The movie remake has been a mainstay in Hollywood for over a century, so you message board malcontents — you princes of protestation — you may dispense with your childhood-charged invectives against the practice. The fact is, remakes are often warranted, are occasionally better than the original, and are seldom as bad as billed.
But when a studio dumps a beloved film for its younger, more stylish update, it suffers the built-in “you’re not my real dad” reluctance of jilted moviegoers from the start. Before it can even get to know its audience, a remake is deemed a villain. So why should it even try?
The cliche of the crappy movie remake is as tired as those used to make it. But if you’re looking for a culprit, you can forget about casting, special effects or the untouchability of the source material — many great originals were lacking in some or all of those categories. The problems with most remakes are more fundamental than that.
So, why do remakes fail? They either…
- Miss the point. Whatever social, political or psychological moral underpinned the original is discarded like a Starburst wrapper in pre-production.
- Take too many/not enough liberties. Staying fascistically faithful to an original is no better than straying cynically from it.
- Get the timing wrong. Often, remakes appear as if they could have been released at any time, doing little to make the original relevant in a new context.
- Go the easy route. Instead of a thoughtful script that advances a compelling plot, filmmakers rely on special effects, increased gore or Tom Cruise.
Or they do all of those things. But some movies deserve better than that.
These movies deserve better than that: 10 Remakes that Deserve a Remake