If there’s one thing we pop culture writers like to be grouchy about when we write about movies online, it’s remakes. The general consensus is that, for the most part, they suck. These are movies that have the audacity to claim that the older movie that we fell in love with in the first place is inferior, so here’s the same exact movie all over again, but with flashier effects and sexier people. I’m thinking about remakes lately because the first photo of the new Robocop dropped online. Here it is in all of its totally-not-Robocop glory:
Sigh. Now I’m usually a don’t-knock–it-’til-you-try-it guy, but I can already feel my nerd-rage boiling over about how they are screwing with Robocop. Robocop was perfect. They’re just slapping together the quickest movie they possibly can so they can poop all over Robocop’s grave. You can’t improve on Robocop. LEAVE ROBOCOP ALONE! STUPID REMAKES!!
Ok! Fine! I’ll stop complaining, Clarence. Geeze!
I’m better. But there are exceptions to the ALL REMAKES ARE EVIL rule, right? Of course there are. For me, a good remake of any movie has to follow three very simple rules:
- Show a clear respect for the spirit of the original source material.
- Bring something original and fresh to the table.
- Make sure it’s relevant to the era in which it’s made. Also, make sure there’s roughly 30 years between the remake and the original.
So, yes, there actually are some good remakes out there in the pile of bad ones. For every Vince Vaughn’s Psycho or LL Cool J’s Rollerball, there’s a Donald Sutherland’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. So I’d like to compile for you my top five movie remakes of all time. I’m only sticking to movies that are remakes from the same country of origin. We’ll be here forever if we lump English language versions of foreign films (i.e. The Magnificent Seven, Let Me In, The Birdcage, etc.)
5) 3:10 to Yuma
3:10 to Yuma is actually a remake of a 1957 Glen Ford film and damned if it isn’t an exciting and compelling modern western. It’s a great example of where modern sensibilities on action sequences can really enhance a classic film.
4) Dawn of the Dead
You know there was a time when if someone told me that a remake of Dawn of the Dead would be great, I would jam my fingers in my ears and run away..but damned if this isn’t a solid modern horror flick. It’s a remake of the 1978 classic pretty much in name and location only, but it still managed to have the same sense of dread that went along with the original.
3) The Fly
This version of The Fly takes the premise of the original Vincent Price film to new levels of terror. While the original merely featured a head and hand fly-to-human switch, this Cronenberg masterpiece really paid homage to the original while assaulting us all with the director’s flair for body-horror.
2) Ocean’s 11
Here’s a great example of keeping the spirit of the original while giving it a modern twist. While the original featured Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack in their heyday, this version brings all of the coolest people in Hollywood together for a much more modern heist flick.
1) The Thing
My love of The Thing is no secret around here. One of my first posts on MamaPop was devoted to The Thing, so it was an easy pick for me as my favorite remake of all time. A remake of 1951′s The Thing From Another World, John Carpenter’s version ratcheted up the terror and the paranoia of the original to a downright frightening level.
Well, that’s what I’ve got, what about you? Do you think there are some good remakes? Or do they all stink? What’s your favorite? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!