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Great and Not So Great Remakes

OR_Evil Dead 2013 movie Wallpaper 1440x900

This weekend Evil Dead, the controversial remake of Sam Raimi’s cult classic, hit theaters.  Since the announcement of this project there has endless bickering about it.  There are purists who believe that originals should be left alone, there are modernists who would love to see the story brought to life with 21st special effects, and then there are people like me who don’t know what to think but are slightly intrigued.

The new project does look promising, yet we must not forget the many tales that Hollywood has tarnished in their pursuit of more green.  In (dis)honor of the many films that Hollywood has redone over the years I am counting down some the great and some of the not so great remakes over the years.  Where Evil Dead will fall on this list remains to be seen, but there will be plenty of talk. Well without further ado, here are the remakes that made an impact on me, for better or for worse.

Here we go:

The Good:

The Parent Trap


Aw, cute Lindsay Lohan, where did you go? In this beloved 1998 film, Miss Lohan takes on the roles of identical twins, Hallie and Annie, who were separated at birth and discover one another at summer camp.  Only 12 at the time, Lohan proved she had skills but, as we all know, her personal troubles soon overpowered her work.

Fortunately we have this film, which surpassed the original in many ways, to look back on her cute innocence:

Dawn of the Dead


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead is terrific!  The 2004 film cranks up the action of the George A. Romero zombie classic to terrifying results.  While it may not be as groundbreaking as the original, this  film moves away from the original plot enough to stand alone with its own kick-butt story. Who doesn’t love Sarah Polley?

Reasons why she’s awesome:

The Bad:

Black Christmas


Here’s one film that maybe should have followed in the footsteps of the original a little more closely.  The 2006 version of Black Christmas took everything that made the 1974 horror classic great and made it contrived, foolish, and unintentionally funny.  Katie Cassidy and Mary Elizabeth Winstead have been able to leave this blemish on their resumes behind with better projects, but some of the other ladies have been about as fortunate as their characters in the film.

You can judge the trailer for yourself:

The Longest Yard


Adam Sandler has put out some stinkers over the years, but at least you could cut him some slack for being original.  This time around he sucks with someone else’s material.  The Burt Reynold’s original was a pretty good movie, but Sandler takes any wit out the script and replaces it with his usual cheap schtick.  Sadly, things have only gone downhill for the comedian since then.

Look how “funny”:

The Great:

True Grit


The Cohen Brothers raise their awesomeness bar even higher by showing they can change very little from the original, yet still embody their impeccable style and humor.  True Grit, both the original and remake, has been praised by fans, critics, and even got some Academy love.  Besides being visually stunning and filled with gripping action sequences, the best thing about the Cohen brothers’ version is the introduction of Hailee Steinfeld to the film world.  The film got her an Oscar nomination and a slew of well-deserved follow-up roles.

She can even hold her own against Jeff Bridges:

The Thing


Few remakes have taken the original and expanded upon to make it even bigger and better.  The John Carpenter remake of the Howard Hawks original, The Thing, is a rare case where modern special effects worked and improved the film on a number of a levels.  At the time of its original release, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. gained all the attention and sci-fi overlooked it, but thankfully over the years it has gained its deserved attention.

One of the many iconic scenes from this film:

Little side-note: The Thing remake in 2011 with Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a remake of a remake that we should all simply forget about.

The Just Plain Awful:

The Women


Women of the 1930s were extremely limited in almost every aspect of their lives, but women have overcome much of the patriarchy of society since then.  Diane English’s 2008 remake of The Women says the opposite with a group of catty, snobby, and materialistic stereotypes.  The 1930 original Broadway hit from Claire Boothe Luce was filled with fascinating rivalries without dissolving into petty bitchiness of the remake.  Clearly, women still deserve better treatment in entertainment.

Ignore the remake and just watch the original:



If you remake a movie shot by shot you will get the same results, right?  Gus Van Sant’s butchering of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is the prime example that a masterpiece is hard to duplicate.  Nowhere in the film is there a major shock like in the original.  Years of slasher films and horror movie plot twists have taken away what made the original so innovative and new.  Let us hope that the other Hitchcock classics will be left alone.

You can see the shower scene of both films played side-by-side and you can decide for yourself which is best:

Well there you have it! If I missed a notable remake that you felt one way or the other about, let me know in the comments section.

Evil Dead gets a wide release tomorrow and is sure to get people talking.  Check out the trailer below if you’re interested.  Happy moviegoing!


2 comments on “Great and Not So Great Remakes

  1. MikesFilmTalk
    April 14, 2013

    Great breakdown mate! Oh and you’ve been nominated!!

  2. Pingback: » Movie Review – Thing, The (2011) Fernby Films

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