How Would You Like Your Favorite Films Violated, Sir?

Why excessively, of course.

Den of Geeks lists the 55 movie remakes currently in the works, including:

The Karate Kid

They Live

The Incredible Shrinking Man (with Eddie Murphy attached, shudder…)

Meatballs

Metropolis

The Dirty Dozen

Conan

Clash of the Titans

Akira

Death Wish

Footloose

The Taking of Pelham 123 (which recently filmed in my neighborhood!)

The Last House on the Left

Oldboy

Poltergeist

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Short Circuit (!)

The Birds

Logan’s Run

The Thing

Westworld

Barbarella

My Fair Lady

and a whole bunch more…

I used to think that film remakes were a relatively recent thing – a facet of Hollywood’s depleted imagination, but apparently they’ve been around since pretty much the dawn of film. Still, it seems it used to be done much more tastefully. For example, Howard Hawks’ classic His Girl Friday is a remake of The Front Page from ’31, but it is done so originally and tastefully. It’s hard to think of recent remakes that actually do something new and unique.

Here are a few successful remakes IMO:

Rintaro’s anime version of Metropolis (2001): a beautifully unique departure from Fritz Lang’s original masterpiece. It creates a wonderful new world that’s based more on the shadow of the original than the actual story. Contains the best apocalyptic scene in film, set to the music of Ray Charles.

The Fly (1986): I mean, I’m of the opinion that Cronenberg can really do no wrong. He embeds this mediocre classic with his own themes of transmogrification, bodily intrusion, moral decay and somehow makes it very entertaining to watch. All hail DC!

Scarface (1983): DePalma imbibes the early Hawks classic with the rampant greed of the 80s, while retaining the grittiness of the 70s contemporary gangster classics. I’ve always thought this was more of an homage to Scorsese than Hawks, just as The Untouchables was his homage to Coppola. He severed any connection to the original’s Al Capone references, as well as its grace, favoring a lowbrow Cuban immigrant as its antihero over the legendary gangster.
(Not the trailer, but just as good)

Ocean’s Eleven (2001): I don’t want to like this one, if only to discourage Soderbergh from doing anymore remakes (Solaris? Really??), but it’s very entertaining. He placed himself comfortably within the mainstream by making a tight, clean, beautiful big-budget Hollywood film. And it works. The scene at the end with the fountains and Clair de Lune is legendary, providing a nice antithesis to the Hollywood trend of the thin fleeting gratification of a crime well done. It’s one of the best heist films period.

So, what do y’all think? Any additions to my very small list of successful remakes? I can probably think of a few more, once I’ve had a few more cups of coffee…

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