Over the years, Hollywood has made no attempts to hide its penchant for recreating old films, and we’ve seen literally hundreds of remakes hit the big screens, some better than others. After all, what better way is there for film-makers to cash in on some quick and easy money than to lure fans of old classics back to the cinema in the hopes that a rehash of their favourite scenes from long ago might provide the same level of movie magic as they once did. Sadly, many of the classic movie remakes I have seen really had no business being made at all. It seems as though Hollywood feel that the ultimate update for that stylish little black dress of film is to jazz it up with a thousand sequins and various accessories it simply doesn’t need, leaving a garish mess behind. With that in mind, this is my personal evaluation of the top five worst movie remakes I have ever seen.
5) The Karate Kid (2010)
The 2010 remake of the beloved 80s classic Karate kid has sparked various different responses from viewers, with some people enjoying the modernized version and others demanding that their children only see the pure gold of the initial instalment. Either way, this remake deviated quite wildly from the original in some areas. For example, there doesn’t seem to be any actual karate in the film itself, as Jaden Smith’s character actually learns kung-fun from Jackie Chan’s updated Mr Miyagi figure – who they don’t even call Miyagi anymore. The story and the roles that are played within it seem to have changed for the worse, so that I couldn’t really find myself connecting with anything or anyone during the course of the movie. To me, this rehash takes more away from the original than it actually adds to it, and the change in location to China didn’t really do anything for me either, as we seemed to spend a great deal of time taking in the beauty of the surroundings instead of following the actual plot itself. At least this time, the karate kid was actually a child, unlike 22-year-old Ralph Macchio in the original.
4) Planet of the Apes (2001)
In theory, the idea of a movie including Paul Gimatti, Mark Wahlberg, and Helena Bonham Carter with Tim Burton as the director would suggest a good chance for success, but to me, the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes just didn’t catch fire the way it should have. Although the argument could be made that the makeup and costumes of the remake where a huge step up from the original, the ending was, to most people, ridiculous, and the movie itself lacked a great deal of the initial pizazz that the first movie introduced to our screens. In the end, although Tim Burton’s remake was reasonably sleek with all the necessary added bells and whistles, it lacked any of the emotional depth of the original. Where the 1968 sci-fi film introduced a bold cultural statement capable of shocking viewers, this time watchers were left feeling flat, deflated and generally confused.
3) Stepford Wives (2004)
In 1975, Ira Levin’s novel The Stepford Wives was transformed into a chilling movie that further inspired two television sequels. The story itself is quite an enticing premise, and makes for a pretty good opening to an exploration of wicked feminist satire, but where the 1975 movie tilted towards horror, the 2004 adaptation doesn’t seem to be entirely sure what it’s doing. When Frank Oz recreated the title for an updated attempt at the big screen, he changed the ending and muddled the entire point of the movie by attempting to placate the audience with the concept that everything’s going to be okay. It’s a little bit as though the movie couldn’t quite decide whether it wanted to be a sci-fi chiller, a broad farce a satire about social circumstances or a comedy. I found that I was quickly getting bored throughout the movie, and my advice to the director, if they would care to hear it, is that if you want to go ahead and rehash an old movie, try to figure out what exactly you want to achieve before you start.
2) Pink Panther (2006)
This negative review comes with something of a heavy heart, as I have had a great deal of love for Steve Martin in the past – enjoying his amazing roles in such gems as ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ and ‘The Jerk’, but this remake of the Pink Panther really was a wreck. I could barely sit through the entire thing for the sake of writing an authentic review. The humour isn’t funny, the acting is below average, and the entire thing had me itching to grab the remote and turn the bloody thing off. With all the love in the world to Steve Martin, he simply couldn’t recreate the genius of a role played by Peter Sellers, and in my opinion, he should never have tried to. The remake was unnecessary, like so many others, and left me feeling hugely disappointed and incredibly un-entertained.
1) Psycho (1998)
If you’ve ever had a conversation about badly done remakes in the past, you probably knew we were counting down to this from the very beginning. With all the terrible re-imaginings that cinema has had to offer in the past sixteen years, we still haven’t managed to find anything quite as terrible as the 1998 version of Psycho. Alfred Hitchcock’s original was, to many people, one of the most amazing and ground-breaking films of all time, and it still remains a classic staple of any horror-fan’s diet. The original set a brand new set of rules for what was acceptable to be shown on the big screen, and effectively changed the genre of horror forever. The trouble is, Gus Van Sant seemed to think that the way to deal with a remake of this absolute classic of film was to create a shot-for-shot remake of basically everything with a series of less talented, less engaging actors. Although the 1998 remake might have been shot in colour, which gave it an entirely new spectrum to deal with, it lacked any of the vibrancy that was evident in the instant classic of Hitchcock’s version. Dull, boring acting from less than brilliant cast members proved that this particular stone was one that shouldn’t have been turned over. When there’s already an amazing original film out there produced by one of the perhaps most beloved film makers of all time, it’s never going to be a good idea to remake it. Just leave it alone, trust me.