John Carpenter's The Thing

Top 5: Remakes of All-Time

One of the most common complaints of film fans is that everything is a remake or a franchise these days, and that film has lost all originality.  It’s true, to a certain extent, that the market for original films has never been thinner (Get Out and Wind River being two notable 2017 exceptions), but as CineFix points out in their list, remaking films is nothing new.  The Wizard of Oz and Ben-Hur (the second one) are both remakes.  Hollywood has always cannibalized its own material and always will.  Even films like The Lion King are remakes (loosely in that case of Hamlet).  Studios have never been more obvious about it than they are today, but take a look at CineFix’s different categories of remake, and learn a little about how Hollywood has been munching on its own tail since its inception.

Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys

6 thoughts on “Top 5: Remakes of All-Time”

  1. Well, these guys are always entertaining, but they lost me with Funny Games. That movie is basically an arch critique of itself. You don’t get to say something, then take a stand against it in the same breath. I normally find something good to say about any given movie, but Micheal Haneke is a piece of work.

    Also, it’s a little weird to include a movie as bad as Hertzog’s Nosferatu on a list like this. Sure, it’s fascinatingly weird, and yes it puts a highly unexpected spin on the original, but come ON it does not belong on a list of the best examples of anything. Just like with Funny Games, I do not care what the criteria are, I will resist because some movies are just plain wrong.

    But they redeem themselves with 12 Monkeys, The Thing, and Heat, outstanding remakes all (although I have never seen the TV movie Heat was based on). I would place Cronenberg’s Fly way above the Thing, it’s a much more radical, unexpected and eccentric take on an old horror film, but the Thing is great too.

    Gilliam had kind of an easy task adapting 12 Monkeys, because the French original is a short, and just consisted of a series of still photos. The path to a remake was wide open. God I love 12 Monkeys.

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  2. Interesting post. With “Funny Games” remake of his own film, Haneke really went too far. I prefer the original to the remake. Also, you refer to such “original films” as “Get Out”, but even the originality of “Get Out” could be questioned. I mean could not this film be defined as “The Stepford Wives” meets “Guess, Who’s Coming to Dinner?”. Arguably, all the original bits in “Get Out” are the weakest ones, and the film truly holds only on the previous ideas borrowed.

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    1. Well nothing is really truly original, writers steal from everywhere in every medium. I think Get Out managed to blend race dialogue, horror, humor, and suspense more successfully than any film, and that combination was fresh and original.

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  3. What’s original about Get Out is that it takes the most delicate and toxic subject in modern public discourse, and successfully handles it in a playful, non-preachy way as the film’s message is delivered. I am beyond worrying about questions of originality. The Lion King borrows from Hamlet, but also the old Japanese cartoon Kimba the White Lion. Simba means Lion in Swahili, and the evidence of plagiarism is not as airtight and abundant as it seems at first glance (coincidences happen) but no way Disney did not have that show in mind. What’s original about Lion King is that it was a Disney animated release, yet had weight, and you could compare it to the greatest tragedy ever written. Everything comes from other things, and while it’s not moral to take something without acknowledging or paying for it, that is the only part of borrowing that is wrong. Otherwise, if your take is superior, or finds an interesting angle, my philosophy is, go nuts.

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