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Movie Remakes - Best and Worst Part II

Updated on July 15, 2012

Hello everybody and welcome to part 2 of our Hollywood remakes. This section is rather long, so I hope you don’t mind that I have shortened it down to just 4 remakes as I have went a little more in depth with these ones this time. I hope you enjoy it. There is more on it’s way, and if you are looking for movie reviews, actor features and bios, visit mikeandrustys.com

Here we go, number one on the list:

Meet Joe Black: Originally made in 1934 – Remade in 1998

The movie starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins about Death coming to take a father’s life on earth, believe it or not was a remake. The 1998 movie was actually rather good and better than I once thought. I had deliberately declined this movie due to how it appeared, and it appeared to be a love story. Now that’s not to say that technically it is still a love story, but in fact it seems like an exploration through life as if recreating birth in an adult’s body. It seems that taste, touch and feeling have all been discovered. It is a very nice and intriguing story with Brad Pitt starring as Death, to come for Anthony Hopkins. At the start of the film there was a bit of a surprise when Death took the body he walked around on Earth with. But I will let you see it for yourself.

I honestly don’t know why I had it in for this movie so much. Maybe it’s because there was a big fuss over Brad Pitt being good looking and my male instincts kicked in. Or possibly I didn’t like Brad as an actor at this stage. But amazingly this was after all of his best roles, such as Kalifornia, Interview with the Vampire, Legends of the Fall, Seven and 12 Monkeys. But for some reason, I just wasn’t convinced by this one. But I saw it in 2006, and was pleasantly surprised.

The original was made in 1934 and was based on a play of the same name and has since recently been released on VHS in 1999, then DVD in 2010 by Universal Studios. At only 79 minutes long, this movie may be worth seeing if you have seen the Brad Pitt version.

The Nutty Professor: Originally made in 1963 and remade in 1996

Everyone knows the Eddie Murphy version of The Nutty Professor, but what may be lesser known was the original Jerry Lewis version and the styles are quite different. I urge you to watch the trailer for the original and let me know what you think of it. It seems a very different way to advertise a movie and an odd twist as well.

The Eddie Murphy version of course was the most over the top. Also produced by the original actor Jerry Lewis, Eddie is a very important actor and much of his earlier work in his 20’s has motion picture classic written all over them. But he later lost his funny bone and sadly declined after The Nutty Professor. This was possibly his last great movie, even though it was for kids, it was still hilarious seeing him dressed up as his whole family. And in those days as well as today that is still impressive! You would be excused to say that he was also good in Bowfinger and in Shrek. But my main point in is that he wasn’t great. And I feel that after The Nutty Professor 1, he wasn’t great anymore.

This remake was also produced by the original actor Jerry Lewis

The original was certainly creative, but not original even in those days. The story is based loosely on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from 1931. Although The Nutty Professor didn’t turn into a monster as such, he turned into a metaphorical monster. But that is why it can’t be included as a direct sequel, due to the differences. None the less, Eddie went on to do another Nutty Professor movie, The Klumps. The Nutty Professor was a runaway success that has earned nearly $274 Million at the box office, and much more on DVD. The Klumps only went on to make a modest success of $166 Million. But once there is a sequel, you know what we are thinking. Just a money cash in and is very rarely ever good! This was no different and was the beginning of the end for Murphy. After these 2, he did Dr. Dolittle, also a remake. Dr. Dolittle was originally made in 1967 and bombed at the box office. Eddie made 2 of these yet again and made a nice fortune from them. Although not his best, we can’t argue with the success he has had with 2 remakes and 2 sequels. There was also no need for Norbit, and Dreamworks and all involved in Shrek have milked that franchise to death. But hey, remember him in 48 hours? Or Trading Places? Or Beverley Hills Cop? He did 2 48 hours. And 3 Beverley Hills Cops. If he’s not careful he will end up in a “king of the sequels list” ;)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Originally made in 1974 and remade in 2003

This is one of America’s true classic horror movies. And not just because of the killer, but because of the chilling realism and gothic nature that set this movie apart from anything else. This movie was in a long list of small budget Independent productions that have been remade. Chainsaw scared audiences on its initial release, and appalled many critics. Some saying that it was exploitation and that sick twisted dark souls that create such filth. Others, including the legendary Roger Ebert, applauded the movie and even complimenting how real it was. He said that he didn’t expect anything more than what he got from the title of the movie. That begs the questions then. Who expected this to be a nice little family friendly movie? The Texas Chainsaw Massacre claims to be based on true events. This doesn’t mean that it is a true story, but taking many different variations of either the same story, or a number of true stories and making it their own. For many years I had been caught with this trick. It makes the movie seem more interesting if we think it’s a true story. When it was actually only based on Ed Gein, the killer from Plainfield Wisconsin who mutilated and decapitated his victims. This was in the 1950’s and was a tremendous shock to the surrounding area of this quiet town. He made furniture from the skin of the poor people who he had killed. He made belts and even made masks of which he would wear as well as the women’s clothing. He was a sociopath, and had a deep resentment to his mother but being so reliant on her, once she died he became completely unstable. He became obsessed with robbing graves and admitted that he had become possessed with it. He has single handily been responsible for movies such as Psycho, Silence of the Lambs and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Although some movies have taken elements from these, that in turn would mean he inspired them also. The original Chainsaw movie wasn’t following the same lines as Ed Gein but the elements still survived.

In 2003, Michael Bay decided to make a number of horror remakes and make some money. I actually applaud their take on the movie. As it follows a lot closer to Ed Gein as well as the original movie which I felt was a nice touch. It looks and feels better. But it’s so hard to watch it now due to the clichés in horror movies and the unfortunate thing is, there’s a lot of remakes been and are being made that will need to copy the same formula of a bunch of kids on a road trip to make it the same. Afterall, you watch a horror movie to see people get killed. Not watch a movie with a killer and no-one to kill. The remake went on to make a nifty $107 Million at the box office, spawning a prequel, and a planned sequel for 2013. The prequel only made $51 Million, but it wasn’t a total failure. They still made a profit of $38 Million. Not too bad, but could have been better.

Psycho: Originally made in 1960 and remade in 1998

Made by the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is a movie classic, period. He has made a few movies that have really stood the test of time and this is definitely one of them. Originally in black and white, due to it being cheaper to shoot in black and white as well as the blood in the shower scene would be deemed too shocking in color. He wanted to make the last great shocker and beat his rivals with this great little gem. But seeing as we all know about Psycho, let’s talk about the lesser known remake.

This was one of Vince Vaughn’s earliest movies, and easily one of his worst. The movie was a complete carbon copy of the original and there just was no need for it. It was remade shot for shot from the original, this time starring Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy and Anne Heche. Not a bad cast I think you will agree. It was also directed by Gus Van Sant, the man responsible for Good Will Hunting the previous year. They all came together to make this piece of crap that didn’t need to be made, let alone shot for shot. It’s just lazy, and there was no surprise if you have seen the original. The reason that remakes are changed even slightly is to attempt to surprise the audience that have seen the original. You can’t lose potential earning on a market by excluding those that have seen the original.

Psycho the remake went on to actually lose nearly $30 Million at the box office. It would be worth seeing what all the fuss is about to be honest. It’s not a bad movie really. It just blatantly copies from the original too closely and fails in that respect. But if you wanted to see the original but don’t like Black and White, watch the remake.

For Psycho there was actually 3 sequels, a prequel and 2 remakes made after the original. This is startling to know, as they have never been big enough to be widely known about, nor good enough to become cult.



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    • Jo Larsson profile image

      Jo Larsson 4 years ago from Zürich, Switzerland

      Very interesting and informative review, i didn't realize so many of today's films where knockoffs of old films.

    • mikeandrustys profile image
      Author

      mikeandrustys 5 years ago

      Absolutely! The dream is to go and see an original horror movie and not see the same old usual. But that won't happen. There's so many of them out there since the 1960's. It's pretty much 5 per month since 1960 straight through the 90's. And there is very little to do that's different. I must say though that Insidious is one I would highly recommend and even Wrong Turn in the last 10 years or so. I was surprised by both of them. Cabin in the Woods is my next one to watch. I am careful nowadays as I feel they will just be worthless. But Cabin in the Woods seems the one for me.

    • ndaffinee profile image

      ndaffinee 5 years ago from Jumbled Brain, USA

      Good reviews! I like how you pointed out that you don't go see a horror to see a killer with no one to kill. I think I always forget that. I'm not a big fan of horrors, I'll admit, I'm a scaredy-cat, but the few I've seen in my life I've gotten angry with. I'm always screaming at the screen, "what are you doing? you idiot!" But if they were smarter, they'd be less likely to get killed and it wouldn't be horror anymore. I'd love to see someone make a movie with smart characters that dont do the typical idiotic things, but still get killed. Anyway, I also like that you mentioned how closely the remake of Psycho resembles the original. I saw a piece of the remake one day, not realizing there was a remake, and said "weird, I thought this was a black and white and I don't remember Anne Heche in it" LOL so yeah, it was very, very similar.