With yet another big budget Hollywood remake hitting movie screens this weekend, The Mummy starring none other than Tom Cruise, we thought it was an appropriate time to take a look back at the landscape of remakes. The Mummy is currently sitting at an embarrassing 22% on the Tomatometer, made even worst when you consider that this movie is supposed to be the first film in a new connected universe franchise for Universal. Not a good start! With that said, here’s a look at WatchMojo’s picks for the 10 BEST efforts at remaking a movie. Sometimes Hollywood actually CAN pull it off!
#10 – “3:10 to Yuma” (1957/2007)
Kicking off our list is the western remake that managed to outgun its 50-year-old predecessor! The similarities? The 2007 version also focuses on a desperate man who is trying to claim a reward by escorting a gang leader to a prison train. The differences? The new one is a much grittier picture with a deeper sense of tone and scale and ramped-up action. Also, Russell Crowe brilliantly depicts the cruel, yet oddly charming villain and Christian Bale makes for the kind of character you can root for.
#9 – “The Ring” (1998/2002)
Hollywood remakes have a tough time replicating the quality and success of original films, so remakes of foreign films barely stand a chance. But the 2002 Hollywood version of 1998’s Japanese horror flick “Ringu” manages to outclass the outright creepy original. The English adaptation introduces the curse of a girl and her deadly video tape to Americans, and ups the ante by crafting a more coherent plot than the original, complete with unbelievably disturbing visuals and terrifying scares. Still stands as pretty solid nightmare fuel.
#8 – “True Grit” (1969/2010)
Leave it to the Coen brothers to tackle one of the greatest movies ever made by making one of the greatest movies ever remade! Like its namesake, the 2010 re-take focuses on the emotional depth contained within the tale of a young woman’s quest for justice. Putting it over the edge is Jeff Bridges’ absorbing characterization of the one-eyed alcoholic gunslinger Rooster Cogburn. Yes, he even tops John Wayne!
#7 – “The Fly” (1958/1986)
Only David Cronenberg could create a gruesome reimagining of this seemingly untouchable 1958 sci-fi classic. Like the original, a scientist gets fused with an insect. However, as you can imagine, the newer version has better special effects, a darker tone and is infinitely more memorable. They really do pull out all the stops for this cautionary tale about the perils of science; after all it stars Jeff Goldblum.
#6 – “Dawn of the Dead” (1978/2004)
A remake of George Romero’s landmark zombie classic from 1978? Sounds like blasphemy to us! Thankfully, director Zach Snyder builds on greatness. He wisely takes cues from the original and adds complexity to the characters, while greatly benefitting from modern special effects. He also ramps up the terror by giving his undead hordes a dramatic speed boost…
#5 – “Scarface” (1932/1983)
The original black and white “Scarface” came out way back in 1932, so it was due for a reboot. Brian DePalma’s version became an indisputable classic by adding countless unapologetic updates. These include changing the title character from an alcoholic Italian to Al Pacino as an ultra-violent cocaine-sniffing loudmouthed Cuban gangster with a little friend!
#4 – “The Departed” (2002/2006)
Didn’t know this was a remake? It is, in fact, an Americanization of the 2002 Hong Kong classic “Infernal Affairs.” Both center on a cat-and-mouse game between an undercover cop and a mole. But the Hollywood version won director Martin Scorsese a long-overdue Oscar by outshining the original with its perfect casting choices, deeper focus on the theme of identity and its father-son relationships.
#3 – “Ocean’s 11” (1960/2001)
The makers of this casino heist flick were aiming pretty high when they remade a seemingly untouchable 1961 Rat Pack classic. George Clooney takes over from Frank Sinatra to recruit a memorable cast of ex-cons to help him knock-off an underground casino vault. Clooney and his clan manage to live up to and even surpass the original cast by bringing the laughs and respecting the source material by not simply rehashing its story verbatim.
#2 – “The Magnificent Seven” (1954/1960)
This iconic western is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 samurai epic. Trading East for West, and swords for guns, this film is about seven men hired to defend a Mexican town from bandits. One of the greatest Americanizations ever, it benefits from a faster pace, mesmerizing gunfights and an all-star cast that includes the likes of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and Eli Wallach as the bad guy.
#1 – “The Thing” (1951/1982)
Taking the top spot on our list is John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece! It’s the go-to film for paranoia, suspense and cinema’s most gut-wrenching practical special effects! It easily trumps the 1951 original “The Thing From Another World” as everything was pitch perfect, right down to Kurt Russell’s beard! This remake even manages to be truer to the premise and characters of the original novella, though we’re sure the author never imagined the insane visuals in this movie. A true classic.
Do you agree with our list? Which movie remake is your favorite? For more great Top 10s, be sure to subscribe to