Anytime the term "remake" is floated around in Hollywood, there's often a knee-jerk reaction from the masses to hate it. Given the fact that many remakes fail to capture the magic of their original, I can certainly understand why, but I also think remakes get a bad rep. Mostly because when they're bad, they can be among some of the worst movies to hit theaters (we'll talk more in a bit, Planet of the Apes).
It sounds harsh to say, but the reality is that a better version of this movie exists. Had the remakes in this list never been made to begin with, the world would've had the best it had to offer already available to watch. Here are some of the worst offenders of the remake genre, and a bit of history on how they failed to live up to the audience expectations.
Planet Of The Apes (2001)
Believe it or not, the Planet of the Apes remake started back in the 1980s, and at various times involved Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, Chris Columbus and Peter Jackson. After passing on decades of script ideas, Fox settled on Tim Burton's re-imagining of the original movie, and cast Mark Wahlberg as its leading man. The movie was a commercial hit, but never received anywhere close to the acclaim of the classic original and didn't earn a sequel, even with its inconclusive and somewhat confusing ending.
Horror remakes that try to re-capture the thrills of the original for a new generation always seem to face an uphill battle. This is especially true for 2013's Carrie, which also needed to harness the quality that netted its predecessor Academy Award nominations. Unfortunately, Chloë Grace Moretz's Carrie never felt as much of an outcast as Sissy Spacek's, and the small modern updates to the story did nothing to heighten the tale originally told. The movie did alright commercially, but for those looking to see the definitive version of the movie, the 1976 version remains the superior choice.
With a runtime of just 64 minutes, the original Dumbo is one of the shortest Disney features in existence. It's all the amount of time it needed to be really, considering the story is about an elephant who can't speak and learns to fly with the help of a mouse. The remake made the story way more complex, and nearly doubled the runtime. As I said before, Disney didn't need more than an hour to tell this tale, and it showed while watching the remake that ultimately underperformed in Disney's eyes.
A decade after Park Chan-wook blew the film world's mind with his twisted film adaptation of the manga Old Boy, Spike Lee attempted to do the same. The end result was an uninspired remake one could essentially argue was made for people who wouldn't watch the original because of subtitles. It was also one of the worst box office showings of Lee's career. It can be argued it's not all the director's fault, however, as producers heavily re-edited his final product and cut 35 minutes from the movie. There's no word on whether an original cut exists, though given the box office numbers, I can't imagine there are many calling for its release.
The Wicker Man (2006)
While Carrie's remake fell short of its goal to recapture the spirit of the original, at least it didn't fall quite as short as The Wicker Man. The Nicolas Cage-starring remake pales in comparison to the 1973 British original, which was actually a horror movie. The remake was made with the same intention, but due to some poor acting and the standard unhinged performance from Cage, it comes off as an unintentional comedy that is hard not to laugh at while watching. The movie flopped, but that didn't stop Nic Cage from suggesting an even more bizarre sequel.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
The remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street, on paper, seemed to be the kind of project horror fans would love. It was essentially meant to be Freddy without the cheese, as well as use the power of CGI to enhance the Dreamscape far beyond what John Carpenter was able to do in his original. The movie was a commercial success, but audiences ultimately found that the remake just didn't scratch the itch that the original franchise did. Perhaps the cheese was necessary, or Robert Englund's performance, or John Carpenter's consultation?
Total Recall (2012)
I believe that had 2012's Total Recall named itself anything else, it wouldn't have been nearly as poorly received. The movie had solid action, but the fact that it lacked all the humor and many other characteristics of the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic made many critics and audiences drag it through the dirt. That's not to say this remake doesn't have its flaws, but I think watching and accepting it as having nearly nothing to do with the original will make anyone see it in a different light. With the name Total Recall though, there's no way this movie should've been made.
Conan The Barbarian (2011)
It's not often that movies that were panned upon release get remakes, though one can certainly understand the thought process given Conan The Barbarian's success when released on video. It's also fair to say the original movie has survived largely based on Arnold Schwarzenegger's rise to fame, and removing him from the occasion would predictably lessen the appeal. The 2011 remake tried anyway, and despite trying to stay closer to the source material, it flopped. The good news is Jason Momoa bounced back and is currently enjoying life as Aquaman, with few remembering he was the star of this ill-begotten feature.
The Hitcher (2007)
Here's a movie that one has to wonder what the justification was for no matter how you cut it. 1986's version of The Hitcher was not well received, but it became a cult classic among certain groups. So then it's weird that a remake would change the movie and create something that would do nothing to make it better for mainstream audiences, not to mention potentially anger those who did enjoy the original. This one didn't last long in theaters and was quickly forgotten.
Do you have another suggestion for a remake that should've never seen the light of day? List it in the comments below, and be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest news happening in television and movies.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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