Ah, remakes. It’s a common mistake that remakes are something of a modern thing in Hollywood, but the truth is that they’ve been around for a very long time. Crazy as it may seem, some cinematic classics are actually remakes. Scarface, Ocean’s Eleven and The Departed, for example, are all remakes.
So, what did those remakes get right that most get wrong? Well, they actually had a reason to exist. Scarface and Ocean’s Eleven both saw potential in previous films that hadn’t fully reached it, and decided to try something different and create something better. The Departed is a remake of a foreign film, which is a great way of getting different stories seen by an audience who otherwise may never have watched them because they don’t watch subtitled movies.
There is no doubt that ‘remake culture’ has become far worse in recent years, however. With many major studios turning their attention towards recognisable brands in an effort to cash in, a large portion of mainstream movies these days are either remakes, reboots, re-imaginings, prequels, sequels, or some other kind of franchise production.
The difference now is that unlike before, studios don’t care if the remake actually has a point or not. They just go ahead and do it anyway, usually with disastrous results.
Remakes only make sense if they are doing something different than the original film, improving upon it, or creating an English-language version. Unless it falls under one of those three categories, it has little reason to exist. That definitely applies to all of the films on the below list.
Just to be clear, this list focuses strictly on films that can only be described as remakes. To avoid confusion, it doesn’t include movies that could be described as reboots or re-imaginings, such as the new Ghostbusters movie or the Amazing Spider-Man films. The movies listed are simply remakes of original properties, both in production and story.
10. Clash of the Titans (2010)
The original Clash of the Titans is a classic. There are minor elements in it that don’t necessarily hold up very well, but for the most part the effects are impressive and the film still looks pretty solid. It’s a film that was clearly very well-made for the time, and a lot of effort had been put in to create something special.
The remake was the exact opposite. It was a sloppily put-together, cynical marketing scheme designed for the sole purpose of capitalising on a well-known title, with added 3D for some extra cash. Everything about the film feels lazy on every level, and it doesn’t help that they couldn’t even stay true to the source material, making several changes to the story itself.
It also has a terrible lead performance from Mr. Charisma himself Sam Worthington, who is not capable of helming his own movie, no matter how hard Hollywood tries. The CGI is terrible, and the 3D is some of the worst in history, making this film more likely to date before the original does.
The original still looks great, and the remake does not. The original is enjoyable, and the remake is not. The original feels like an actual piece of filmmaking, and the remake feels like a cynical cash-grab. If you want to watch Clash of the Titans in the future, you will undoubtedly pick out the original, making this remake wholly unnecessary.
9. Carrie (2013)
The genre that is most often butchered by ‘remake culture’ is horror. Horror movies have been recycled so many times over the years and in so many ways, that audiences actually don’t even know where to begin anymore. In 2013, we were treated to a remake of Carrie, the 1976 horror classic.
The story of Carrie is based on a novel by Stephen King. The man is the master of horror. He can truly write chilling and disturbing stories, which is something that the original was able to portray. The sexual elements of the original have been totally dumbed down in the remake, which is clearly trying to fit in with modern culture, at the expense of what made the original so special. The reason for this film’s failure can be bottled down to the fact that it lost sight of why the first film worked so well in the first place.
It also has no visual flair, either. Brian DePalma is a stylish director, so it comes as no surprise that the original had so much iconic imagery. The remake, being a cynical studio-designed production, has none of that. You can’t feel a creative touch anywhere in the new version.
Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore really do try in this, but they have absolutely nothing interesting to work with. The edginess that the original film had is totally lost in the remake, and the film lacks anything that stands on its own. As with Clash of the Titans, if you’re going to watch Carrie, you’re not going to watch this one, so what’s the point?
8. The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Unlike the previous movies on this list, The Magnificent Seven remake isn’t a particularly atrocious film, but that doesn’t make it any more necessary.
The original Magnificent Seven is actually the perfect example of a remake that made sense at the time. It was technically a remake of Seven Samurai, but it took the basic idea and did something fresh with it, making it feel unique. The same can’t be said for the 2016 film.
The cast are okay, as you’d expect from them, but the character-building is not up-to-par. The bond between the characters was a key part of the original, and that same magic is absent here. It just doesn’t work as well.
The film looks decent enough, the action scenes are acceptable, and the performances are competent, but ultimately the film ends up being nothing more than just okay. So, although it might not be the worst remake ever made, was it needed? You’d still watch the original when presented with a choice, so why bother?
7. Robocop (2014)
Does anyone even remember this movie happened?
This is the main problem. It’s only been a few years, and this film has already been rendered pointless. When you think of Robocop, you think of the 1987 film, not this one.
This is another example of a remake that failed because it lost sight of why the original worked in the first place. For one thing, the violence is lacking here. A common theme these days is studios dumbing movies down to make them more family friendly, because that means they can get a lower age certificate and sell more tickets. The sad thing is that the violence in the original Robocop was such an integral part of it.
The original was edgy and proud. It was set in a really grim vision of Detroit, and used plenty of graphic violence, but the remake actually looks quite clean and… well, Hollywood-ized. The gore is all but gone, and the uniqueness of the original has evolved into a stereotypical, throwaway action blockbuster. That’s one of the main reasons that this version went unnoticed.
The film also focused far more on the guy in the suit as opposed to Robocop himself. Audiences were given a lot of time with the man and his family, as opposed to what they’d actually paid for.
Everything that made the original interesting was lost in this remake, a cliché-ridden summer blockbuster that could’ve literally been called anything else.
Part of the charm of Robocop was built around its eighties setting. There was no need for a remake in 2014.
6. Point Break (2015)
The original Point Break is cheesy and ridiculous, but that’s exactly why people love it. It’s a bonafide nineties action movie, and its proud of it. These days, people still put it on and enjoy it. It’s a fun thrill-ride and it’s never boring.
In 2015, audiences were given a remake that (yet again) failed to recognise why people loved the original so much. The new film took itself far too seriously, forgetting to have any fun whatsoever, with actors who were seriously lacking in charisma.
The characters in this film weren’t just surfers, either. They were now adrenaline junkies who did pretty much every stunt you could imagine, for no other reason than to create some cool images for the trailers. This isn’t what Point Break was about. The title literally refers to a surfing term.
Ultimately, this film’s main downfall was how seriously it took itself. It became incredibly boring to watch and it dragged. A remake of a film like Point Break should be anything but dull, and this is exactly why it failed.