Originals versus Remakes

In today’s world there is no such thing as an untouchable franchise it seems. Anything is up to be redone and remade into a new image. Now whenever we hear about a new remake there is always a concern about whether it will do justice to the original if the original is beloved. Then there are times that a lesser known product gets remade and comes out without much fanfare. At the same time there are people who loved the original and don’t want to see it remade they’re just not as vocal about it.

Thinking about all the remakes that have come out and will be coming out, here are some remakes that have definitely made an impression.

Doctor Dolittle

I grew up watching the 1967 Doctor Dolittle starring Rex Harrison and it is fantastic. In the original it was not that the animals could talk, but that Doctor Dolittle could speak and understand them when no one else could. It was also not every day animals it was almost like an original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sort of movie. I admit the other piece that I thoroughly enjoyed about the original was that there was singing and I can still remember some of the songs.

When they remade the movie with Eddie Murphy I was so disappointed. Now I know that it is an older movie so it kind of makes sense. I have watched the newer version and while not being terrible it is just so different from the original. There was such a fantastical nature in the original movie that just is not there in the remake.

The Mummy

I have to admit on this one I never watched the 1932 Mummy, but I have seen clips of it. It was probably great for its time and there is a great simplistic nature to the older movies. At the same time I love the 1999 Mummy with Brendan Fraser. The actor who played the Mummy was so good and it was a fun sort of campy romping good time.

The thing that the updates to movies such as this have is better graphics. The transformation of the Mummy was particularly impressive. I think one of my favorite scenes is when a scarab crawls out of the part of his mouth that is still mummy and he he eats it through his mouth that has regained human form. The newer version really is just a fun time.

My Little Pony

An interesting phenomenon that has occurred recently is the remake of My Little Pony. Now I grew up on and loved the original My Little Pony, owning many of the toy horses. I have seen the movies too many times to even count. Originally when I heard that they were remaking the franchise I was not thrilled, but they have actually done a pretty good job and has created an interesting following among adults as well. There is something with the animation style and the jokes that make it a fun romp for all ages. This does not diminish my love for the original, but they did something new and interesting with the story and characters to not make you just long for the original show.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

There are so many different versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I don’t even know what to consider to be the originals. So what I am going to look at mostly is the 1990 movie versus the 2014 Michael Bay version. I grew up watching the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie there was something amazingly campy about that movie which made it sort of fabulous. I really loved that movie as a child and when I originally saw that they were remaking it I was nervous.

Then I saw that it was directed by Michael Bay and I got more nervous.

I eventually watched the Michael Bay version and it was about as bad as could be expected, but there was something sort of fun to it. At the same time it can never really measure up to my experience watching the version 1990 version. The 1990 version just felt like it really brought the story to life and the 2014 version tried to almost be too realistic yet at the same time childish.

Final Thoughts

Stories seem to keep coming around again and if something is beloved then we must do it over and over again. Now there are some stories that it is really hard to do justice because the first one is so perfect, but instead of trying to find new stories there seems to be a desire to just repeat, to try and keep the golden goose laying eggs. At some point though the golden goose is going to become rotten. There is always a question of whether the next remake will be fresh or rotten.

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2 responses to “Originals versus Remakes

  1. Honestly, I don’t think that there is a general rule for it. There are some properties which should never be remade, either because what was done was already perfect (Psycho for example really didn’t need a repeat) or because the movie in question worked in a particular context but wouldn’t really fly today (Ghostbusters, E.T). But remaking mediocre movies into something better, or having an original take on a beloved property, I am all for it. In any case, a remake should always come from a place of creativity, not from “oh that was successful back then, time to make more money out of it”.

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  2. Occasionally, a remake exceeds the quality of the original – but not usually.

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