If you haven't been aware, Robocop came out this month and disappointed a whole bunch of people. There the kids who wanted something grittier than a watered down version of Iron Man. There's the folks who can't stand a special effects extravaganza just to pimp a new franchise. And there's the 80's Robocop purists that believed that nobody should every dare to make a remake of such a perfect gem of a movie.
And, all of them yelling, "Is Hollywood all out of original ideas? Stop with the remakes!"
But are all remakes bad? My first answer is "Yes! God, please, stop with the crappy-crap!" But when you think about it, some remakes are actually enjoyable. And I'm not talking about making a foreign film into an American film. We Americans hate subtitles and actors whose names we can't pronounce. I'm talking about remaking a good Hollywood movie into another good Hollywood movie.
Remakes happen in every genre, and here's some that work:
Gone in 60 Seconds: I would have gone the Italian Job, but since the original was English, that's still a foreign flick. Gone isn't the best action flick, but any action film that makes you forget about Nicolas Cage's acting has to be a great remake. And it made a crap load of money.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Science Fiction has to be the easiest to remake because a.) technology can up the special effect ante and b.) you can really screw with the source material. I saw this movie as a kid, and Donald Sutherland still freaks the hell out of me.
Ocean's 11: George Clooney out Rat Packed Sinatra and company. It's one movie that I watch to the end when I see it on TV. Unfortunately, it spawned two inferior sequels.
You've Got Mail: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan bicker as a mega-book conglomerate and an independent book store. I love the way the mega-book store wins without an apology, the unabashed commercial for AOL, and the way people still went to book stores. If it was made today, you would have someone working for Amazon.com bickering with someone from Radio Shack. Oh, and our wedding song came from that movie.
True Grit: Love both movies for different reasons. The original because it's a John Wayne flick, and all John Wayne flicks are awesome. The remake because Jeff Bridges is excellent. I don't like any of the main characters, but I'm so interested in what they're doing. If you do something right for the wrong reasons, does it make it all right?
An Affair to Remember: I actually didn't like Affair, or the original Love Story, or the second remake Love Story. But Affair to Remember inspired Sleepless in Seattle, which has Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Is there anything those two can't do (beside Joe Vs. the Volcano).
Little Shop of Horrors: A weird musical to remake which works wonders and put Rick Moranis on the map. Annie comes out soon with Jamie Foxx as Daddy Warbucks (renamed Benjamin Stacks). Hoping more of a Little Shop and less of a Hairspray remake.
There's more, but do your own research. A remake is no different than any other movie. It still needs a great script, good actors and a competent director to succeed. And it doesn't hurt to throw Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in there, too. They're old, but I still want to believe!
Jack Grubb writes an incredible blog, Losing the Internets, which is read by at least 37 people and over 2,100 Russian SPAM bots. In his spare time he helps small companies find their marketing voice. Jack currently lives deliberately in Appalachia, Kentucky with his wife, two daughters, Jack Russell and a Lego collection beyond compare.