Five Good Remakes

I realize remakes are often controversial and even unnecessary, but sometimes the new version is equal to or even better than the old. These choices are subjective, but I suggest these five remade movies are excellent the second time around:

Oceans Eleven
This one’s a tough call. After all, who can match the Rat Pack? But George Clooney, Brad Pitt, a superb script and excellent pacing make the remake the superior movie in my book.

Thomas Crown Affair
I had high hopes for the original movie, which I actually watched after the remake. Unfortunately, Faye Dunaway can’t hold a candle to Rene Russo, although I do prefer the original, sad ending as being more true to the characters.

Italian Job
The original movie is fun and fast paced, and they both get points for excellent use of MINIs. The ending on the original is frustrating.

Casino Royale
I realize the original version of Casino Royale was shot as a spoof, so the comparison really isn’t valid. Still, the current version of Casino Royale is a worthy addition to the Bond oeuvre – Daniel Craig is an awesome Bond.

War of the Worlds
Please note that I am *not* a Tom Cruise fan. I think he’s gotten where he is today by playing one role really well – that of Tom Cruise. Still, I think the remade War of the Worlds is a nicely done movie – the CGI and special effects available in the 21st century serve this kind of story very well, and Spielberg still manages to maintain the story’s pacing.

I’m also hopeful about the pending Logan’s Run remake – it was the first SF movie I ever watched, it has a good story line, and it’s possible a less-cheesetastic treatment might make for a fairly decent movie.

There are lots of bad remakes out there we can all snicker about – I don’t want to hear about those. Are there any other decent remakes that you would point to and say, “Hollywood got that one right!”?

9 Responses to “Five Good Remakes”

  1. Jim Wright Says:

    Oceans Eleven: much better than the original. Unfortunately, they didn’t stop there, and they really should have. Sigh.

    The Italian Job: same thing, and we’ll see if the follow up to that is any good, that’s due out this year sometime.

    The remake of the Thomas Crown Affair is one of my favorite movies. The sound track is just perfect. Russo and Brosnan are terrific together.

    Casino, I think that’s the best bond yet.

    War of the Worlds? Gah, I’ve already expressed my opinion of that flick over on Stonekettle Station. I like the George Pal version better. However, I like the remake of The Time Machine over Pal’s version, so it all evens out, I think.

  2. Nathan the Leader of the Super-Secret Guvment Funded Hordes of EEEEvil. Says:

    Yes to Oceans Eleven remake.

    Italian Job remake is terrific.

    I hated the original Thomas Crown Affair, so no contest.

    Casino’s pretty good but, meh a little.

    War of the Worlds? In spite of GF working on it, not so much.
    (I’m not that much of a fan of the original either.) One thing to take note of if you watch it again. In the sequence where Cruise if driving on the highway when the first get out of New Jersey, the camera work is absolutely amazing.

  3. Michelle K Says:

    I love Italian Job, as does everyone in the house.

    Did you ever watch the extras on the DVD? I hurt myself laughing watching Seth Green’s outtakes of, “give me your hat and your shirt.”

  4. JesseH Says:

    Transformers = worst remake ever. IMHO.

    I do think the list is fairly accurate. Gone in 60 Seconds is another good remake.

  5. Nathan Says:

    I’m amused that Firefox wants to remember how I signed in elsewhere and inflict it everywhere.


  6. Bryan Says:

    Jeri and I talked about this list and I at least like all these movies. In spite of being a Cruise apologist, it’s the only one on this list I like less than the original (I haven’t seen the old David Niven “Casino”). It’s technically a better movie than the Pal version effects wise, but didn’t pack the fun in the way the old one did – and I got very tired of the kids, especially Dakota Fanning screaming. That shot you mentioned, Nathan, is pretty cool, whizzing in and out and around the van.

    Rene Russo is smokin’ hot at 40+. Awesome.

    Jim, I got that bloody Sins of a Solar Empire game. Oh…My…God. I am thoroughly hooked.

  7. Ilya Says:

    I agree on all counts, Jeri, although Casino Royale probably does not count as a “remake”, per se. WoTW is the only one of the five that I do not own, primarily because of my less-than-warm attitude to Mr Cruise, the person.

    Interestingly, I cannot think of [m]any other remakes that I like. I even went through the online lists of remakes to see if a movie stands out – and came up with little beyond recognition that I like Never Say Never Again a lot more than Thunderball.

  8. Eric Says:

    Does it have to be Hollywood getting it right?

    I love both A Fistful Of Dollars, Sergio Leone’s classic Western, and Yojimbo, the Kurosawa samurai film Dollars is based on.

    Speaking of which, actually (and this one, I believe, Hollywood does get credit for): The Magnificent Seven is a brilliant remake of another Kurosawa masterpiece, Seven Samurai.

  9. Eric Says:


    If you haven’t seen one or more of the films in my last comment, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?