Remakes: Best, worst and WTF?

I’m sure this has probably been done to death (I guess that would make this thread a remake) but I would like to know what you think about remakes. Sometimes they are pretty good, most times they suck monkey butts and sometimes you have to ask yourself, “Who was the mental snowglobe that greenlighted this?” I’m not talking about sequels so don’t nominate Basic Instinct 2. I will accept adaptations of previous works, for example The Departed was adapted from the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs.

The Good: The Departed. After seeing this film I went out and found Infernal Affairs. I was impressed at how well the movie was made and the power of the actors. While I really liked Infernal Affairs, I loved Departed

The Bad: Rollerball. I’ll admit that the original will never be compared favorably with, say, Casablanca, but it was miles ahead of the POS that came out a few years ago.

The WTF: The Honeymooners Take one of the best shows from the so-called Golden Age of Television, staring The Great One ™ himself, Jackie Gleason, in an iconic role. Bring it to the present and put Cedric the Entertainer in the lead. What escapee from the short bus thought this would fly?

The Good: The Fly. Took a cheesy, campy 50s Vincent Price flick and made it genuinely creepy and horrific.

The Bad: Too many to count, but Planet of the Apes springs to mind.

WTF: The Truth About Charlie. A remake of Charade, it turned into a pointless, aimless, soulless piece of shit that didn’t seem to have any sort of logical plot. I left the theater wondering if the writers and director had even SEEN Charade.

Moby Dick - Gregary Peck = Yes
Moby Dick - Patrick Stewart = No

Scrooge - Albert Finney = Yes
A Christmas Carol - Patrick Stewart = No

Ohhh, there’s an unanticipated trend!

This thread needs a patron saint. I hearby nominate Nicole Kidman for her craptacular work in The Stepford Wives, Bewitched and the upcoming Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake (oh, it’ll suck, don’t worry).

More of a WTF than worst, but the remake of Frankenheimer’s clever The Manchurian Candidate was a total miss. I don’t mind that they altered major portions of the plot, which wouldn’t have worked for a current-day film, but they totally lost the irony and biting political satire in favor of a standard issue paranoic thriller, complete with a total Hollywood ending that made no sense whatsoever. There were plenty of ways to retool the film for modern audiences and topical matter while retaining the same sense of it, but no, they just shat out another formulamtic movie in which Denzel Washington gets to play his patented Honest Man Under Pressure role. Only Meryl Streep seemed to realize that they were supposed to be making a dark comedy and grandly overplayed her role (though still paling in comparison to Angela Landsbury in the original).

Not properly a remake, but the “Love Conqurers All” verision of Brazil is not just bad, it’s an incredible abomination, essentially a parody of what a no-talent studio head would do to a film to punch it up with gratuitious action and remove “confusing” plotting. The movie is a massive trainwreck, almost unwatchable even as a film study, much less unintentional humor. The editing isn’t even technically competent, much less what it does to the director’s intent and the storyline.

Stranger

An excellent remake, (7th try apparently) was Brewster’s Millions.
List of movies based on the Book:
Brewster’s Millions 1914 Cecil B. DeMille & Oscar Apfel Edward Abeles Based on the play
Brewster’s Millions 1921 Joseph Henabery Roscoe Arbuckle Screenplay by Walter Woods, based on the play
Miss Brewster’s Millions 1926 Clarence G. Badger Bebe Daniels Screenplay by Monte Brice, Lloyd Corrigan & Harold Shumate, based on the play
Brewster’s Millions 1935 Thornton Freeland Jack Buchanan Screenplay by Douglas Furber & Paul Gangelin
Brewster’s Millions 1945 Allan Dwan Dennis O’Keefe Screenplay by Siegfried Herzig & Wilkie C. Mahoney
Three on a Spree 1961 Sidney J. Furie Jack Watling Screenplay by Siegfried Herzig & James Kelley
Brewster’s Millions 1985 Walter Hill Richard Pryor Screenplay by Herschel Weingrod & Timothy Harris, the most famous version of the film
I have only seen the 1945 and 1985 versions. The 1985 version was very funny.

Here is a unique one: a WtF that somehow worked:
Sabrina made in 1954 starred Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. It was a nearly perfect movie and a true classic.

A studio decided to remake it and in 1995 with Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. I did not even want to like it, it was actually quite good. Even the casting was quite good.
Worst remake I have ever seen was Miracle on 34th Street. A truly classic and perfect movie from 1947 starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn & Natalie Woods. (Also a small but memorable role for William Frawley (Fred of “I Love Lucy” fame)) This was just a perfect movie. I still watch it annually. I still love it.

In 1994 they made a terrible remake with Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott, J.T. Walsh, Timothy Shea, James Remar, Jane Leeves, Simon Jones, William Windom and Mara Wilson. This might be John Hughes worse work. It was terrible.

Jim

Thanks to Ralph Bakshi we can’t count Lord of the Rings as a remake, definitely in the Improved category.

I’d be curious to see The 300 Spartans ; but I suspect **300 **is an improvement.

The Maltese Falcon was the third version, but probably no one alive has ever seen the original(s).

I think TV-to-Film constitutes a whole separate category, and it would probably be easier to list the ones that weren’t complete disasters.

Did you mean to use the word can’t in your part about the Lord of the Rings? :confused:

I might be in the minority, but as the new movie “300” was a putrid piece of crap based on a comic book and not the classis story, I am guessing that this should not even count as a remake.

I have seen “Satan Met a Lady” (1936), I did not like it. This was the first remake of the Pre-Code “Maltese Falcon”. I have never seen the 1931 original, I would bet money that **Lissener ** has.
I will add a remake, I recently saw the 1925 Wizard of Oz, I should nominated the 1939 Wizard of Oz as one of the most improved remakes ever. The 1925 version was terrible. The 1939 version is another true classic. Neither pays too much attention to the book, but that is fine.

I am not sure if pre-1940’s remakes should count, as the remakes were usually of now forgotten silent films. If so, I withdraw the Wizard of Oz.

Jim

My fingers went on auto-complete. Yes, I meant can.

Nomination for All Time best remake: Battle-Frakkin’-Star Galactica.

I gotta disagree with this. “Cheesy and campy” the original was not. And , although Vincent Price appeared in it, it was a pretty minor role with little screen time. You can’t realy call it a “Vincent price film” in the same was all those Roger Corman poe films were. Al/David Hedison carried the film. Actually, the underappreciated Patricia Owens really carried the film. And the original film was fairly faithful to Langelaan’s original story. The Cronenberg 1986 version changed practically everything. It was a very good film, but so changed that I even hesitate to call it a remake.

the Thing (1982) was in its way far superior to the original The Thing from Another World. Again, both versions are very good, but the Christian Nyby/Howard Hawks earlier version has almost nothing to do with its literary roots, which the Carpenter film with the Bill Lancaster script interprets more faithfully (and more fearfully). Despite what some critics says, thos is not just a gory horrorshow.

A Christmas Carol - Kelsey Grammar–WTF? :confused:

I think the chief problem with The Manchurian Candidate remake is something it could not have overcome even if everything else in the movie was perfect: novelty. When the original Manchurian Candidate came out in 1962, the concept of a paranoid conspiracy thriller with satiric elements was still quite new (especially in mainstream movies). However, by the time of the remake 42 years later, the paranoid conspiracy thriller had become an entire sub-genre of movies, books, and TV shows. Elements of the story that had seemed weird and shocking to audiences in the early 60’s now seemed relatively “meh” to a new generation that had grown up after the JFK/RFK/MLK assassinations, the Vietnam War, Watergate, Iran/Contra, and 9/11 while watching movies like The Parallax View, All the President’s Men, Blow-Out, and JFK and TV shows like “The X-Files.” Americans, on the whole, seem to be a bit more paranoid and cynical than they were in 1962 and that’s reflected in our popular culture. Thus, the 2004 remake of **The Manchurian Candidate ** (despite excellent performances from Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep) couldn’t shake off the aura of “been there, done that.”

The Good- I saw the updated Ocean’s 11 which was very entertaining before I saw the original rat-pack version which was okay.

The Bad- Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot remake of Psycho was a pointless exercise and I’m not even sure why they bothered to make it.

The WTF- Stepford Wives. Not even really sure what this movie was attempting to be. Comedy? Horror? Sci-Fi? Drama? It fell way short of any of these.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) with Michael Caine was pretty good though. Although I admit to being a big Muppet fan to start with.

Has a Christmas Carol been redone more times than Brewster’s Millions? I’d guess yes. I remember seeing a Mr. Magoo version of it.

So say we all. :cool:

Good god, I’ll never know why some people actually like Larry Semon. He’s without a doubt the least funny silent comedian ever. The 1925 version is terrible, but the earlier 1914 trilogy of Oz films–Patchwork Girl, His Majesty the Scarecrow, and Magic Cloak–are delightful. They’re low-budget affairs with simple sets and homemade costumes and charmingly crude special effects, but they never fail to entertain.

The first Wizard of Oz film, from 1909 or 1910, I don’t remember, is just baffling. All they did was film snippets of the musical stage version. Maybe it would make sense if you were familiar with the play, but otherwise, you don’t have any clue in hell what’s going on or who most of the characters are. It’s surreal.

But the '39 version wasn’t exactly a remake of any of them. They draw from the same characters and situations, but the plots in all the films are very different.

But everything’s better with Muppets! :smiley:

I bet you could make a decent Battlefield Earth if you re-did it with Muppets! :cool:

And the WTF remake was The Wiz with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.