When Should Remakes Not Happen?

They’re everywhere, and they’re not slowing down, but when is it actually right to revisit a classic?

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About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

81 comments

  1. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    Remakes shouldn’t happen cause most of the times they fail to top the original is my opinion on the matter

  2. It’s true about how sometimes, the remake can outshine the predecessors. The Wizard of Oz had been made several times during the silent era, before the 1939 classic came out. Amusingly, up to that point, it was probably the most faithful adaptation of the original book, and even it took quite a few liberties.

  3. People call the ring the better remake of a Japanese film, but I found the grudge better and scarier.

    • The ring is a lot less scary than the Japanese original, which is itself an adaptation of a novel. The grudge was quite entertaining, but also pretty ridiculous and I felt it didn’t bring anything new to the over exploited theme of the haunted house ^^. I haven’t seen Ju-on (the original for The Grudge) so I can’t tell but the same guy directed the Japanese version and the remake and he wrote the original scenario so I guess it was probably pretty faithful.

  4. Devil's Advocate

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wasn’t a remake, it was a re-adaptation of the source book. I heard the screenwriter never even saw the first movie.

    and how does the Nightmare on Elm Street remake have less when they had the balls to actually make him a child molester and in fact, make that his only crime pre-mortum? it was obvious in the original continuity even though it wasn’t directly said but still.

    • Just because they confirmed he was a child molester doesn’t really add anything, especially when the whole movie was just a copy of the original.

    • It’s both an adaptation and a remake. Since there had only been one film adapted from the book, it’s thought of as more of a remake.

      And, I remember Nancy’s mom mentioning that in the first film. They also showed flashbacks to it in one of the sequels.

    • That’s pretty much the definition of remake. If it was done once before, and someone does it again, it’s a remake. Doesn’t matter what the inspiration or intention was.

    • It’s both.

      From the book they kept the squirrels, grampa joe suddenly jumping out of bed shouting “yippee”, actually seeing the injured but alive kids, the songs, and the fact that charlie “wins” the second the body count is low enough and flachbacks to India, the early days of the factory and Loopaland, and the other 2 rival chocalateers besides slugworth and the Oompa Loompas only going up to a human’s knee.

      From the Wilder version they kept the fact that they each only took 1 parent instead of everyone but Charlie taking both parents, Willie’s lack of facial hair, and the montage of everyone being obsessed with the golden tickets.

      They also made up Willie’s childhood, everything after Charlie wins, the explanation for why Grampa Joe knows so much about Willie, the Robot song near the start, violet’s personaity beyond Bubblegum and Mike Teavee’s updated obsessions.

      Overall they took way more from the books or completely made up stuff than they took from the Wilder version, but the Depp version isn’t 100% free of Wilder influence.

    • People don’t want Freddy to be a child molester. In an odd way people like Freddy. He was scary in the first, and weird in the second, but from there on it was cathartic dark humour. He was even the host of ‘tales from the crypt’ esq anthology show. I still prefer to think child killer only meant that he killed creepy thirty somethings who shouldn’t have been hanging around high schools.

      • Devil's Advocate

        no, in Freddy’s Dead and Freddy Vs Jason we saw flashbacks and newspaper clippings that make it clear he murdered 8 year old kids.

        and serial killers who go after children more often then not also molest them.

        • They took his daughter. Freddy’s motivation was revenge; it wasn’t sexual. I’m glad him and Maggie make up in the comics.

          Besides, my whole point is that making him a child molester makes the remake worse, not better. Freddy is likeable, ( to a niche audience ), and turning him into a child molester just makes him gross.

          • Devil's Advocate

            that whole sob from Freddy’s dead was a lie except for his and Maggie’s biological connection. notice he was going to stab her with his glove while he was talking about that?

            and what would his motivation be when he first started killing children? remember, he was a child murderer long before his kid was taken away. he was a sadist who didn’t really care about his family, child rape or not. TV Tropes lists him as a Complete Monster for a reason.

            and he wanted revenge for his death, he only cared about Maggie as a way to get out of Springwood and tried to kill her after he had no more use for her.

            but this is mostly off topic.

          • Devil's Advocate

            and when he killed the last Elm Street kid at the beginning of the fourth movie, he kept killing teens and younger kids unrelated to anything in his mortal life for funzis.

  5. I’m going to have to disagree with you on two movies;

    Firstly, Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s not so much a remake but rather an alternate adaptation. A lot of the people involved in production hadn’t seen or didn’t like the musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Your dislike of this film and Matilda really makes me wonder if you’ve read any of Roald Dahl’s books, because you really should if you haven’t.

    Secondly, the Beauty and The Beast remake. I’ve been a bit iffy on Disney’s remakes of their classics, but I was quite keen on the Beauty and The Beast remake precisely because of the visuals. I mean, just look at the beast; he has a perfect fusion of man and beast! And Gaston’s song, that had Broadway-level inspiring visuals during it!

  6. Have you guys thought about doing vlogs about “Twin Peaks”? The show is actually pretty good when you get patient enough. It’s by David Lynch and Mark Frost and some of their work ranges from pretty good to incredibly bizarre and Twin Peaks certainly walks on the line of both.

  7. When abusive scumbag Johnny Depp is going to be in them.

    Don’t @ me.

  8. I think when a good movie that not many people know about exists, it should be remade. (Fistful of Dollars, The Departed, etc.) Another situation is a shitty movie with great potential. (Most franchises, I think Devil should be remade by someone who’s not Shyamalan.)

  9. The #1 reason why a remake should not happen is the trends of the time. If the original is dated, avoid replacing it with something that will become dated even faster.

    Continuing with the original Ghostbusters as the example; the effects still look good, the humor is still funny, the characters are unusual enough to be interesting while still having a relateable quality.

    What did Ghostbusters (2016) give audiences? Essentially the opposite of what I just described. It is very much a product of the time in which it was made and it very much suffers for that.

    • I’m in the minority prbably, but I don’t think Ghost Busters aged partcularly well. I saw it 3 years ago for the first and only time and was not much impressed. I found it neither particularly funny nor particularly clever nor particularly entertaining it. Maybe it’s simply the “Seinfeld is not Funny” effect.
      I was actually exited about the remake, because in my opinion there was much to be added to the original, but my interest quickly waned when the first reviews rolled in and made clear how similar it was to the original.
      That’s the problem with remakes that do nothing different:If people already like the old movie they have no real incentive to see it (they can just watch the old movie and if people DIDN’T like the original they have no incentive to see it, ecause why should they invest money and time in a movie that is exactly like a movie they don’t like.

  10. One of my favorite “new directions” is the ’97 Romeo and Juliet. Putting one of the most famous stories of all time in 90s Los Angeles is just hilarious to me.

  11. Jalen Washington

    Honestly, I usually picture Willy Wonka as Johnny Depp rather than Gene Wilder.
    I guess it’s because I read the book and find the former closer to the original Wonka than the latter.

    • …a short, jolly man with a dark-haired goatee?

      • Jalen Washington

        Not from his physical description, more for his overall personality.
        Take the oompaloompas, for example. Neither version matches the appearance of the originals, but while the first movie’s version is more iconic, the latter version is more in-line with how they behaved, namely in the singing department.

  12. Here’s a reason that can go for or against remakes: “making it for a new generation”

    Several movies/series are old, and even today some people have never heard of them, let alone watch them, so remaking them is a good way to tell these classics for a newer audience… except that it can be be as sweet as it can go sour… Hey, just by checking out NC’s Old vs New series, you can see both ends of the spectrum.

  13. But we all know for sure: a remake of Citizen Kane would probably kill it in the box office!

    • Wasn’t that what The Social Network was? A fictional interpretation of a real media mogul’s rise from humble beginnings?

      • Not really, although they have a similar plot, both movies have different characters, sub-plots, arcs. etc…
        A remake is an updated version of a specific movie with the same characters and plots that audience already know.

  14. Everyone always would love to have their own imaginings of certain movies, but to do that would be task and a million.

  15. This is why I think it’s so stupid when people say Teen Titans Go is a remake….no, it so very obviously is not. it’s a spin off. it is in absolutely no way whatsoever trying to do the same thing that the older Teen Titans cartoon did, it’s not trying to “replace it” or “reboot it”. it’s a meant to be a comedic alternate version of those characters. it’s not telling any of the same stories, it’s not trying to improve on anything, IT IS NOT A REMAKE. IT IS NOTHING MORE THAN A LAME SPIN OFF.

    now whether it’s good or not, that’s subjective and everyone seems to agree that it’s crappy and not done well at all, and sure, fine, I can understand that. I don’t particularly like it either, but I think people come across as such morons when they think it’s a sequel series or a follow up or a remake. it’s just a stupid silly kiddy take on the teen titans concept. nothing more. so there’s no reason to get so damn pissed off at it. it’s like getting pissed off at those little Chibi Avatar shorts where they all go to preschool and stuff…just, why? why does that make you so mad? just ignore it of you don’t care for it. that’s what I do.

    • I think you should take your own advice, and ignore whether or not people hate it. After all, why does it make YOU so mad?

    • Teen Titans Go! is neither a spin off nor a remake. It’s an alternate parody version of Teen Titans: The Animated Series. It’s based on the TT universe but it’s not a continuation of that series or any of the events from said series. Ironically, TTGO! is more reminiscent of Tiny Titans from the comics, only not funny. TTGO! is basically like Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Show, except that SHS did it much better.

      And I agree that anyone who doesn’t like the show should just not watch it. It’s not drugs; it’s really easy to quit.

      • Oddly enough, TTGO has actually established that it IS a sequel series… in a really stupid way. Old universe got blown up, new one continues after it left off. They meet up with elements and hold overs of the original show ocassionally. Control Freak shows them the previous series and they comment on it and he claims he ended the previous universe… the redub an old episode without changing the footage at all, they have dreams in the style of the old show, etc.

        Not a *legitimate* sequel that continues the plot points or tone or something anyone would actually put together on a sensible list… but it IS technically a sequel at this point. Though only suuuuper loosely.

  16. Seriously there is a remake of nightmare on elm street ? Why ?

  17. This video has renewed my confidence in the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake. Money may be a primary motivating factor, but I’ve just tested the Remake project against Doug’s list, and I’m happy to say that it sweeps all the good reasons and dodges the bad ones. Let’s go through them now, shall we?

    Can it be made better? Absolutely. Final Fantasy VII was a groundbreaking masterpiece in its day, but you have to admit that many aspects haven’t aged well.
    The most obvious is the graphics; it’s clear that the technology just wasn’t there yet in 1996. And yes, I know that they were trying to evoke the ‘super-deformed’ style utilized in the NES and SNES areas, but I ask you to compare and contrast with Final Fantasy IX four years later, which pulled off the look flawlessly. The lego proportions of the characters had nothing to do with stylistic choices, and everything to do with hardware limitations.
    The sound design was as good as could be expected for the time, but the tinny synthesized instruments they had to work with fail to do Uematsu’s compositions justice. Sure, the soundtrack has seen endless remasters which you can find online, but it’s just not the same unless that music is baked right into a remastered game.
    And the gameplay was pretty dang buggy and unbalanced too; did you know that the magic defense stat is bugged and completely useless? Or that the Darkness status effect can be inflicted on enemies, but it has absolutely no effect on them? Or that you can stop enemies from successfully back-attacking you by hitting the shoulder buttons for a split second?
    I could go on and on, but I think it should be plain to see that the original product definitely had room for improvement. With all the advances in technology that have come about in the last two decades, more of that potential can be reached.

    Can it expand on the concept? If the Compilation is any indication, then the remake absolutely can. True, not every expansion was a positive enhancement (looking at you, Surge of Derberus), but each one handily demonstrated that the world of Final Fantasy was not set in stone, and that a creative team can breathe new life into the world.

    Can it create a whole new experience? Absolutely. Battles can be played out true to form, without abstracting them through the old ATB system. The lines between free-roaming segment and scripted scene can be blurred to the point that the transitions are nigh-unnoticeable. Not to mention, new real-world politics can shape the fictional world of Gaia to make it just as relevant to the turn of 2020 as the original was to the turn of the millennium.

    Will it be able to supplant the original as the definitive version? I think it can, and quite feasibly too. Square Enix has marketed the hell out of the Compilation and gone to such great lengths to redefine the look of Final Fantasy VII. If the remake is seen through to completion, it very well may become the new classic.

    Will it do the exact same thing? I’m including this question for completeness sake, but the answer is a pretty solid no. Just look at how the Compilation has evolved over the years, and all the different stories that have been told in the same universe. Final Fantasy VII has already undergone a great deal of transformation, and I don’t think they’re going to just roll them all back now.

    Will they do less? Well, they’re planning on releasing the game in several parts, with each part being as long a single FF13 installment, which means that the complete Remake will be just as long as the FF13 trilogy, if not longer. I’m sure players will find fault in many of the Remake’s design choices as it comes out, but one thing no-one will be able to fault it for is a lack of ambition.

    But wait! There’s one last test. Will the Remake have the same heart as the original?

    This is one thing that we can never definitively know until the Remake is released, but all signs point to “yes”. The most promising sign is that Yoshinori Kitase, director of the original Final Fantasy VII, is producing the Remake. With the improvements made to game development technologies that I mentioned at the top of my post, I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that the Remake will be a more pure and undistilled representation of his vision.

  18. Good directing from passionate film directors who understand and expand on the heart of the original is when a remake should be made

  19. Remakes are very tricky to do. They either do better or are worse. We all have opinions on it. some might be good in our minds while some not so much. Some people want a remake while others don’t. I do want some movie remakes, mostly one of the movie that came out in 1994 called The Shadow. It was a flop but i love watching it. With superheroes movies making lots, I would love to see a remake of The Shadow, but will it be good or worse? There are even some movies that i’m scared to see remade and one of them is Jumanji. It seems to be different the original Jumanji but will it be good or bad? We don’t know yet. Remakes are kinda scary because of the difficulty to make them.

  20. One of my main rules for remakes is that usually at least 15 years needs to pass before a remake is done. I agree on the improvement rule as well. I’m not sure how I feel about the expanding rule. I agree with the foreign rule. Although, I liked the Willy Wonka remake and the Alice in Wonderland remake more than the originals (I hate the originals in fact) so go figure. I think it just depends on a case-by-case basis. Lastly, I didn’t know that Scarface was a remake.

  21. No mention of “The Fly”??? That’s a remake of an original classic and clearly topped it, doing the same story but making it a whole new experience.

  22. Doug Doug Doug. People hated the idea of female Ghostbusters because they didn’t wanna see them “cross the streams”

  23. Angryatthecritic666

    Okay I seriously disagree with anything he says about the beauty and the beast remake

  24. haha I’m actually watching Charlie and the chocolate factory right now when I stumbled on this. Honestly nothing wrong with a remake. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is so bad it is funny, and other times it is ignore-able.

    I’ve been surprised by remakes, so I won’t put anything down until the reviews come out (reviews from people I trust mind you)

  25. Doug Walker has finally learned an important lesson about film: You don’t always have to explain everything, if you have a narrative and visual elements strong enough to convey your mood, message, and story.

    I think Hollywood is starting to remember that now. Just like we don’t need Superman, Spiderman, Batman, or the Hulk’s origin stories re-hashed anymore for a good decade or two now.

    • TragicGuineaPig

      Here’s how I think Hollywood could improve on the Superhero Genre Film:

      1. Just tell good superhero stories. Don’t rehash the origins, and – and this is one I think a lot of Marvel critics are starting to latch on, but you can see it in DC and Universal – DON’T SHOEHORN IN CROSSOVERS! Sure, what Marvel is doing with The Avengers is kind of neat, but it shouldn’t be that every superhero story needs cameos or guest appearances from other heroes to work. Sometimes a hero just needs to stand alone and do his/her own thing.

      2. Do some new things with the genre. Some of my favorite superhero films are ones that cross genres. Captain America: The First Avenger – superhero and WWII. CA: Winter Soldier – superhero and conspiracy-spy thriller. Guardians of the Galaxy – superhero and space opera. My point: the superhero genre itself can get really stale, if the only things they do with it are to hit all the stereotypical genre tropes. By changing it up a bit, they can infuse it with some new life.

  26. This got me thinking about a video I made years ago arguing that you should remake bad movies not good movies. After seeing this and thinking about it, I’d like to expand/clarify the hypothesis I had back then;

    They should remake plan 9 and mario bothers, but make sure it’s unique enough that people are almost suprised when someone casually mentions it’s based on the original. It should be like, “hey, did you know there was a version with the guy from Roger Rabbit?” “Really?”

    A hypothetical good version of Plan 9 would be a cross between War of the Worlds and Night of the Living Dead, with none of Ed Wood’s dialogue and no one being stupid.

    Bob Hoskins and Yoshi were the only 2 characters in Super Mario Bros. that look like realistic versions of their game counterparts and I like the basic idea of reptile people running a distopia and Fungus being sentient shapeshifters. Absolutely everything else needs to be done completely different though.

    I’m also in favour of a more serious version of Star Crashers, it’s already a ripoff of Star Wars only the female costar spends more time half naked. Just do that with better writing and modern SFX. And get a better actor for the guy with the goatee.

  27. Is Fistfull of Dollars a remake/reboot? I’m sure Kurosawa disagreed on that one (with words like ‘plagiarism’ being used)

  28. You make some valid points about when to remake something and when not to. But I think for when a remake is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to me is subjective. I’ve seen some movie remakes that make me never want to watch another movie again, (Ninja Turtle’s) Then there are some remakes that I’m in love with. (Beauty and the Beast 🙂 Point is some dislike them, others will defend them to their dying breath, good and bad depend entirely on the individual

  29. Honore de Ballsack

    I liked the Peter Jackson King Kong and the female Ghostbusters a lot. I also liked the stuff from the Depp Wonka that was originally in the book but hated the stuff they added and I thought Depp was god awful.
    why are there so many versions of Cinderella? Is it really necessary to constantly remind everyone how important looks are?

  30. TooMuchFreeTime

    If the thought is ‘hey, what if it was done this way?’ then go for it.
    If the thought is ‘the name recognition is valuable enough to be worth making another’ then DON’T!

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