Those who can direct, make; those can’t, remake. And those who can’t remake, remake remakes.
Look, cinema has been around for over a century by this point, so it’s somewhat inevitable we’re going to see some ideas getting stuck on repeat, but remaking remakes is something further. That’s a director going “Oh, this is a good idea” and pilfering an earlier film’s concept, then another filmmaker coming along and doing the exact same thing a few decades later.
It’s not a new trend either – some of the most untouchable classics in the history of film are actually direct lifts from earlier, less well-remembered films.
It may seem completely reductive, reducing once great ideas to marketable buzz words, although while the knee-jerk reaction is that it’s the nadir of the medium, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Jungle Book (and Cinderella) have shown that Disney’s current trend of rethinking their animated classics in live-action isn’t a fools errand, and what are they if not remakes of reinterpretations of stories that have existed since before the dawn of cinema?
Not every case is quite as successful though, as seen with these eight remake remakes, ranging from long-standing classics to some of this year’s most perplexing blockbusters.
For reference, this doesn’t include movies that have been remade multiple times (King Kong has several distinct versions, but John Guillermin and Peter Jackson’s takes were both rooted in the 1933 original) or cases where the same story has been adapted independently (The Ten Commandments was a remake of Cecil B. DeMille’s own silent film, but Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods And Kings was, despite telling the same story, returning to the Biblical source).[/nextpage][nextpage]
The Original: Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ (1925)
The Remake: Ben-Hur (1959)
The Remake Remake: Ben-Hur (2016)
Sometimes a remake can be so overwhelmingly successful that the original will get lost in the cultural soup. And I’m not meaning Reservoir Dogs or The Departed, where revealing they’re based on foreign movies is a fact used only by movie fans with shocking trivia chops – I’m talking about the films so immortalised they make for a shocking inclusion on a list like this.
Take Ben-Hur, which – while being based on a famed 1900s book – was pretty much a remake of a 1925 silent film, A Tale Of The Christ. That’s not to say the original original is a nothing film – it’s a pretty important landmark actually, essential in making MGM a major cinematic player – just that the William Wyler Oscar-winner was even more epic and societally seismic.
The remake of the remake last year only succeeded in creating a desire to rewatch the 1959 version.[/nextpage][nextpage]
7. The Magnificent Seven
The Original: Seven Samurai (1954)
The Remake: The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Remake Remake: The Magnificent Seven (2016)
If remakes of Christian epics aren’t your flavour, 2016 also brought back The Magnificent Seven, a movie whose main selling point was that there’s seven characters in the titular band. You can hardly blame the marketing for doing this – it may have a pretty solid cast (Denzel! Pratt!), but what the film was really trading on was the recognisable name – yet it still feels rather reductive for the number of the team to define the Western adventure.
Of course, 1960’s The Magnificent Seven wasn’t an original by itself, but a western transplant of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (we’ll see a lot of him on this list). These are two incredibly similar films, with the same basic plot only distinguished by setting. And thats the point the original Magnificent almost delights in how its the same-but-different which makes the prospect of more a little confusing.
What could another Western possibly add when everything else is so similar (bar an oddly inserted machine gun)?[/nextpage][nextpage]
6. Texas Chainsaw 3D
The Original: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The Remake: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
The Remake Remake: Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
If I’d written this list in a couple of years time then it could have been made up almost entirely by slasher franchises; as we speak studios are working hard to find a way to reboot Friday The 13th, Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street, all of which already had one remake in the naughties. As it stands though, only one of that iconic batch has made it to the third reboot, and it’s a big ‘un.
The original Texas Chain Saw Massacre eventually spawned an unhealthy run of sequels that nobody really wanted to make, but when that ran out of gas Michael Bay got his mitts on it and churned out a gloomy remake and prequel, kick-starting his desecration of the entire genre with cheapo production outfit Platinum Dunes in the process.
After that, the rights moved around and we got Texas Chainsaw 3D, which tried to pose as a legitimate sequel to the original, but wound up ticking all the standard remake boxes.
It doesn’t stop there though – later this year we’re getting Leatherface, a prequel that explores the killer’s teenage years. MAKE IT STOP![/nextpage][nextpage]
5. Love Affair
The Original: Love Affair (1939)
The Remake: An Affair To Remember (1957)
The Remake Remake: Love Affair (1994)
Remaking isn’t just the action of shills desperate to bypass the story development stage and get straight to screaming action; back in the early years of cinema where technology moved forward in leaps and bounds and revisiting to old curios was less of a thing, some filmmakers would go back and re-do their own work. The most famous case is Hitchcock with The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1934 and 1956, but we’re yet to get a third remake that (wait a bit and Shia LaBeouf’ll get round to it though), so let’s look at another case.
In 1957, Leo McCarey remade his own Love Affair as An Affair To Remember, re-telling the story of a playboy wrestling with whether he should give up on that life and settle down. It holds up fairly well given the time, with Cary Grant’s dependable charm neatly skirting over how both main characters are in fact cheating on their respective better halves, but that seemed to be the end of it.
However, it turned out it was such a strong tale that it needed to be redone once more. In 1994 Warren Beatty got ahold of the rights and made a version with Annette Bening that took the first film’s name, but the expanded scope of the original remake. It wasn’t worth it.
(Excerpt) Read More at: WhatCulture.com[/nextpage]