The Top 10 Movie Remakes We Didn't Need

December 18, 2008

Hollywood loves nothing more than making a movie that’s already been made. The problem is that most of the time these movies blow. We leave the theater shaking our heads, thinking “How could I have been so stupid? Again?

By Nathan Bloch

The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.


10. I Am Legend


Other possible titles for this film: I Am Lame. I Am Less than Charlton Heston. I Am Ill-Suited to Movies with an Edgier Sensibility. And my favorite: I Am the Box Office-Proof Will Smith.

Let’s face it, nothing Will Smith stars in loses money, and he has dared anyone to naysay his bankability with stinkers like Men In Black II, Hancock and I Am Legend. The man is untouchable.

Does that mean I Am Legend is any better of a remake of The Omega Man? Of course not. Until Smith can bare his teeth, wear a toupee and glower menacingly like Heston, he will find himself the recipient of disdain and disparagement. Just like certain others who’ve been cast in remakes of Heston films and failed to fill his shoes. Ahem, *Funky Bunch!*, ahem.

Oh, and the ending was ridiculous. The fact that they’re going to make a sequel to this film boils the blood. They better also begin the movie with Smith revealing his skin is made of metal. Above is the ending they needed to use -- but, inexplicably, didn't -- if they wanted to do a sequel.

9. Meet Joe Black


This movie really didn’t need to be remade. The original, Death Takes a Holiday, was made in the 1930s. What made studio heads think that a remake with Brad Pitt as Death and Claire Forlani as his schoolboy crush would do well is beyond me.

When it comes right down to it, though, the real problem with this movie, besides the fact that it was craptastically dull, was that it was so. Damn. Long. Like, almost THREE HOURS LONG. This is a romantic drama! That’s three hours long! Who let that happen?!

By the end of the film you no longer care who Death has in his sights. You’re just praying he kills somebody. ANYBODY. Please, Death, kill anyone in this movie, and do it now! In fact, you even start wishing he’ll kill you if it would make the movie end. How could this movie have happened to us? Someone must be held responsible!

8. Solaris


You might think that the combination of George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh is a foolproof pairing of talent. However, if you were to watch the 2002 remake of Solaris you would no longer feel that way.

George Clooney plays a lovelorn astronaut psychologist sent on a mission to love. He basically moons about a space station the whole time, having very interactive dreams about his dead wife. Can you say Debbie Downer?

Rather than invoke the awesomeness of space and all the cool things that could entail, we get a sob story about death, love and memory, and we get seriously bored in the process. I don’t know whether Clooney and Soderbergh were channeling their Grumpy Bears when they made this, but either way it was a major buzzkill of a movie.

7. Vanilla Sky


Here’s a movie we really didn’t need in general, to say nothing about remakes. But it was a remake, so we’re lumping it in with the rest of the losers. Based on a Spanish film titled Open Your Eyes, this movie was many things, but it was not an eye-opener. It was just another in a long line of films Tom Cruise made in the past decade that helped undermine his bulletproof popularity of the past 20 years.

Basically it’s about a guy, David Aemes (Cruise), who gets in a car wreck and has his face get all screwed up. Now, most people know that Cruise has spent his career resting largely on his charisma and the looks that have buttressed that charisma. But leave it to Cameron Crowe and Cruise himself to make an entire film about how Cruise would deal with losing his looks. Is there anyone other than Crowe, Cruise and Cruise’s psychologist that would be interested in seeing this movie?

A much more interesting movie would focus on what Cruise would do if he was forced to quit the Church of Scientology. Would he still be just as crazy? Or would he be revealed to be a really boring, normal guy obsessed with himself and elevator shoes?

6. Godzilla


Here’s a remake that was so bad it was almost good. The operative term being "almost."

First of all, by 1998, when this movie came out, the cat was out of the bag in terms of special effects involving big monsters smashing through the city. We’d already had Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park. What exactly Roland Emmerich thought he was adding to the mix I’m not sure.

Secondly, whose idea was it to cast Matthew Broderick? How was he the natural choice for the leading man? Here we have a huge, fire-breathing dragon from the depths of the ocean, or hell, or wherever, and in the other corner, to represent humanity, we get a short, pudgy, whiny little turd.

Here’s what was awesome about the movie: the very end, when Godzilla is dying, and Broderick is finally eye-to-eye with the monster. It’s at this point that he – and, presumably, we the audience – realizes that it’s just a poor little animal that was only trying to survive. By consuming an entire city. We go from monster movie to PSA on the preservation of rare species in about five seconds flat. Is this ridiculous? Yes. Is it hilarious? Again: yes.

5. Psycho


So rarely do we get such a poor match of star and director like we got in the remake of Psycho. Gus Van Sant directs Vince Vaughn as, well, a psycho. Vince Vaughn does his best to “act” not having realized yet that what he does best is be his funny self.

But Psycho is not funny. A shot-for-shot remake of the original, it is neither scary, suspenseful nor interesting. It is just annoying and stupid. Thank you, Gus, for remaking a movie that did not need to be remade. Fortunately, after this movie he went back to long, pretentious, overly wrought art films involving pretty young men.

4. War of the Worlds


On paper, the remake of War of the Worlds looked pretty cool: Steven Spielberg directing Tom Cruise in a huge movie about invading aliens. Sounds good to me. In reality we got more of the mediocrity both Spielberg and Cruise churned out on a regular basis this decade. Minority Report was hope that this movie would be good. Alas, it was a poor predictor.

I think everyone was pretty damn sick of Dakota Fanning before she hit the age of 8, and Tom Cruise was at the beginning (or middle, for those who knew him) of a downward spiral into mental instability. Tack on effects that should have been cooler and a completely implausible ending, and you’ve got yourself a very expensive disappointment.

You know you’ve mucked it up when the original, made in 1953, makes a zillion dollar film made in 2005 look like a cheap attempt at classic filmmaking.

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


Shame on Johnny Depp for thinking he could out-weird Gene Wilder. Shame on him for thinking Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory even needed to be remade. It didn’t. The original is one of the greatest movies (at least, aimed at kids) to have come out in the 1970s. Every kid born from 1971 on has been raised on it. And will continue to be raised on it, despite Tim Burton and Depp’s pathetic attempt to steal its wacky thunder.

If you want to remake Willy Wonka, next time just use Gene Wilder, and make it  a sequel. Depp could’ve been an Oompa-Loompa and saved himself some embarrassment.

2. King Kong


Let’s see… How many times has King Kong been made? The original came out in 1933, the first remake in 1976, and then Peter Jackson in all his vainglory remade it again in 2005. Wow. I think we’re good for King Kong remakes for the next, what, forty years? And then some overrated director can mess it up again for a billion dollars.

There were all of two scenes in this movie worth watching: the scene where the giant bugs come out of the wood work and start eating everybody, and the scene where King Kong fights a Tyrannosaurus rex. Those scenes were awesome (even if the ape/dinosaur scene went on way too long and actually left you kind of bored at the end).

Huge monkey going ice skating in Central Park? I rest my case.

1. Planet of the Apes


Mark Wahlberg was an interesting choice to substitute for Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes. Interesting, as in, mind-bogglingly stupid. At the end of the day, though, was Wahlberg the only person at fault for the catastrophe that was this remake? No, of course not. It takes a village to horribly remake a movie.

All might have been forgiven if they’d put together a better ending. Or even an ending that made a lick of sense. Alas, even this was asking too much from these filmmakers. The ending made less sense than the quadratic equation written in Sanskrit.

Planet of the Apes was useful only in one regard: it was a warning to all those filmmakers who would dare to remake past goodness in their own image, only to taint what was once pure and unspoiled. Did this stop Burton from repeating his folly? No. Will it stop others? We can only hope. (Brett Ratner, I’m looking at you.)