Spotlight On….Remakes part 2

Posted by David On December 20, 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Continuing my look at film remakes- good and bad ūüôā


Rear Window

Released: 1954

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Raymond Burr

Plot: Professional photographer Jeff (Stewart) has a broken leg so spends his time observing his neighbors through the window. But when he starts to believe that his neighbor has murdered his wife he enlists the aid of his beautiful girlfriend Lisa (Kelly) to help investigate.

For: My favourite Hitchock film and a master class of suspense, drama and humour.

Against: Nothing

Favourite Scene: Too many to mention, probably Lisa in Thorwald’s apartment.

Rating: 5 Lukes


Released: 2007

Directed by: D.J Caruso

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, David Morse

Plot: While serving house arrest, teenager Kale (LeBeouf) becomes convinced that new neighbor is a serial killer.

For: It’s become fashionable recently to bag Shia LeBeouf. I can see why, he does appear to be in every film released in the past few years (a friend of mine has a tshirt saying Enough LeBeouf! on it!), but I’m not ashamed to admit I like the guy. He is in some woeful films, but he has a screen presence I seem to like so I’m willing to give him a go, and in this he doesn’t disappoint. Decent performances / always good to see David Morse.

Against: The first two thirds of this film are ok (2.5 Lukes) but then it turns into a piece of rubbish teen ‘horror’ film so common these days. Also, not having the decency to admit you’re a remake just so you don’t have to pay royalties is lame.

Favourite Scene: Kale thinks his friend is trapped with the killer

Rating: 1.5 Lukes

Winner: Its not even a contest – Rear Window

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Released: 1951

Directed by: Robert Wise

Starring: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Gort

Plot: An alien, Klaatu, comes to Earth with a warning, ‘Live in peace, or we’ll take over.’

For: Brilliant stuff. One of my favourite films of all time. Its message is no less relevant today than it was then.

Against: Nothing, even the kid doesn’t annoy me ūüôā

Favourite Scene: Klaatu is shot and Gort is activated / All electrical devices around the world stop at once.

Rating: 5 Lukes

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Released: 2008

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith

Plot: An alien, Klaatu, comes to Earth with a warning, ‘Stop destroying the Earth, or we’ll kill you all.’

For: Although different, GORT is still cool. The spacecraft is a visual treat. Jennifer Connelly is lovely as always.

Against: The story is aimless / I wanted Jaden Smith’s character dead within the first 5 minutes / Keanu takes robotic acting to a whole new level.

Favourite Scene: Klaatu’s arrival on Earth

Rating: 2 Lukes

Winner: The original will always be remembered as the classic it is, long after the pretender fades away.

Dawn of the Dead

Released: 1978

Directed by: George Romero

Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross

Plot: As a zombie apocalypse hits a group of survivors hole up in a local shopping mall.

For: For most zombie aficionados there is no substitute. Human vs Zombie, Human vs Human and the ultimate statement of the insanity of man’s consumerism.

Against: Some of the characterisation is one dimensional.

Favourite Scene: The final stand

Rating: 4 Lukes

Dawn of the Dead

Released: 2004

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Starring: Sarah Polly, Ving Rhames, Jack Weber,Ty Burrell

Plot: As a zombie apocalypse hits a group of survivors hole up in a local shopping mall.

For: Zombie Baby! (they had the balls to do it). Believable characters, the Anti Zombie bus

Against: Zombie Baby! (they actually did it). Modern Family’s Ty Burrell as a bastard – Noooo! Going after the girl who ran after the dog – screw that, let her die!

Favourite Scene: Celebrity look-alike zombie shoot

Rating: 3 Lukes

Winner: Although I quite enjoy Snyder’s effort, the original is clearly the better film.

The Fly

Released: 1958

Directed by: Kurt Nuemann

Starring: Vincent Price, David Hedison, Patricia Owens

Plot: A scientist has a horrific accident when he tries to use his newly invented teleportation device and is fused with a fly.

For: Although a bit subdued and campy at times, the original Fly is a classic of the man/monster genre.

Against: A bit subdued and campy at times and the usually brilliant Vincent Price sleepwalks through the film.

Favourite Scene: Help Meeeee!

Rating: 2.5 Lukes

The Fly

Released: 1986

Directed by: David Cronenberg

Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis

Plot: A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

For: A re-imagining of the original story that focuses on the horror of losing your humanity through the degeneration of your body. The characters are more likeable and situation more believeable. Jeff Goldblum is a legend.

Against: The ending becomes a bit silly.

Favourite Scene: The arm wrestle / the Brundle-Fly video documentation

Rating: 4 Lukes

Winner: Not all remakes are bad. Cronenbergs’ The Fly is a classic of ‘body horror’ and takes the concept to a new level.

Fright Night

Released: 1985

Directed by: Tom Holland

Starring: William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowell

Plot: For young Charlie Brewster nothing could be better than an old horror movie late at night. But when he discovers that his new neighbour is a vampire he turns to Peter Vincent, the host of  TV show, Fright Night and former film vampire hunter. Together they overcome their own fears to battle the handsome vampire.

For:¬†A fun 80’s teen comedy horror with likeable performances and a great idea. It also had some impressive FX work for a film of its time.

Against: Charlie Brewster isn’t very likeable, Amanda Bearse looks annoyed to be in the film.

Favourite Scene: Peter learns that Charlie was telling the truth

Rating: 3.5 Lukes

Fright Night

Released: 2011

Directed by:

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Imogen Poots

Plot: Charlie Brewster wants nothing more than to be with his gorgeous girlfriend, hang with¬†the cool kids and pretend that his nerdy past never existed.¬†So when his former friend Ed tells him that a vampire is killing people in the neighbourhood he brushes him off. Then he learns the truth and asks¬†Peter Vincent, the¬†star of a Vegas show called¬†Fright Night, to help him. Together they overcome their own fears to battle the handsome vampire and protect Charlie’s family.

For: Actually not bad. Farrell is clearly having fun and the makers are respectful of the source material without being slavish to it. It moves along at a solid clip and is never boring.

Against: Charlie Brewster is a douchebag. How he gets Amy to like him is beyond me. The change to Peter Vincent’s back story is terrible. I wont spoil it here but it is a bad choice.

Favourite Scene: Charlie gets Jerry beers and is finally convinced that his friend Ed was right.

Rating: 3 Lukes

Winner: The original by a nose!


More in part 3!

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