Movie Remakes - Best and Worst Part III
[v. ree-meyk; n. ree-meyk] Show IPAverb, re·made, re·mak·ing, noun
verb (used with object)
to make again or anew.
Movies . to film again, as a picture or screenplay.
Remakes can be reboots, rehashes, reworking’s or reimagining’s. No matter what it is called, it’s still a remake. But if you forget about that for a second and realise that some movies have actually been made more than twice, then it becomes less of an issue. Here is a small list of movies that were made 3 times. This is only a list of 4, but there are more that will come later on. For now, I hope you enjoy these ones and know that I too was surprised by some. I often know when a movie was a remake but to hear that something I didn’t know was a remake was actually made 3 times? Man, now I’ve seen it all.
Let’s start with a little known movie named...
The Longest Yard – Originally made in 1974 – Remade in 2001 as Mean Machine – And remade again in 2005
The original Longest Yard starred Burt Reynolds, as an ex football player that after a fight with his girlfriend he steals her car, runs from the cops and lands it in the bay. This movie primarily revolves around Paul Crewe, (Reynolds) as he goes around the prison recruiting the biggest, meanest and baddest men in jail to play football against the guards. Interestingly in this movie, Richard Kiel was recruited as the biggest man on the field. A man with a stature of 7ft 1.5, played Jaws in the James Bond movie Moonraker. He would later go on to star in Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore, for which Sandler would later remake The Longest Yard.
Mean Machine was the ¾ remake starring Vinnie Jones as an inmate looking to recruit prisoners to play soccer against the guards. In this version, the name that the inmates called themselves as a team in the original movie was taken as the title for this one. It reunited most of the cast from Guy Richie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch including Jason Statham and also starring , Danny Dyer and Omid Djalili. This was a bit more real, and sinister than the others in this list, but worth a watch as the black humour and satirical views on prison life and soccer players are particularly funny to watch. Also just to see the differences between each version, I would recommend this.
And The Longest Yard direct remake was then made by Adam Sandler and starring Chris Rock, Nelly and William Fichtner. As well as the main cast, there was a great array of supporting talent that resembles the plot of the movie as I can visualise Adam going to everyone’s house and asking them if they want to be a part of this. It seems like a good football draft with these guys. With Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Terry Crews, Nicholas Turturro, Bill Goldberg and even Burt Reynolds returns and is another that has starred in the original and the remake.
Although Mean Machine isn’t a direct remake as it doesn’t follow the same name nor the names of the characters, it still follows the main plot closely and the name Mean Machine is blatantly relevant to the movies.
Disturbia – Originally named Rear Window and made in 1954, and remade in 1998, Disturbia was made in 2007)
Rear Window is a psychological, suspense thriller by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart as a photographer that had broken his leg, and was essentially trapped in his apartment with a cast and wheelchair. He started peering on his neighbours until he saw something that he shouldn’t see, a murder. But worst yet, the murderer saw James looking and he came after him. This is a fantastic piece of cinema and really catches that edgy feeling that Hitchcock pioneered. Some would say that he invented the psychological horror aspect that I think works so well with this one.
In 1998, a remake surfaced and was a direct remake as well. Christopher Reeve, now permanently bound to a wheelchair after he suffered spinal cord injuries and had become a Quadriplegic. A unfortunate cause of events and it is very sad to know he is not with us anymore but Christopher Reeve will always be Superman in our hearts. Interestingly, Reeve was born in 1952 and he died at age 52 in 2004. Strange. But anyway, Reeve played this part exceptionally well and was able to capture the real sense of paranoia, claustrophobia and suspense that director Jeff Bleckner could only dream of creating. But instead this was created by the utterly convincing, and incredible performance by Reeve whilst genuinely in a wheelchair. It became all the more frightening with the knowledge of Reeve really being limited and with the killer after him too, things got a little tense to say the least.
Disturbia was not a direct remake, but was none the less the same story that had been brought into the modern age. Directed by D.J Caruso and produced by Steven Spielberg, this may have been missed by a lot of people but it was actually well received due to Shia LaBeouf’s performance. But the movie added numerous changes and did become a run of the mill slasher towards the end but nevertheless , Disturbia had all the elements of Rear Window and I am surprised that Rihanna’s song of the same name wasn’t used. It was confusing as both had come out at around the same time so whenever I heard the name Disturbia I would automatically think of the song. I bet it’s in your head now...
Anyway, these movies work, in their own right and for quite possibly a first, I will recommend all 3 of these movies to watch in all of their glory. They are worth it.
I am Legend – Originally named The Last Man on Earth in 1964, and remade in 1971 as The Omega Man, finally remade in 2007 as I am Legend.
All of these movies were based on the novel entitled I Am Legend written by Richard Mattheson. The Last Man on Earth starred Vincent Price, and is one of his lesser known roles. He stars as the title suggests, the last man alive and he turns into a reluctant vampire hunter due to a world wide plague that wiped out humanity. I’m not going to lie it’s not great. And with these things billed as vampires that are clearly zombies, it really goes to show how odd this film will get. But my main worry if I was going to make this movie would be the fact that he is alone. How do you make the first part interesting when he is alone? It is difficult, for which this movie seems to understand quite well.
The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston, was slightly different from the original and the book. Biological warfare was used instead of a plague to wipe out humanity. This is fine, but the vampire things were yet again unconvincing but that wouldn’t surprise as we have Mr Charlton Heston in the leading role. He is a legend, (pun intended) but no less true. He is very good in this role and you actually feel his fear when he’s scared, his joy when he is happy, and his anger when he gets mad. And he does a few times with a machine gun. Oh yeah!
I Am Legend, starring Will Smith, joins a lineage of movies that have starred great actors so why not cast one of the biggest on earth right now, Willard Smith AKA The Fresh Prince. Or is that the other way around? I forget.
The main plot is the same but the disease is different. This version’s disease and reason for humanity being wiped out, was a cure for cancer backfiring and causing widespread death but left only a few that had a pretty thirsty need for blood. I watched this when it was out and I really didn’t like it. I think because this franchise is really the basis for a lot of movies I have seen, particularly zombie movies.
I Am Legend the novel was the first ever mention and creation of a zombie. It had simply never been conceived before where there were already vampires, werewolves and various other monsters. But surprisingly no zombies. But now after this book and 2 movies, Night of the Living Dead was released in 1968, only 4 years after The Last Man on Earth and 3 years before The Omega Man. Now we have been bombarded with over 1000 zombie movies and the majority of them with “dead” in the titles. I think I was zombied out by the time I saw this. I will need to watch it again to give a proper recommendation.
The Last House on the Left – Originally entitled The Virgin Spring in 1960, it was then adapted into The Last House on the Left in 1972, and a direct remake of
I have to say that no movie made me more uncomfortable than The Last House on the Left. The plot is very simple and nothing special but it goes exactly what I have said before. The plot doesn’t have to be complicated and full of details. It is the performances and the script that are memorable. The film revolves around one vital scene that will shock and offend a lot of people and has up until now with its horrific depiction of a woman being raped, and left for dead. This is not a spoiler and neither is this due to the official movie synopsis. The escaped prisoners find a house and ask if they can take refuge out of the storm for the night until they can get a mechanic in the morning. But that house is the home of the woman that was raped and she finds her way home to tell her parents. Her parents start knocking them off one by one. It is a very good movie, and the rest are the same except a lot more real due to the quality.
Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish director made the original and Wes Craven made the remake, and produced the remake of the remake. He has stated that it is just a movie, but this is a warning folks, if you choose to watch it, be prepared to be genuinely shocked and uncomfortable. Do not watch this with your parents or even on a date. It is not nice. At least one scene anyway, but it does go on for a very long time. The film is good, only because retribution is much sweeter after that scene is viewed. But it is shocking.
I would recommend the newer one as the story unfolds better and in general, looks better. The original Wes Craven version, there is just something not quite right about it and often feels like a bad soft porn movie. But it was of the time I suppose. If you do watch that version, you will notice that there is a very strange touchy feely relationship between the girl and her dad at the start of the movie that never actually plays out that way but it makes you uncomfortable from the start without actually meaning to. The scene in question though is also shocking to watch in this version too. Apparently there were multiples of these scenes made but will now never be seen as they were destroyed. Thank you for sparing us Wes. What went through your head when you made this? At least the remake knew its boundaries, but still went very close over the edge. I recommend it, but please remember my warnings.
Ok that will do it for this week. There are so many more remakes out there and I will bring you some of the best and worst as promised. What’s your favourite remake so far? Have you watched any of these on my recommendations? Or have you already seen many of them? Let me know what you guys think below.
Thanks for reading!
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