Not Just Good, but Better?
Sometimes, “Remake,” is a dirty word. People hear it and expect something lacking in effort or inspiration. However, there are a number of remakes out there that are a little or even leagues better than their initial source material. This list of 10 remakes better than the original movies features some flicks that you may not even realize are remakes, along with some choices you’ll nod in agreement with–while others may have you going, “How dare they say the remake is better!” We can differ in opinion and welcome your comments about how right (or wrong) we are once you’re done reading this list!
Look, nobody is denying that, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” is a great 50’s creature-feature (and a great 70’s creature-feature). That said, the 2007 remake, “The Invasion,” takes the schlocky fun of the original and turns it into a tense thriller. With an incredible cast including Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, and Daniel Craig, “The Invasion,” focuses on a viral alien invasion that makes people emotionless in a quite-scary manner. Considering all the viral scares going on now with a pandemic, this movie is even scarier to view these days with its aliens swapped-out for microbiological invaders.
The Nutty Professor
Jerry Lewis was a master of physical comedy as his movie about a nutty professor proved. Only someone else skilled at zany off-the-wall humor could have improved upon the original flick’s formula. That’s why pretty much only Eddie Murphy in his prime years of comedy could have pulled off such a hilarious interpretation of the tale where a nerdy college scientist morphs into a heartthrob. Just maybe skip the extremely subpar sequel.
Steven Soderbergh is a Hell of a Director and he assembled a Heavenly cast for his version of the classic heist film. He could have just recruited George Clooney and called it a day, but he got such stars as Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, and even more. Between such great performers and an exciting plot with stellar cinematography to match, “Ocean’s Eleven,” is a masterpiece of a remake.
“The Departed,” is in fact a remake of the Hong Kong-set crime flick, “Infernal Affairs.” Both movies center on a cop who is secretly a mobster and a gangster who is secretly a cop, but this Martin Scorcese version is a magnum-opus of twists and turns as double and triple-crosses occur all while such actors as Jack Nicholson give us performances of a lifetime–as the body-count keeps rising.
A recent release from this year, the new, “Valley Girl,” from MGM/Orion is a musical comedy that draws from the original 1983 film but adds some great unique twists. Directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, Produced by Matt Smith and Steven Wolfe and Co-Produced by Tyler Condon, this stellar team provides a heart touching and comedic story that, with its scenes set in the past as well as present, manages to entertain both the grown-ups who remember the 1980s and the teens watching it today.
The Jungle Book
The original Disney cartoon has its charms, but beyond a couple of catchy songs, is there really much anyone who has seen it remembers of the plot? Exactly. Leave it to director Jon Favreau to give us an incredibly human plot in a movie where there is only one actual living actor–although it helps when the people voicing your animals are such talents as Bill Murray, Idris Elba, and Scarlet Johansson.
Little Shop of Horrors
Okay, bear with us as this is a little confusing. “Little Shop of Horrors,” was originally a dark comedy that came out in the 1960s. Then, it was made into a stage musical in the 1980s. The beloved film with such talent as Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, and Steven Allen is actually an adaptation of the musical. This was a wise choice, however, because the 1986 film that draws upon the stage play was a critical and commercial hit.
Dawn of the Dead
This one is controversial as there are those who say the original 1978 version of, “Dawn of the Dead,” by George Romero is a masterpiece. That said, Zack Snyder’s take is superior in terms of actual scares. The zombies move faster and look terrifying, there is a horrifying scene with a pregnant zombie, and the movie has Ving Rhames, who is always a treat to see on the silver screen. Yes, the original, “Dawn of the Dead,” is an amazingly tense movie with a clever message about capitalism, but the 2004 version actually brings the moments that make you jump out of your seat.
The 1951 film, “The Thing From Another World,” loosely draws upon the short story, “Who Goes There?” It is perfectly decent, but John Carpenter’s 1982 version of, “The Thing,” is a masterclass in acting, special effects, and has a damn good soundtrack as well. Once an alien that assumes the appearance of anyone or anything infiltrates an Antarctic research base tensions keep on rising as Kurt Russel, Keith David, and a younger-but-still old Wilford Brimley, among other men, accuse each other of being the unspeakable otherworldly creature. People still debate the ending to this day, an impressive feat for a movie that’s almost 40 years old.
The first, “Scarface,” is your standard 1938 gangster movie. The, “Scarface,” of 1983, however, is a cocaine-infused rollercoaster of violence, glitz, and excess while at its heart being a simple tale of one man’s downfall due to always wanting more. Al Pacino’s Tony Montana inspired countless catchphrases and would seem over-the-top in any movie besides this one where, “Too much,” is never enough.
There Will Always Be More
This list is by no means a complete one. There will always be more remakes on the way that could surpass the original. For example, yet another, “Nutty Professor,” is in the works as well as a new, “Gremlins,” and a new version of that classic children’s flick, “The Mighty Ducks.” These may be amazing or might struggle to impress, but without a doubt, the remakes will never stop!
Let us know what movies we missed in the comments!
David Bitterbaum is the longtime writer of The Newest Rant where he discusses how he loves all of popular culture, except for the stuff he hates. He often rambles about everything from movies, to music, television, and often comic-books. He lives in Saint Louis with his extremely patient wife and son.