Spotlight On….Remakes

Posted by David On December 11, 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Hollywood receives a lot of flak for its copious amounts of remakes and reboots, and it does certainly feel that the creative well in Hollywood has wrung dry. But the truth is, remakes are nothing new. In fact D.W.Griffith remade his own 1914 film Battle of the Sexes again in 1928. There are plenty of other early examples as well – Beau Geste (original 1926, remake 1939), The Cat and the Canary (original 1927, remake 1939) and The Dawn Patrol (original 1930, remake 1938) to name just a few. A lot of people also ignore the fact that some remakes have improved on the originals.

So for this series of Spotlight On…. I thought I would focus on the some of the highs and lows of the world of film remakes. This is by no means all known remakes, only a selection of the ones I have seen. A more complete list can be found on Wikipedia (but without my valuable opinion of course!).

The Amityville Horror

Released: 1979

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

Starring: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger

Plot: A family move into a haunted house, where grisly murders occurred only a year before.

For: Occasionally creepy

Against: Not creepy enough, and definitely not scary.

Favourite Scene: The father (Brolin) goes mad

Rating: 1.5 Lukes


The Amityville Horror

Released: 2005

Directed by: Andrew Douglas

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George

Plot: A family move into a haunted house, where grisly murders occurred.

For: Decent non-CGI effects, Melissa George is actually a good actress, and always happy to see Ryan Reynolds on screen 🙂

Against: Not scary. Good haunted house stories focus on what you cant see, not throw it all in your face.

Favourite Scene: The father (Reynolds) goes mad

Rating: 2.5 Lukes

Winner: The 2005 version is more watchable, but only just.

Assault on Precinct 13

Released: 1976

Directed by: John Carpenter

Starring: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston

Plot: In what is essentially a remake of Rio Bravo, a police officer defends a defunct precinct against an attack by a relentless criminal gang, aided by a murderer and a few others.

For: Relentless and brutal. Great ending.

Against: Some of the acting is pretty bad. Julie dies!

Favourite Scene: Bishop asks Wilson to walk out of the station with him.

Rating: 3 Lukes

Assault on Precinct 13

Released: 2005

Directed by: Jean-Francois Richet

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, Gabriel Byrne

Plot: A loose remake of the original, a group of police and criminals defend Precinct 13 against a group of corrupt police.

For: Some nice action. Always good to see Gabriel Byrne.

Against: Story is pretty bad, and some of the acting is terrible.

Favourite Scene: Can’t think of one.

Rating: 2 Lukes

Winner: Carpenter’s original is still the best.

Cape Fear

Released: 1962

Directed by: J Lee Thompson

Starring: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum

Plot: Convicted rapist Max Cady is released from prison and immediately begins a terror campaign against the family of lawyer Sam Bowden, who he holds responsible for his conviction.

For: A classic. Mitchum is mesmerising as the disgusting Cady. Whenever he is on screen you can’t help but be captivated.

Against: I’m not a Telly Savalas fan. He annoys me and whenever he is on screen it puts me right off. Weird but true.

Favourite Scene: There are plenty of classic scenes, but Cady’s final all out attack on the family wins it.

Rating: 4 Lukes


Cape Fear

Released: 1991

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Juliette Lewis, Jessica Lange

Plot: Convicted rapist Max Cady is released from prison and immediately begins a terror campaign against the family of lawyer Sam Bowden, who he finds out withheld evidence that could have gotten him a lighter sentence or acquittal.

For: A tour de force from De Niro as the psychotic Cady, and a great performance from Lewis as the daughter Danielle.

Against: Cady hiding under the car as they travel to Cape Fear. A few blocks maybe, but all the way up-state – come on! Also, Jessica Lange is terrible.

Favourite Scene: Cady seduces Danielle – creepy and fascinating.

Rating: 4 Lukes

Winner: This a too close to call – a tie!

Clash of the Titans

Released: 1981

Directed by: Desmond Davis

Starring: Harry Hamlin, Judy Bowker, Sir Laurence Olivier, Neil McCarthy, Maggie Smith

Plot: Perseus, the illegitimate son of Zeus, defeats various foes in order to rescue his love Andromeda from the fearsome Kraken

For: Good old fashion fun. Although it vears from the original story a bit, it is never boring and features some amazing stop motion work from Ray Harryhausen, including Medusa.

Against: Hamlin can’t act. Bubo is overused and becomes tiresome.

Favourite Scene: Medusa!

Rating: 4 Lukes

Clash of the Titans

Released: 2010

Directed by: Louis Leterrier

Starring: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arteton, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Mads Mikkelsen

Plot: Fisherman Perseus survives the death of his family and is unwillingly thrust into a war of the Gods when it is discovered he is in fact the son of Zeus. He renounces his divine heritage and fights for the cause of mortals.

For: The Medusa sequence, Bubo’s cameo, good performance from Mikkelsen.

Against: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Sam Worthington is friggin’ terrible. Hollywood please stop giving this man work. The so called action is boring, the tacked on 3D is laughably bad, and the performances are terrible. It also has one of the worst marketing slogans I have ever seen – Titans Will Clash! Groan.

Favourite Scene: The Medusa sequence

Rating: 1 Luke

Winner: The original Titans stomps all over the piece of crap remake.

More in part 2 🙂

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