Many people have grown tired of Hollywood remakes. The folks against them act as if the idea of sequels and remakes means Hollywood is running out of ideas, that this is a new epidemic. The funny part to this is that Hollywood has been remaking movies since the era of silent film and they have been doing it rather consistently ever since. A remake is a way for a new generation to get exposed to an old story and it gives older cinephiles an opportunity to compare and contrast the original with its remake.
If it wasn’t for remakes we would have missed out on some really excellent films. The Tim Burton remake of Planet of the Apes was certainly a stinker, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a sleeper hit that nobody saw coming. Few actually know that the Captain America films are essentially remakes of an attempt in the 1990s to bring the Captain to the big screen.
Whether it’s because the original wasn’t that great or because technology allows us to do an old story in a new way, there are many viable reasons to remake a film. Here are ten films that really deserve (or need) a remake.
10. Spawn (1997)
The gist: Spawn is the story of Al Simmons, a member of the CIA who is murdered by his own people because he knew too much. Since Al knowingly killed innocents in the CIA, he was sent to Hell where he made a deal: his soul in exchange to see his wife again. Al returns to Earth five years later with a strange set of powers. When the powers run out, he must serve in Hell’s Army.
Why it needs remade: Spawn was a special-effects power house for its time but effects have still come a long way since then. Characters like Malebolgia and The Violator’s true form would look a lot better with modern tech.
The film would also benefit from an R rating due to its demonic and violent story lines. The PG-13 rated original just didn’t do the character any real justice.
9. Flash Gordon (1980)
The gist: Flash Gordon is a football star on present-day planet Earth that heads to outer space to take on Ming The Merciless. Ming plans to destroy the earth by a series of natural disasters which he causes by pushing the moon closer to the Earth. The 1980 film used camp intentionally to hearken back to the original comic strips and serials of the 1930s. The rock group Queen provided the soundtrack.
Why it needs to be remade: There just aren’t enough successful science fiction movies that take place in outer space these days. If they maintain the humor and camp then combine that with modern special effects and the right leading man, a studio could easily have a money-maker on their hands. Rumor has it that Fox is already working on it.
8. Dune (1984)
The gist: A story of hard science-fiction, political intrigue, and action. A spice essential to the universe can only be found on the desert planet of Arrakis. Paul Atreides learns the secret of the planet and his place in the universe as one who will lead the people of Arrakis to victory against the malevolent Baron Harkonnen.
Why it needs to be remade: Quite frankly, the first one was so bad that director David Lynch removed his name from the credits and replaced it with Alan Smithee, a popular pseudonym for film crew members that wish to not have their name attached to the final product. Other cuts of the film were made but they didn’t make things any better. Frank Herbert’s novel deserves cinematic justice.
7. Batman and Robin (1997)
The gist: Poison Ivy and her sidekick, Bane, team-up with Mr. Freeze to put the city of Gotham under ice. What this actually accomplishes no one can say for sure, but only the Dynamic Duo can put a stop to it. Meanwhile, Alfred is dying and his niece comes to visit. She accidentally stumbles upon the Bat Cave so they let her become Bat Girl.
Why it needs to be remade: Schumacher’s second attempt at the Batman series was so bad it effectively put an end to the series until Christopher Nolan made his own Batman Trilogy in 2005. Now that DC is revamping the character once again and putting him in a world of super-powered heroes and villains, he could probably use a sidekick. The next stand-alone Batman film needs to include Robin. If anything it will help distinguish the new films from Nolan’s.
6. Duel (1971)
The gist: David Mann is an electronics salesman driving on a lonely highway in the California dessert. When Mann makes an attempt to pass a tanker truck the driver (who remains unseen through the entire film) continuously tries to run Mann off the road, run him over when he stops at diners and gas stations, and just plays mind games with him. The entire movie is essentially a car chase and it works.
Why it needs to be remade: This film needs to be remade because younger generations need to see it. Most people under 20 aren’t going to make a serious attempt to see a 43-year-old TV-movie that put Steven Spielberg on the map. With the small cast, dessert setting, and small number of vehicles, a remake could be done on the cheap and yield a nice return.
5. Fantastic Voyage (1966)
The gist: A group of scientists during the Cold War are working on a process to shrink people and objects to microscopic size. When an attempt is made to assassinate a foreign diplomat, a crew is sent into his blood stream to destroy a blood clot. The crew is attacked by the diplomats body (and each other) almost right away. It’s a race against time to leave the body before the crew and their vessel return to normal size.
Why it needs to be remade: With modern special effects, 3D, D-Box, and the right marketing, it would probably make hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. It would be foolish to not give this classic an update.
4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
The gist: Famous faces from European literature are all real and co-exist in the same universe. Characters like Dr. Jekyll, Captain Nemo, and Mina Harker, use their unique abilities and resources to protect the British Empire.
Why it needs to be remade: The film was so far off the mark from the comic mini-series it’s based on it probably could have gotten away with marketing itself as an original film. The inclusion of Tom Sawyer as an American Secret Service agent didn’t fit well with the rest of the team. Fans of the comics would agree that the film would have benefited greatly from an R rating.
3. Eragon (2006)
The gist: A young farm boy discovers he is one of the last of the Dragon Riders after finding a unique stone that turns out to be a dragon’s egg. Once the dragon hatches, Eragon is tracked down by the evil King Galbatorix.
Why it needs to be remade: Basing a series of films off of a series of books is generally a huge money maker for a studio. This first installment was bad. It was walk-out-of-the-theater-even-though-you-just-dropped-twelve-bucks-on-a-ticket bad. A remake is all it might take to get this series back off the ground.
2. Green Lantern (2011)
The gist: Pilot Hal Jordan is chosen to wield a powerful ring and join a Corp. of other ring wielders throughout space to help protect their planetary homes and the entire universe.
Why it needs to be remade: This film was a box office flop and came out before DC decided to take a page out of Marvel’s book and put their heroes in a cohesive universe. A sequel could just as well erase the blemish from their record but it also needs some aesthetic changes to mesh with Zack Snyder’s The Man of Steel. A remake might be the best way to go.
1. The Last Airbender (2010)
The gist: In a world where select humans have the abilities to manipulate one of the core elements, only the Avatar can wield all four and bring balance to the world. After disappearing for nearly one hundred years, Aang, an Avatar born into the cycle as an Air Bender, discovers the Fire Nation has killed all the Air Benders in an attempt to kill the Avatar and stretch their dominion over all the elemental tribes and kingdoms.
Why it needs to be remade: The original was terribly cast. In a world that lacks characters of color in heroic positions, it was a bad move to change the main characters into white kids. They mispronounced the names of the characters, the script was a fraction of the first season it was based on, and it effectively nixed the chance of the other two seasons seeing the big screen. It’s a wonderful story that deserves the opportunity to be told in its entirety in theaters.