Please, Not Again: 10 Overdone Movie Remakes We Didn’t Need
These films serve as cautionary tales for why remakes should be handled with care, respect, and, more importantly, a good reason for their existence.
1. Psycho (1998)
Some things are sacred, and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is one of them. You would think that would be common sense, but Gus Van Sant's 1998 shot-for-shot remake seems to have missed the memo. The original 1960 film is a masterpiece of suspense and horror, known for its stunning performances, particularly that of Anthony Perkins as the infamous Norman Bates.
The remake, starring Vince Vaughn, attempted to duplicate the original's success, but it paled in comparison. The nuances, the terror, the compelling characterization that made the original so impactful were lost, leaving the remake feeling like a hollow imitation.
2. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
This is another example of a remake failing to capture the spirit of the original. The 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still was a thought-provoking exploration of Cold War paranoia and fear of the atomic bomb. It was subtle, intelligent, and impactful. The 2008 version with Keanu Reeves, however, felt like a missed opportunity. The plot centers around an alien visitor and his giant robot counterpart who arrive to judge humanity's worth.
While the remake attempted to address contemporary issues like environmental destruction, it was delivered with such heavy-handedness that it lacked the subtlety and nuanced messaging of the original. The result was a remake that felt more like a special-effects showcase rather than an engaging sci-fi drama.
3. Planet of the Apes (2001)
Before we got the excellent reboot trilogy starting in 2011, we had Tim Burton's bizarre 2001 remake of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes. Despite having a stellar cast, including Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter, the film failed to live up to the original. The storyline follows an astronaut who crash-lands on a planet dominated by talking apes and finds himself captured and enslaved.
The movie aimed for grandeur but landed more in the realm of absurdity, with plot holes large enough for an ape to ride a horse through. Unlike the original film, which had a powerful social commentary and a shocking ending, this remake was a swing and a miss that left audiences scratching their heads rather than pondering humanity's fate.
4. Point Break (2015)
The 1991 version of Point Break is an action classic, with Keanu Reeves as Johnny Utah, an FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of surfers suspected of bank robbery. The remake took the title, the character names, and the basic premise and decided to throw in extreme sports because... why not?
What it lacked, however, was the original's heart and soul. The remake failed to develop its characters or deliver any real sense of tension, resulting in a film that was all style and no substance. The plot felt like an afterthought to the action set pieces, leading to a remake that was far from gnarly.
5. RoboCop (2014)
The 1987 RoboCop was a brutally satirical commentary on corporate greed and corruption, masked as a sci-fi action flick about a cop who is killed in the line of duty and resurrected as a law-enforcing cyborg. The 2014 remake replaced much of the biting satire with a more straight-faced narrative, removing much of what made the original so distinctive.
Despite some decent performances and visual effects, the remake couldn't replicate the original's unique blend of graphic violence, dark humor, and social commentary. The new plot, which focused more on RoboCop's internal struggle and family dynamics, lacked the biting edge of the original in a major way.
6. Total Recall (2012)
The 1990 version of Total Recall, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is considered a sci-fi classic. The story revolves around a construction worker who discovers his memories of being a secret agent are real and not, as he had thought, artificially implanted. The remake, despite a competent performance from Colin Farrell, fell short of its predecessor.
The 2012 version stripped away much of the twisted fun and absurdity of the original, opting for a more generic action plot and a visually darker, dystopian atmosphere. In the process, it lost the campy, over-the-top elements that made the 1990 film memorable.
7. Arthur (2011)
The original 1981 film Arthur, starring Dudley Moore as the eponymous character, was a hilarious and heartwarming story of a lovable drunk millionaire who must choose between his fortune and love. In contrast, the 2011 remake, starring Russell Brand, felt lackluster and forced.
While Brand brought his own quirky charm to the role, the remake failed to capture the original's winning blend of humor and sentimentality. The plot followed the same path, but the execution lacked the sparkle of the original. It was an attempt to update a classic for the modern age, but in the end, it only served to remind us how good the original was.
8. The Wicker Man (2006)
The 1973 version of The Wicker Man is regarded as one of the greatest British films of all time, a disturbing tale of a policeman who visits a remote island community to investigate a missing child report, only to uncover a pagan cult. The 2006 remake, starring Nicolas Cage, became more famous for its unintentional comedy than any form of suspense or horror.
Cage's over-the-top performance and the film's inexplicably bizarre plot twists, such as a memorable scene involving bees, turned the remake into an unintentional comedy rather than a disturbing mystery-thriller.
9. Footloose (2011)
The 1984 film Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon, was a dance-fueled phenomenon. Bacon's character, Ren McCormack, moved from the big city to a small town where dancing is banned. The 2011 remake, although a faithful adaptation, didn't add anything new or meaningful to the story.
Instead, it served up a carbon copy of the original, with none of the infectious energy or foot-tapping dance sequences that made the first movie a classic. Without any fresh spin on the original plot, it felt more like a rehash than a reinterpretation, and was understandably forgotten quite soon after it premiered.
10. The Haunting (1999)
The original 1963 film, The Haunting, is a masterclass in suspense and psychological horror, using subtle scares and a creeping sense of dread to tell the story of a group of people participating in a study at a haunted mansion. The 1999 remake swapped the original's atmosphere and suspense for flashy special effects and an over-reliance on CGI.
The haunting became less psychological and more visual, focusing on extravagant set pieces and flashy ghostly apparitions. While the plot remained mostly the same, the excessive spectacle overwhelmed the story, leaving the remake devoid of the chilling eeriness that made the original a horror classic.