Now that the new version of Total Recall has just been released to movie theaters, I’ve noted a batch of “Best/Worst Movie remakes” articles appearing on the web.
This one is from The Vancouver Sun:
I can’t disagree with much of what they list. If I were to pick my personal favorite remake, I’d probably go with The Maltese Falcon. What is most amazing about that classic film Humphrey Bogart film is the fact that it was actually the third version of that film! The first version, also titled The Maltese Falcon was released ten years earlier in 1931 and featured Ricardo Cortez in the role of Sam Spade. Bette Davis would appear a few years later in Satan Met a Lady (1936), the second version of the story that instead of a Maltese Falcon featured the hunt for a valuable “French Horn.” Both films can’t hold a candle to the quality of the Humphrey Bogart version.
As far as worst remake…there are just so many examples of retreads that were either inadvisable or silly. Not listed in the above article, for example, is the remake of the classic 1973 horror cult movie The Wicker Man. The original film was an incredible and very unique work, which featured some very sharp jabs at something I believe no big time studio would dare approach in this day and age: Religion. When I heard a remake was in the works, I simply couldn’t believe that the makers of this remake would dare to approach the subject matter in the bold way the original did.
I was right. The 2006 version of The Wicker Man stayed very clear from the more potent religious themes present in the original film and the result was proved what I expected, a bland, ultimately silly and meaningless film that couldn’t hold a candle to the original.
Another film that I personally found hard to take was the 2006 film Superman Returns. I am a HUGE fan of the 1978 Richard Donner directed Superman film. To this day, I still consider it the very best superhero film ever made. Director Bryan Singer obviously loves it too, but when he directed Superman Returns, I believe that love wound up hurting the overall product. When Superman Returns was originally released in 2006, I was led to believe it was a sequel to the first two Superman films. However, while there were some new ideas presented here and there (Lois having Superman’s baby), the movie was in reality a not so stealthy remake of Richard Donner’s Superman.
And it just didn’t have the majesty, the humor, or the charisma to pull it off. Now, there are many who disagree with that assessment. My local paper’s film critic was blown away by the film upon its release and gave is three and a half stars and proclaimed it one of the best films released up to that point in 2006. The film appeared to be a modest success, so at the very least film audiences were divided.
Now, the quirkiest movie remake of them all: Airplane!
Few may realize this, but Airplane! is a hilarious remake of the very serious 1957 film Zero Hour!, complete with exclamation point on the end. The video below presents wonderful examples of the similarities between both movies. Enjoy!