Remakes: Best, worst and WTF?

That movie deserves particular disdain for an entirely unrelated reason. It was financed by the same company that released the MST3K movie. They spent all their money advertising that piece of shit Barb Wire and, consequently, couldn’t spend a dime promoting the great Mystery Science big screen adaptation. :mad:

Like I’ve said, totally awesome movie.

Nobody has mentioned “Lost In Space” as a worst remake? Well, I will! It’s as if it were made by someone who hated the TV series and wanted to pervert every aspect of it. It’s one sick piece of cinematic garbage, and I don’t mean that in the good way. Watching the movie was like watching a small child pitch a tantrum for 90 minutes. It would make a great film to show kids who have all these dreams of going to Hollywood and doing great things … you could make them watch it and then say, “And remember kid, we have all these well established actors, writers, directors, etc., here, and still they wound up making something like this!”

Your version of delightful must differ from mine. I’ve picked up these movies from the local dollar store on DVD and they’re nothing if not dull dull dull. Patchwork Girl did give me some extremely creepy moments, though. She’s so obviously a stuntman in a suit. She looks like something out of a fevered Clive Barker nightmare.

War of the worlds was a really good movie, but was almost unrecognizable as a “remake”. The plot of the original and the remake was only vaguely similar.

My vote for “wtf?!” is for King Kong, with Jack Black as the lead. Are we supposed to take that nonsense seriously?

Naw, you simply fail to understand the movie.

And I stand by mine, having seen both versions often enough. The script for the original was one of the first efforts by James (“Shogun”, “King Rat” ) Clavell (and two other guys). It struck me as a great deal more intelligent than mony 1950s sf flicks.
I like Mosler’s suggestion of King Kong, but for different reasons. I thought the recent remake was GREAT, in part because of the way it re-interprets the characters and motivations. When I first heard that Jack Black was doing the Denham role, I thought it was AWFUL, but, having seen it, I’m very impressed, Jackson didn’t change the overall plot or the general characters, but he did change their individual psyches and motivations, to good purpose. This remake of King Kong I’d list among the best.

On the other hand, the 1976 Dino de Laurentiis version was definitely one of the Worst, with its script by Lorenzo Semple, Jr., the King of Camp who scripted the 1960s TV “Batman”. Yechh.

Damn, I wish someone had taken that bet. Now I need to find myself the 1931 version.

I seem to strongly disagree with you. I think the Tom Cruise led “lack of acting ability” team remake of WotW was a horrible film. One of the worst I have ever sat through. It was pure dreck and the ending really brought the film down another 8 notches.

As far as King Kong with Jack Black, it was ok. The 1976 version was not good however.


Ha ha ha! The Wiz… omg (though I have to admit I list this film in the “guilty pleasures” category. Anyway, shouldn’t it be granted the cult status by now?)

So here it is :

The Good : Hitchcock liked to remake his own films, and he was right. Both versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 and 1956) work, and if we choose to consider North by Northwest (1959) as a remake of The 39 Steps (1935), it can be called a successful remake. However, my favorite has to be Douglas Sirk’s Lured (1947), excellent remake of Siodmak’s equally excellent original “Pièges” (1939).

The Bad : Coen brother’s remake of the Ladykillers. The original (1955), with Alec Guinness, is unsurpassable. I can’t begin to imagine why they even wanted to remake that. Utterly silly. Then there’s also a remake of Lean’s Brief Encounter (1945) with Richard Burton, whose title escapes me atm. Atrocious film. Ghastly.

WTF ? : Gus Van Sant’s Psycho… What — were — they — thinking ??? :dubious:

The Good: The Thomas Crown Affair
The Bad: Miracle On 34th Street.

I don’t really have a good or bad example. But I’ve got a couple WTFs to mention.

First off: Scooby-Doo. I’ll admit that the movie was charming and kind of fun, but egads did it take liberties with the source material. I still don’t understand how and why any studio would choose to make a live-action version of that, even if the franchise is effectively unkillable. (Yes, I know - the same reason studios do anything: pursuit of money…)

Following that, I’ll mention cartoon to live-action remakes as a general category. I know several have been successful, but the only one I’m willing to admit to liking is the aforementioned Scooby-Doo movie. None of the rest I’ve seen had any redeeming qualities.

Well, I don’t think Jesus Christ Superstar was as good as the original.

My all time favorite remake:

Good - The 1988 movie **Dirty Rotten Scoundrels ** (Steve Martin and Michael Caine) is a vast improvement on Bedtime Story (1964) starring Marlon Brando and David Niven. Caine and Niven are both good, Brando is passable, but the 1988 ending really makes the film.

The 1964 movie ends with Freddy Benson marrying Janet Walker (Shirley Jones); the 1988 movie ends with Janet Colgate turning out to be an even bigger con artist than Freddy and Lawrence.

Bad - Another vote for Miracle on 34th Street.

Good - Salaam Namaste is infinitely more enjoyable than Nine Months. Infernal Affairs was a passable renditidion of the original. The Indian film Sarkar manages to evoke The Godfather without dishonouring it.

Bad - The U.S. remake of the great film The Vanishing, by the same director no less, with a horrid tacked on happy ending. The only thing positive to glean from the whole experience was knowing that Sandra Bullock got buried alive

WTF - The Psycho Remake - I’m sure this was made as a dare. Take all the great moments, and make them worse. Miscast the entire thing, and then not fix up the tedious end monologue which everyone knows was the major problem with the original. Only benefit was that it almost instantaneously killed off any idea of Gus Van Sant becoming a big time commercial director.

Would the Magnificent Seven classify as a remake or an adaptation? I prefer the original Seven Samurai, but the western version is a pretty good movie also.

I was surprised to learn that Invasion with Nicole Kidman is the third remake of the original. I think the 70’s version was better than the original. I haven’t seen The Body Snatchers (which stars Gabrielle Anwar - now playing Fiona on Burn Notice), but from reading the reviews it seems to classify as a WTF.

Another WTF was Godzilla, or Jurassic Park:New York. I guess they decided to rip off two movies for the price of one.

My favorite remake is still The Thing - its one of the first movies I ever saw that did not have a ‘happy’ ending, which made me appreciate it even more.

Good (but not better than the original, just pretty good too): Herzog’s 1979 remake of Murnau’s Nosferatu .

Bad/WTF: Soderberg’s Solaris, talk about ruining a great film. I’ll second Planet of the Apes, too.

I actually really like “The Body Snatchers”. I am curious now. Time to hunt down some reviews and see what people didn’t like. It’s not great by any means.
Good cast also; Gabrielle Anwar, Forest Whittaker and Meg Tilly.

I still quote one of the lines “Where you gonna go-What’re you gonna do? When there’s (beat) no one (beat) like you (beat) left?”

ETA: and apparently I have been quoting it wrong all these years:
Carol Malone: Where you gonna go, where you gonna run, where you gonna hide? Nowhere… 'cause there’s no one like you left.

Many months ago, there was a thread on how bad the film “Little Man” was, and I found out at the time that the IMDB had the Wayans clan listed as in the middle of putting together a Munsters movie. It seems to have been shitcanned now.

THAT would have been one of the worst WTF remakes ever.

I don’t think anyone mentioned The Omen. The remake was literally a shot-for -shot remake tossed up just to take advantage of an odd date. Aside from being inherently pointless (changing nothing you really can’t improve anything, eh?).

The Three Musketeers has been filmed several dozen times. (I am kind of curious to see the Filipino version.) I have only seen three versions:
1948, Gene Kelly as D’Artagnan,Vincent Price as Richelieu
1974, Michael York as D’Artagnan, Charlton Heston as Richelieu
1993, Chris O’Donnel as D’Artagnan, Tim Curry as Richelieu (the Disney version)

Best: the 1974 version. Great cast, great script.
Worst: the 1993 version. Great cast, lousy script.

WTF: the 1998 version of The Man in the Iron Mask. I have mixed feelings about this one. It has an amazing cast, and some interesting story ideas, but it takes drastic departures from the novel.

Another WTF: The Prisoner of Zenda. 1937 version versus 1952 version. Scripts are almost identical. (Both were adapted from the stage play based on the novel.) On the whole, I prefer the 1937 version. However, the sword-fight choreography is better in the 1952 version.

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. is the villain in the 1937 version.
James Mason is the villain in the 1952 version.
James Mason is a far better actor, but he is just not right for the role.