Why some movie remakes work while others bomb

words Bojana Duric

Whenever a remake gets announced, I either get really excited and get nostalgic when remembering the original, or a weariness storms over asking why do we need to resurrect a film that’s bound to be ruined with an unoriginal story plot or actors that don’t compare to the original cast.

So why is it that some movie remakes work and have the utmost potential to be a hit, while others fall short?


When they do work:

Some remakes actually do work. For instance when examining Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Mad Max: Fury Road, they have successfully been able to capture the essence of the original but do it in a way that translates it into modern day. When these films were first released, they had interesting and different story plots but in terms of the aesthetics, they lacked that realism that awes an audience in present day. Don’t get me wrong, when they were initially released during their time, they wowed a crowd, but seeing how film has advanced technologically, it’s hard to find them as appealing and realistic. So when the Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out in 2011, the intelligent chimp looked so real that you forgot that it was actually actor Andy Serkis who was used to create Caesar’s emotions and movements.

Then you have Mad Max: Fury Road, which was recently released and received incredible reviews. First of all, you had Tom Hardy reprise the role of Max, originally casted by Mel Gibson, plus Charlize Theron was added to the mix – so impressive acting was already expected. George Miller was the director and writer, who also directed and wrote the original, so he knew where to take the story and how to use the post-apocalyptic genre in a similar yet different way. Yes it was a blockbuster hit, but it took a more artistic approach with deeper meanings while using technological advancements to add to the wow factor.

When they bomb:

Then there are those remakes that have you nodding your head in total disappointment. The question is why did those remakes bomb at the box office? Many times they are completely unnecessary because it’s hard to create a different story plot to something that’s been done before, and at times the technological advancements were impressively done at the time they were originally released. For instance, recently Jurassic World hit the theatres and it’s been getting mixed reviews – some saying that it’s not as bad as you’d think it would be. To me, that’s not a good review but fans of the original want to see it anyway. Why was this remake unnecessary? It’s because the original did such an incredible job of bringing these dinosaurs to life – it was unreal. Plus the story was so original, which made it hard to beat.

Two films that are slated for remakes are The Craft and Beetlejuice. Again, both of these films were great when first released. The crazy witchcraft projected on screen for The Craft was impressive and the makeup for all the dead people in Beetlejuice couldn’t have been more gruesome. So how are they going to make these two films even more original than the first? With Mad Max and Planet of the Apes, there are so many directions the story could be taken, but with these two, it’s hard to think of something that’ll be successfully different than the first yet still aesthetically fascinating. We’ll have to wait and see once these hit the theatres because you know we’re still going to watch them anyway in hopes that the film will be successfully recreated.




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