It’s been done for decades; producers have been either trying to recapture classic movies or make them better by producing remakes.
Sometimes these remakes do well and other times – well, they just plain suck and would have been better off being left in the past. There are some things were either bad enough the first time around, or were so good that they just shouldn’t be copied.
1. Breathless (1983)
This is a remake of the original by the same name released in 1960, which was actually a French film by the name A Bout De Souffle. The biggest mistake that was made is that they tried to Americanize a French classic. While the original movie was brilliant, the remake lost something in the translation. The only good thing was Richard Gere’s acting, but his attempts to make it work failed; the movie succeeded in making him look bad.
2. Psycho (1998)
The remake of the original Psycho (1960) comes in a close second for the worse movie remakes ever. The story lines on both movies are exactly the same, so the remake brought absolutely nothing new to the table. That’s not really the part that was such a disappointment; the original movie was so exceptional that it shouldn’t have been redone at all.
That was the most fatal mistake. Would you attempt to repaint the Mona Lisa? Of course not – because it’s a masterpiece and it can’t be duplicated or improved upon. I’m not intending to criticize Vince Vaughn’s performance as Norman Bates. In fact, he makes a pretty convincing as a demented person. However, when you think of Norman Bates, you think of Anthony Perkins and anyone else is just not believable.
3. The Truth about Charlie (2002)
Though this movie stuck very closely to the original story of Charade (1963), it didn’t quite have the same effect. The original starring Carey Grant and Audrey Hepburn was chilling and a movie that had you glued to your seat. The remake on the other hand just didn’t have the same affect. Again, I think the major reason is that this movie is a classic and should have never been copied in the first place.
4. Get Carter (2000)
The failure of this remake is obvious. The original Get Carter (1971) was a British film starring Michael Caine and was actually a low budget film. The brilliance behind it is that it’s supposed to be a little cheesy. It’s part of the charm of a low budget British film. So, in 2000, the remake came out done in Hollywood style with Sylvester Stallone in the leading role. Well, the film was still cheesy, but now is been tainted by Hollywood and is no longer as charming.
5. The Fog (2005)
The original movie The Fog released in 1979 was a great chilling horror film directed by one of the best – John Carpenter. The remake fell flat, as it was bland and very predictable. There was definitely no “on the edge of your seat” thrill ride with the 2005 version.
6. Payback (1999)
I would have to agree with critics when I say that Payback, the 1999 remake of Point Blank (1967), sucked. Though the original didn’t do too well at the box office originally, it’s become a classic that can’t be beat and critics rave over it. When you have a big name (Mel Gibson) as the leading role, the remake still wasn’t good enough on big screen to make it interesting. If you want to see a great movie, though catch the original.
7. The Ladykillers (2004)
This film was remade almost fifty years after the original (The Ladykillers 1955). That should have been the first clue that it wouldn’t work. Second, they took a classic English film and brought it to Hollywood. More times than not, this doesn’t work. The plot of the remake doesn’t really differ any, and I think in this case to help make it work, they should have modernized it. This may have even made it more comical.
The plot of the film revolves around these two men who are trying to kill an old lady, but continue to be unsuccessful. In the 1950s, this was classic dark humor. Fifty years later, we find that it’s been overdone and is just plain cheesy slapstick. It doesn’t work that way. Perhaps if the writers would’ve modified the remake to make it comical by modern-day standards, it would have been a great.
8. The Pink Panther (2006)
Why would you even try to remake a classic such as the English original The Pink Panther from 1963? Then to have Steve Martin as the main character? Don’t get me wrong. Martin is a great actor and terrific funnyman, but no one can capture the humor of the original like Peter Sellers.
9. The Jackal (1997)
The producers tried to tweak this movie to make it a modern day movie version of the original The Day of the Jackal (1973), but it failed miserably. The European version of the movie was much better. Plus, in Hollywood style, they tried to upgrade a low budget film by bringing in big name actors. Big name actors like Bruce Willis and Sidney Poitier is a good start, but you need more. In short, The Jackal should have been left on the cutting room floor.
10. A Perfect Murder (1998)
Okay, this one’s easy. The original is an Alfred Hitchcock film called Dial M for Murder. So, why would you even attempt to remake a Hitchock film? Yeah sure, watching a flick about a perfectly planned manslaughter wherein every precautionary measure have been taken to make the scheme as simple as poker is always grand. But flicks like these should only done by those who’ve made a mark in the movie platform. Leave the legendary greats to what they do best and don’t touch them! No one can capture chills the way Hitchcock can. Sure, the remake has a great acting combo in Michael Douglas and Gweneth Paltrow, but that’s about all the film has going for it.
11. Sabrina (1995)
The original film Sabrina (1954) starred Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn and would be difficult to outdo. It’s a gripping love story that I don’t think that Sydney Pollack (director of the remake) was able to capture.
12. Lolita (1997)
In this case, I think the remake of this awesome 1962 film by the same name was do to the casting. Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert is a stretch, but I don’t think that Dominique Swain had what it takes to play Lolita as a young Sue Lyon did in the original version. If the casting was better, this may have turned this into a hit movie the second time around.
13. The Birdcage (1996)
This was a remake of another French film that Hollywood decided to take a stab at. Birds of a Feather, or as spoken in French, La Cage aux folles is a great French classic that was butchered in the 1990s with a remake. Though the casting in The Birdcage is awesome with Gene Hackman and Robin Williams, the movie still didn’t have the same zing as the original French version.
14. Poseidon (2006)
The problem with attempting to recreate The Poseidon Adventure from 1972 is that it was perfect just the way it was, including the beginning with some of the bad acting and some remarks that society would now find sexiest or taboo. The original was so perfect the way it was that putting a lot of modern special effects doesn’t add to the movie, but rather takes away from it. Wolfgang Peterson made a great effort at the remake, but it just didn’t work.
15. The Planet of the Apes (2001)
The original Planet of the Apes (1968) was one of the most original movies ever made for the time period and nothing has really even come close to it. Out of the original came a TV series, The Planet of the Apes (1974) and I don’t think that the TV series did the movie justice. The remake of the original movie didn’t do it justice either. This was an original concept, an original idea, and a shocking and original ending. I think to even attempt to duplicate it was ludicrous.
16. Vanilla Sky (2001)
This was definitely an interesting remake. The original, Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos) was only made four years prior. The difference is that the original is a Spanish film and of course Hollywood got a hold of the remake. I think the ambiance was a lot better as a Spanish film and I think that was the biggest difference. The best thing that Cameron Crowe (director of the remake) did was that he got Penelope Cruz, who also played Sofia in the original to play Sofia in his version too.
I think it’s safe to say after viewing the list of bad remakes that it takes a special combination to remake a movie and make it great. First and most importantly, leave the classics alone! If it’s already perfect, don’t try to make it better – you can’t.
Second, just because there are great actors in a movie doesn’t mean the movie is good. It just makes it a bad movie with good acting. Lastly, I think that it takes some creativity and a lot of luck to make a remake work.
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