My Top 10 Favorite Remakes

Let’s get controversial.

Some groundrules:

1) If I haven’t seen the original, I’m not counting it. This leaves out movies such as 12 Angry Men, which first came out as a TV movie (which might be impossible to find).

2) It’s not only about the quality of the remake, it’s about how they take the ideas of the original and rework them into something different.

In general, I dislike remakes for the sake of remaking. But if someone sees an interesting movie, which doesn’t quite explore the ideas as far is it could have or you find different points of view to explore, than I’m all for it. With that in mind, in the order I came up with these:

Suspiria (2018) remaking Suspiria (1977)

Ooh, blasphemy from the very start. But yes, I actually like the remake more. I get why the original has fans, but at the same time it isn’t really a story. It’s almost experimental. The new one, however, takes these ideas and runs with them, fleshing out the whole thing and building a world that the original doesn’t really touch on. To me, this is the gold standard of remaking.

Per un pugno di dollari aka A Fistful of Dollars (1964) remaking Yôjinbô (1961)

Is this a remake or just using the same source material? I’m going with a remake. You just take a story and put it into a very different environment.

Miller’s Crossing (1964) remaking Yôjinbô (1961)

Is this a remake or just using the same source material? I’m going with a remake. You just take a story and put it into a very different environment. I guess one difference to the previous movie is that this one actually acknowledged the original source material by Hammett, whereas the other two don’t.

All three of these actually used to be on my top 100 list, but have since fallen out to make room for other movies, but I still like all of them quite a bit.

Living (2022) remaking Ikiru (1952)

If you have to remake a movie, going with a Kurosawa movie seems to be a good place to start. I mean, they are great, but despite having strong western influences, they were made for a Japanese audience, so a lot of westerners might not have seen them.

This is just a small film about a bureaucrat, who finds out that he is dying and wants to actually accomplish something instead of just delaying everything. While the remake isn’t that different, Bill Nighy is just great. Always. The original is an all-time great movie, but Nighy’s presence does give the remake a reason to exist, so to say.

Matilda (2022) remaking Matilda (1996)

My first memory of this movie is actually a YouTube short where someone took Rob Zombie’s Dragula and played it over a dance scene in this movie. Works remarkably well.

Musicals aren’t really in vogue these days, but I do kind of love them. Well, sometimes. Like here. Just make something unexpected into a musical and there’s inherent fun there. See, the new Joker movie.

Maniac (2012) remaking Maniac (1980)

Is there much of a point in remaking that original movie? It’s just kind of a generic slasher film that isn’t even that widely known despite having some kind of a cult status. Still, the remake does do something interesting. It switches the point of view to that of the killer. And when I say point of view, we literally see what’s going on from the point of view of the killer, in first person. That definitely gives it a very different feel as you are put into the head of the killer in a very new way.

The Invisible Man (2020) remaking The Invisble Man (1934)

There’s plenty of movies this could be seen as a remake of, but I’m going with the one I know best (and is regarded as the best in general).

I like the change of point of view here as well, but it’s a different kind of change. In the original we see a scientist driven insane by the chemicals combined with the power he finds in his new ability. In the remake we follow the victim of someone who was already a control freak, but just happened to figure out how to become invisible. Having a great actor starring is also helpful.

Evil Dead (2013) remaking The Evil Dead (1981)

The problem here is that I think this movie suffers from being compared to the original. Although I get why people wouldn’t like this for other reasons as well. Also, is it a remake or somekind of a soft reboot of the franchise? I don’t know.

What I like here is the addiction theme. It’s pretty much the same story, but this theme changes the way you see things (and does eventually come into play in the story as well).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) remaking Män som hatar kvinnor (2009)

Oh, I never realized this came out so soon after the original.

Anyhow, in principle this is one of those unnecessary remakes you see from Hollywood, where they don’t trust the audiences to be able to watch movies with subtitles. They are probably right. Still, this is a remake that is just better, because of the higher quality. For once, the money in Hollywood put to good use in terms of remaking everything. There isn’t anything to put your finger on even. It’s just so many small details that are ever so slightly better, because they had more time and resources to put into this. Sadly, it didn’t do well, so the sequels never got the same treatment (and they would have needed it more).

The Magnificent Seven (1960) remaking Shichinin no samurai aka Seven Samurai (1954)

I guess I need to restate this: If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that if you are going to remake a movie, go with Kurosawa, because it’s a rich trove. I mean, it has been argued that Star Wars is a remake of Hidden Fortress and Rashmon has been remade a couple of times, as has High and Low. There actually a separate page for this on Wikipedia and that only seems to be able to touch the subject.

Seven Samurai is the gold standard of this. I don’t know if anyone knows how many times this has been remade, but just think Bug’s Life is also a remake of this film. The basic idea of the movie is just so easy to adapt to so many different settings.

The Magnificent Seven might have been the first, but it is still the best (of the ones I’ve seen). While Leone did it better later on, the filmmakers here realized how well the source material translates to the mythological West. While nothing has been ever able to get even close to the original, this is the closest.

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