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8 Remakes That Give Me Hope For The Future Of Filmmaking, And 8 That Prove Hollywood’s Out Of Ideas

8 Remakes That Give Me Hope For The Future Of Filmmaking, And 8 That Prove Hollywood’s Out Of Ideas

Father of the Bride was just released on HBO Max last week.


HBO Max

This is the third film adaptation of the 1949 novel of the same name written by Edward Streeter. In 1950, the novel was adapted into a film starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor. Then, in 1991, it was remade with Steve Martin.


Touchstone Pictures

The newest iteration of the film is a fresh new take on the story, with a Cuban-American family at the helm.


HBO Max

Sometimes, we get lucky and Hollywood will give us a remake that brings something new to the story. But, more often than not, we’re just watching a carbon copy of a movie that brought film execs financial success in the past.


Fox

So let’s take a look at 8 remakes that actually had something new to say, and 8 that seem a little TOO familiar if you ask me:

1.

TOO SIMILAR — Little Women (2019)


Sony Pictures Releasing

This movie’s great, and it was nominated for tons of awards, BUT this is the SEVENTH film version of Little Women. There’s also been a miniseries, TV adaptations, musicals, and even an opera. That’s too many things, especially when the basic story is left relatively unchanged. Did Hollywood need to remake this, really? Or did they need to showcase the current who’s who of white millennial and Gen Z Hollywood for profit?

2.

ADDED SOMETHING NEW — Annie (2014)


Columbia Pictures

This remake didn’t get the best reviews, but at least the filmmakers gave us something different. Annie had been made twice before this, with a pretty similar-looking cast both times. This 2014 Annie was the first version to be set in the present-day instead of the Great Depression. And, it was also the first version to cast Black actors as the two leads. (Jamie Foxx as Daddy Warbucks and Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie).

3.

TOO SIMILAR — Carrie (2013)


Sony Pictures

The 2013 version of Carrie was supposed to be more of an adaptation of the original book rather than a remake of the 1976 De Palma classic, but it pretty much follows the original beat-for-beat.

There were definitely some stylistic differences, but this new version didn’t seem to update the look of Carrie’s mother and their house, or any of the creepy old-fashioned religious stuff either. It was so similar to the original that, at certain points, I forgot this was set in modern day.

Kimberly Peirce, the remake’s director, is an incredible filmmaker, and I think this was a case of the movie studio having too much input. They wanted to update Carrie, but instead of doing so in a meaningful way, they gave us the same old story but *now with cell phones!*

4.

ADDED SOMETHING NEW — West Side Story (2021)


20th Century Studios

2021’s West Side Story was a hit with both audiences and critics. It followed the same storyline as the original from 1961, but incorporated a couple of changes. One major change was the role of Anybodys. In the original movie, Anybodys was a tomboy, but in the 2021 version, he is a trans man. This, along with casting actual Latinx actors to play characters that are Puerto Rican, gives the movie and its characters much more depth.

5.

TOO SIMILAR — Psycho (1998)


Universal Pictures

There’s no doubt in my mind that this near shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho should never have been made. Vince Vaughn? As Norman Bates? He wishes. 

I love Gus Van Sant, the director who made this, but like, if you have the go-ahead to remake one of the most beloved horror movies of all time, at least do something different. And I’m not talking about making it in color or adding a scene where Vince Vaughn’s Norman is jerking off to Marion Crane because those weren’t enough. Give me something different, something weirder! People are gonna compare your version to the original anyway, so if you do something completely out of left field, maybe they’d at least respect that. 

6.

ADDED SOMETHING NEW — Freaky Friday (2018)


Disney

People regard the 2003 Lindsay Lohan/Jamie Lee Curtis Freaky Friday as the best version, and maybe even the only version. But, there have actually been three other adaptations of the movie. The newest one is a Disney Channel Original Movie, and it’s based on a musical of the same name. The movie itself is a bit strange and awkward, but the songs slap. It truly doesn’t feel like a remake. It’s its own thing, which is good, because I feel like Disney knows that if they tried to remake the 2003 one, there would be an uproar.

7.

TOO SIMILAR — A Christmas Carol


Walt Disney Pictures

Okay, I’m not talking about a specific version of A Christmas Carol here, and more just like, all the versions. There’s just so many, and they keep coming out. Sure, there’ll be an original gem once in a while hidden among all the clones, but they’re pretty few and far between. And like, why even make another version afterThe Muppet Christmas Carol exists?

8.

ADDED SOMETHING NEW (but just barely) — Pet Sematary (2019)


Paramount Pictures Studios

The Pet Sematary remake made some pretty big changes from the original 1989 version. The plot is basically the same: in both films, a family moves into a new house, one of their kids gets hit by a truck, they bury the kid in a cemetery that brings the dead back to life, and the kid comes back wrong and kills people. In the original, the family’s very young son Gage dies, while in the remake, it’s the older sister Ellie that gets run over. 

By changing which kid dies, the new Pet Sematary tried to do something different, so I’ll give them that. But, I think it actually just made the story super boring. A toddler zombie boy is just always gonna be scarier to me than the overused trope of a creepy little girl. But A for effort!

9.

TOO SIMILAR — The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)


Sony Pictures

In 2002 Sam Raimi gave us the iconic Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire, which led to the greatest superhero movie of all time, Spider-Man 2, and, of course, the notoriously campy Spider-Man 3. Just five short years after the third entry, Sony gave us The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield. Not only did we have to see the whole spider bite/transformation stuff all over again, but we had to witness Uncle Ben’s death a second time, all while Raimi’s franchise was still pretty fresh in our minds.

But I guess it was all worth it when both Maguire and Garfield returned in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home to join Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man for an interdimensional team-up.

10.

ADDED SOMETHING NEW — Ghostbusters (2016)


Columbia Pictures

Many people hated the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters. Some thought it was a gimmick, but we can all agree that it brought something new to the table. It was an all-female team of Ghostbusters this time. And while it wasn’t the greatest movie ever made, it tried something different. 

The release of the new Ghostbusters and the subsequent backlash it received prompted a lot of discourse regarding gender and fan culture, but nothing really came of it. If Hollywood made a gender-swapped Indiana Jones right now, I’m sure the fans would react the same exact way they responded to Ghostbusters. This is exactly why Hollywood needs to keep taking chances like this. So that, eventually, everyone will be able to see themselves on screen.

11.

TOO SIMILAR — Cinderella (2015)


Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Disney’s recent trend of remaking their animated films into live-action versions seems to me like a HUGE missed opportunity, especially with Cinderella. We’ve seen the animated version from 1950 a hundred times. We’re so familiar with the characters and the storyline, that it’s boring to see the same thing again, even if it’s being done with real live actors. Instead of casting an actor that looks identical to a cartoon character that was drawn over 60 years ago, why not cast someone completely different? Or maybe change the plot slightly, or add a twist ending?

There are dozens of similar adaptations of Cinderella. Unless someone adds something new to the mix, can we just stop making these movies? I mean, I can only take so many dead dads, big gown reveals, and unexplained musical interludes.

12.

ADDED SOMETHING NEW — The Mummy (1999)


Universal Pictures

The Mummy remake was a huge success. It led to two sequels and launched The Scorpion King franchise. The film that it was based on was a horror movie, 1932’s The Mummy starring Boris Karloff. The remake, however, was an action-adventure film with Brendan Frasier at the helm.

I want to say that the reason this remake is not just a carbon copy of the original is because the plot, the characters, and the genre are completely different. But, while that’s true, the “something new” that sets this film apart from the original is, in fact, Brendan Fraser.

Fraser’s Rick O’Connell is a true himbo, an icon of his time, and the whole reason why when someone mentions The Mummy there’s no way you’re thinking of the 1932 version.

13.

TOO SIMILAR — A Star is Born (2018)


Warner Bros. Pictures

The latest, and fourth, adaption of A Star is Born, was similar to its Barbra Streisand-led 1976 predecessor. Yes, there were several changes, but that wasn’t enough for some people, namely Barbra Streisand who struggled with its originality. She has said that the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper film was too close to her version and essentially “the wrong idea.”

She was quoted as saying, “I can’t argue with success, but I don’t care so much about success as I do originality.” 

I love the sentiment, Barbra. Go shake things up in Hollywood.

14.

ADDED SOMETHING NEW — The Great Gatsby (2013)


Warner Bros. Pictures

Whether you like him or not, Baz Luhrmann always gives us a cinematic extravaganza. Watching one of his movies is an event. 

In his 2013 interpretation of The Great Gatsby, he mixes old eras with modern music, his sets and costumes are over-the-top, and everything you see looks almost surreal. It oozes decadence and opulence and sometimes it’s even too much to look at. And, we already have a straightforward retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel in 1979’s The Great Gatsby starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Baz Luhrmann knew that. So he gave us Gatsby through his eyes. He did what a remake should do: update an old story for a modern audience.

15.

TOO SIMILAR — Funny Games (2007)


Madman Entertainment, Warner Independent

In 1997, director Michael Haneke released his Austrian thriller Funny Games. He had always wanted to set it in America, so ten years later, he made it again with American actors in a shot-for-shot remake.

Because it’s made by the same director, the 2007 version is equally as scary and effective as its ’90s precursor.

These movies aren’t just siblings, they’re identical twins, and you can’t really choose one over the other. It’s like that old “spot the imposter” trope where the villain’s disguised themselves as the hero’s friend and they both try to convince the hero that the other one is the imposter.

16.

ADDED SOMETHING NEW — Little Shop of Horrors (1986)


Warner Bros. Pictures

1986’s Little Shop of Horrors is based on a musical from 1982, which is based on a horror comedy film from 1960. 

The musical stars America’s sweetheart Rick Moranis as Seymour in a career-defining performance (Spaceballs who?). The music was written and composed by Howard Ashman and EGOT-winner Alan Menken. They would go on to write the music for The Little MermaidBeauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. 

The film was nominated for two Oscars and is now considered an absolute classic. By turning the original into a musical, the remake, while still keeping its horror-comedy tone, can totally stand on its own.

Let us know which remakes you thought added something new to the source material and which ones were too similar.

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