Top film remakes…. Can a film be better than the original?

With Cruella, The Little Mermaid and Mulan waiting in the wings, it is worth considering the best remakes. The releases of Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King and Hellboy have had varied degrees of success. Even though Disney is merely retelling many of their classic animated films, it does get the mind thinking of remakes.

What about the remakes?

Going back to films of the past or other countries to find good source material for films, Hollywood has managed to get these new versions right. Some of these films were so good, most people did not even know that they were remakes. There are quite a few options to choose from for this list, but we will limit them to the top ten remakes. 

Reel Dialogue’s top 10 film remakes

  1. True Grit – The combination of the Coen Brothers and Jeff Bridges was the rare moment where the new outdoes the original. Also, they managed to get a western back at the top. 
  2. The Departed – Hard to imagine that Martin Scorsese needed to use borrowed material, but this classic did the original Hong Kong production justice.
  3. 3:10 to Yuma – Another western makes the list, but this is one of Russell Crowe’s best performances. Many have not seen this fantastic film, but it is worth a look. 
  4. Aladdin – Out of the recent Disney choices, this has been the stand out of the live-action remakes. Also, it has gone on to be the biggest box office success of Will Smith and director Guy Ritchie.
  5. Insomnia – One of the rare Christopher Nolan films that get forgotten. Al Pacino and Robin Williams provide excellent performances to the adaptation of the original Norwegian film. 
  6. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) – Finally a comedy! A remake of 1964’s Bedtime Story, This Frank Oz production capitalises on the comedic brilliance of Steve Martin and Michael Caine. 
  7. 12 Monkeys (1995) – Not even realising that this was a remake of La Jetee (1962), this quirky, yet brilliant Terry Gilliam film continues to captivate in its prophetic nature.
  8. Ocean’s Eleven -Steven Soderbergh and the boys looked like they were having fun in every frame of this remake of the Rat Pack original. 
  9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -For Willy Wonka and Gene Wilder fans this will be a controversial addition to the list. Tim Burton was made to make Roald Dahl inspired films. His style complements the bizarre children’s author view of the world. 
  10. War of the Worlds – Yes, even Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise make the list. Outside of the ending, this production still stands up against many of the apocalyptic films of this era.

Honourable Mentions

  1. Hairspray – This was added for the sake of the ladies in our house that love this version over the original. 
  2. Dawn of the Dead – Zach Snyder helps to get a zombie film close to the top 10.
  3. Homeward Bound – Disney is notorious for rebooting their own material, but this children’s remake of The Incredible Journey will still bring a tear to your eye. 
  4. Scarface -A magnificent performance by Al Pacino would seem mild in comparison to today’s cinema, but still a classic.
  5. Beauty and the Beast – This film has been done a multitude of times, but the recent release had to get a mention for the sake of my daughters. 
PLANET OF THE APES (2001) Tim Roth (L) and Mark Wahlberg

Some of the least appealing remakes

There are plenty of options for this list, but here are some of the worst. They do not need much commentary, just a warning label that they might be bad for your health.

  1. Planet of the Apes (2001)Tim Burton made this list, too. Skip this version and enjoy the new series.
  2. Godzilla (1998) – The most recent version was not much better, but the 1998 version was an embarrassment to this franchise. That is a stretch to be the worst within this genre. 
  3. Psycho (1998) – Not a good year for remakes.
  4. Point Break – The original was a cult classic, but this version took itself too seriously.
  5. Arthur – Please allow this to be the end of Russell Brand’s acting career. 

REEL DIALOGUE: Asking the bigger questions

1. What makes a film appealing? 

2. What are your thoughts on the top and worst films?