makes this remake my top pick overall.
For Honorable Mentions, I previously mentioned Vanilla Sky as a workable English-language remake. Also, any chance I get to mention a Christopher Nolan film I have to take as Insomnia certainly deserves a mention. Also, Twelve Monkeys and this year’s Prince Avalanche briefly crossed my mind.
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