TMB’s 4 Rules Before Making A Remake

Remakes-RulesThere are some terrific films that have been made over the years that were actually remakes. Films like Scarface, The Fly, Lord of the Rings and Ocean’s Eleven are just a couple of examples that prove that remakes CAN work if done right…. just like any other movie project.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t mind the idea of remaking an older film. Yes, it has the potential of sucking… but so does every movie. However, when approaching remakes, I believe there are 4 “rules” or prerequisites that a film should meet in order for a studio to consider producing a remake of it. Here they are:

1) The original has to have a good story
I know that sounds too simple to even mention here, but you’d be surprised. What would be the point of remaking “Freddy Got Fingered”? Story is the base foundation of everything, if the original didn’t have it… then don’t bother.

2) Majority of current audience hasn’t seen the original
This is a big one to me. The strongest argument for doing a remake (to me anyway) is to bring a great story to a modern audience that otherwise wouldn’t have seen it. Yes, they could always go to the Blockbuster and rent it… but there is no debate that most people don’t do that… so why not bring it to them? That being the case, it makes no sense to do a remake if most of the current movie going audience has seen the original. Films like Godfather, Star Wars ect. have been seen by most people (although the number is dwindling now finally) so you wouldn’t be bringing them anything they haven’t already seen for the most part.

3) Original has to be at least 20 years old
I think before a film should be considered for a remake, a legitimate buffer of time between when the original came out, and when you propose to do the remake. This rule is related to rule #2, but if no one saw a great movie that was just out 13 years ago… then chances are you should just leave it alone for a few more years before remaking it.

4) The story would benefit from a modern telling
You have to adapt material moving it from one era to another. The question is can that adaption be made into a modern context, or in the same context but benefit from modern filmmaking techniques and technologies? For example, could the story of Ocean’s Eleven benefit be transporting it into a modern casino context? YES. Or Lord of the Rings. Could it benefit changing mediums from animated to live action utilizing today’s technology to enhance the storytelling? Obviously YES. On the other hand, a film like “The Three Amigos” shouldn’t be remade (yet) because the story as it is and the context in which it was told wouldn’t benefit from an update at all. Undoubtedly at some point it WILL… but not right now, even though it’s more than 20 years old, is a hilarious story and SADLY most people today haven’t seen it.

I think if a film meets these 4 criteria then it’s a prime candidate to be remade… hopefully for the better. Earlier today I wrote that the Hellraiser remake seems to be back on. To me, it meets all the above “rules” and therefore a good one to do. Does that mean it will WORK? Obviously not… but it does mean it’s worth the try.

So what do you think? Would you add any more “rules” or criteria to my list?

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78 thoughts on “TMB’s 4 Rules Before Making A Remake

  1. Say John,

    What would your rules be for Hollywood remakes of foreign language films? I think The Departed has already been mentioned above already… which is nice, because I was starting to think that they’d made a rule that only asian horror films could be remade…

    God knows the opposite’s been happening for years; but it’s actually really interesting seeing the stories adapted for local audiences. IMHO, that would be my no 1 rule for such remakes, the story should be able to be adapted well to suit western audiences. what say you?

  2. I think they should remake Eragon, i know it is not very old at all, but they slaughtered the book with the movie, they need to completely start over and do the actual story not the complete offstretch that came, the only redeemable part of Eragon was the few good actors like Jeremy Irons as Brom Or Ajihad portrayed by the talented Djimon Hounsou, if New Line would remake this properly they would make ten times what they put into it on the movie scores of fans would see it, we dont care if they have to split it into several films or a long film many fans will flock to a chance at a good representation, if the other books are to be made into movies, then the original must be remade

  3. I would up that time frame to maybe 30s years… I think allot of knowing when and when not to remake a movie has mostly to do with intuition. Scarface and The Fly worked because the movies in which the were based have a completely different approach and aim. While the talks of a Nightmare on Elm Street remake and a Videodrome remake (while still in your legal time frame) just seem like bad ideas. In Nightmares case its because its a tired franchise that people of all ages are still being introduced to. While in the case for movies like Videodrome, Wicker Man, and Last House on the Left it just seems like these movies were already such a timeless and artful statement on there own and they are so connected to the creator that a remake would be pointless. This is also the case for the Psycho remake. And as far as their never being a Three Amigo’s remake, didn’t Tropic Thunder get pretty close?

  4. Just like Merian C. Cooper did in ‘33, I too am adapting this fantastic novel into film form once more. But does it mean I am remaking ‘King Kong’? No! That has already been remade, and perfectly, IMO, by Mr. Jackson. I am merely re-adapting Lovelace’s novel for the first time since 1933

  5. A story is not a thing you can set in stone. Each generation takes away something different and adds to it in their re-telling. The rule #4 is key, the remake has to take one of the themes or ideas and relate it to current issues. Examples brought by Brian T were good; “The Thing from another World” -50s and “The Thing”-80s have the same premise, but completely different takes and social themes, where as “Psycho” was the same movie. Some movies can’t be remade as their surprise endings were the movie; “Psycho”-Norman is his mother, “Sixth Sense”-he is a ghost, and “PotApes”-he is on Earth. These movies probably would not be considered great without them and without the surprise, the storytelling is diminished. I thought someone would be remaking “Logan’s Run” by now; a culture focused on the young, socially isolated by tech, looking for the next big thing, seems more real now.

  6. My first and foremost rule that NO ONE FOLLOWS, but they SHOULD: remake a movie that was ALMOST great. There are SOOOOOOO many movies out there that you watch and say, “Wow, that was so close, but messed up by adding/omitting/diverting from this or that.” Movies that had a good premise or main characters or story but fizzled at some point. Take the ALMOST worthies and make them great! C’mon, I DARE YOU…. Take the challenge, moviemakers!

    Taking a BELOVED movie and remaking it is just ASKING for failure 99.9% of the time.

  7. Hi! I agree that LOTR is not a remake. Whether John thinks they are or not, the main thing we should draw a conclusion from is what Peter Jackson, the film-maker himself, has said.

    He has said countless times that his films aren’t remakes of the Bakshi film. He has said that his films were complete adaptions of the books. So therefore, PJ’s LOTR Trilogy isn’t a remake!

    Even PJ’s ‘King Kong’ wasn’t a remake of the 1976 film, although the 1976 was a remake of the original just like Jackson’s!

    I am writing a spec-script for an adaption of Delos W. Lovelace’s 1932 ‘Kong’ novel, the story that was adapted into film form, which, is now what we fondly know as the 1933 classic version of ‘King Kong’. But just like Merian C. Cooper did in ’33, I too am adapting this fantastic novel into film form once more. But does it mean I am remaking ‘King Kong’? No! That has already been remade, and perfectly, IMO, by Mr. Jackson. I am merely re-adapting Lovelace’s novel for the first time since 1933. None of the remakes have re-adapted the novel, no matter how much they took from it. My script will be the only re-adaption since 1933.

    See, it’s all about the intention of the film-makers! Peter Jackson could’ve said, “I am going to remake that horrible Bakshi cartoon and make millions!”, but he didn’t. He said, “Hey! I’ve got a great idea! The children of today need the option to fall in love with Tolkien’s work! So let’s adapt LOTR to film-form! Bakshi? Who’s Bakshi?”. No intention to remake Bakshi’s film. Therefore, not a remake.

    1. Sorry Clayton, but you’re incorrect.

      It doesn’t matter what Peter Jackson says. If Peter Jackson says the movie was made without cameras and only used the power of his mind… that doesn’t make it true.

      You’re over complicating the issue here. In the question of “is it a remake” all you have to ask is this:

      Was a Lord of the Rings film made before?

      If the answer is yes, then that’s it. End of discussion. You can try to use semantics all you want, but the bottom line is, it was MADE before. This one may be new, it may be really different… but it is STILL a remake. Period.

    2. John, I am sorry for not replying for so long.

      Thing is, you never wrote the rules to Hollywood and what defines a remake.

      And I love how you say that I cannot use semantics, but you do yourself. I love the irony, John. Thanks for the laugh.

  8. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not remake The Warriors or Revenge of the Nerds and with that said Romancing the Stone….are we that out of ideas that we need to hijack these originals…..the Longest Yard is the best example of something not needing a remake….COME ON ALREADY

  9. Theres a problem here
    there was a Scarface movie made in 1932, but it had nothing to do with the 1983 version. Yeah they both are about mobsters(i guess)but the 1932 has nothing to do with a cuban making a name for himself in america. therefore i don’t think it’s counted as a remake

  10. About splitting hairs–let’s not be too hasty. Lengthwise, across, on the bias, center, off-center, all issues to consider. However, remaking classics–that’s insane. Remake Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, The Searchers, Music Man (case in point), Gone With the Wind, The Shining, Patton, Singin’ in the Rain, North by Northwest and some others already mentioned–you gotta’ be kidding! Sure, go ahead, let them make fools of themselves, but anyone who does should be suspended from movie-making for ten years–and made to write a 500-word essay on why the original was so much better than their attempt. Classics CAN’T be made better, only different, usually worse. A classic represents a combination of factors impossible to duplicate. Instead of making junk knock-offs, MAKE NEW CLASSICS!

  11. They gotta stop doing remakes of foreign movies, like Vanilla Sky, that was a piece of shit compared to the original spanish version. Now they’re remaking Old Boy, oh jeeezuz, they should only remake it if had a crappy screenplay, actors, director like the german movie Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo. Hollywood would’ve done a way better job on that.

    Ocean’s Eleven should’ve stopped at eleven, they keep making these stupid sequels to it. I’d like to see them turn The catcher in the rye into a movie, now that’s a classic.

  12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remake

    This should settle it.

    Excerpted from wiki:

    Not a remake

    Some notable examples of films based on common material, but not considered remakes of each other:

    * Any adaptation of a classic piece of literature, such as the plays of William Shakespeare, epic poetry (e.g. Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, the works of Homer), stories from the Bible unless the makers specifically remade a previous film, such the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille version of The Ten Commandments, which was a remake of the first half of DeMille’s 1923 silent version).

    * Any adaptation of Alice in Wonderland: one important factor in this is that each adaptation either does or does not include sections from Through the Looking Glass.

    * Any adaptation of the story of Peter Pan, including (but not limited to) the 1924 silent film, the 1953 Walt Disney animated version, the 2003 live-action version, and the 1991 Steven Spielberg film Hook (which, oddly enough, is a sequel to the J. M. Barrie story, but not a direct sequel to any previous film adaptation).

    * The Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings films are adaptations of Tolkien’s books, although they contain numerous homages to the 1978 Ralph Bakshi film. Neither Jackson’s nor Bakshi’s films bear any relation to the Rankin/Bass Hobbit and Return of the King.

    * The 2003 film Hulk was not a remake of the 1978 TV series The Incredible Hulk, although it paid several homages to that adaptation. Similarly, the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk is neither a sequel nor a remake of the 2003 film, but owes much more to the TV series than its predecessor.

    * The 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale is not a remake: the 1955 teleplay and 1967 satire aren’t “official” Bond films (that is, made by EON Productions), and deviated sharply from the novel.

  13. Ughhh, the problem is that they are remaking movies that aren’t that old to start out with and don’t need to be remade. Also, the list of good recent remakes compared to bad ones is ridiculously slanted towards the latter. Come on, “The Fog,” “Black Christmas,” “When a Stranger Calls,” “The Haunting,””Psycho” . . . all of these were awful and the originals are way better.

  14. Remakes I want to see.

    Cleopatra: This one is old. Not many people remember it. The original wasn’t all that good. The epic story of Cleopatra and Julius Ceaser could make one epic modern film.

    Waterworld: Not so old, but most definitely forgotten. Movie would need a complete re-imagining, but imagine how cool it could be.

    Tron: A gritty high concept Tron as directed in the style of Batman Begins, by a Chris Nolan type would be awesome.

  15. John’s four rules for remaking a movie are “right on the money”

    for me. However, in my opinion, certain exceptions can and

    should sometimes be made. I’d like to mention the forthcoming

    remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. This is a movie that

    arguably meets the standards of the 4 rules, definitely rules 1

    and 3. The thing about “Nightmare” is that it’s so well known, or

    Robert Englund has made Freddy so well known, that a new take

    on the part will either be mind blowing or abysmal. Englund has

    the Freddy fans (I’m one of them) in the palm of his hand, so a

    new actor putting on the glove will have a lot of hard work to do.

    With that said, Heath Ledger had a lot of work to do to step out

    of Jack Nicholson’s shadow for The Joker, but he did it. I was

    skeptical of Nolan initially casting the gay cowboy but fell in love

    with “The Dark Knight” as well as Ledger’s portrayal of the clown

    faced madman. Concerning remakes, you’ll always have

    naysayer’s angry at “some Hollywood moneyman” ruining their

    prized possession, but sometimes when you love a story it’s

    worth seeing it from different perspectives. It won’t ruin the

    original if it’s horrible and will add tremendous value to its

    predecessor if it’s gold!

  16. I whole heartedly agree. I just read that they are doing a remake of ‘Poltergeist’. That goes under #4, as in why remake a movie that still stands up very well today-and will probably be inferior to its twenty-some year old sibling.

  17. @Seeley: Blade Runner might be an excellent — and marketable — choice right now because Hampton Fancher and David Peoples excoriated a number of nowtimely subplots from the movie — specifically the Global Warming and species extinction bits of the original novel. Bits and pieces show up from time to time in Scott’s film, but you don’t necessarily get the impression that the whole planet is dying and that everyone who could emigrate off-world already has.

    In ‘>Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep‘, the Earth is basically a cesspool inhabited by genetic defects who were outlawed from emigrating. There were almost no animals left anywhere in PKD’s novel: thus the synthetic snake. Deckert was also trapped in a loveless marriage, making his dalliance with Rachael all the more poignant.

    A remake that better emphasized the planet’s ecological destruction would just about turn the whole story on it’s head — think more ‘Soylent Green’ and a little less Sam Spade, though both of them are Detective stories.

    Better yet, remake it under a new title to make it more marketable. That way, it wouldn’t damage the stature of the original or piss-off Ridley Scott too much.

    The end result would certainly be different enough for it to be evaluated on its own terms.

  18. I’d have to agree with those who say LOTR is not a remake. Think of it like this, let’s say Jackson never watched the seventies LOTR, then how would his trilogy be a remake if he had no idea of what he was remaking. In any case, they’re only “remakes” of the books. Just two seperate adaptions. That’s what I believe.

  19. I really can’t think of many remakes i’d be interested in seeing unless maybe it was a film that was originaly based on a book that expanded on the original story. I liked Freddy Got Fingered even though I definetly feel it should’nt get remade. I never saw the original but I thought the Night of The Living Dead remake was pretty good.

  20. What if the Director decides to make a remake of his own movie like, Alfred Hitchcocks The Man Who Knew Too Much originally a british movie then he remade it in America….

    Must admit some movies originals are heaps better and I hate how America has to remake a classic foreign movie because there too lazy to read the subtitles…..

    Like Vanilla Sky… they remade it only a couple of years after the origianl spanish version… they even used the same actress…

  21. I have a few things to say…

    First of all I am dying to see a remake of an old Lon Chaney, sr silent picture called The Unknown. One of the best silent pictures I’ve ever seen and it is 80 years old. Let’s polish it up and get it to a broader audience. That is a prime suspect for remake potential.

    Would anyone here consider Tin Man to be a remake of the original Wizard of Oz? I sure don’t. They are both drastically different from the novel in vastly different ways. I wouldn’t really even consider it an adaptation of the Lewis Carrol novel, but it is more that than a remake of the MGM picture. Remember stories are told from different angles without being direct rip-offs or remakes. Stephen King was inspired by Dracula to write Salem’s Lot but I don’t consider it a re-write even though both stories share a lot of common themes and incidents.

    On the other hand I do consider the 2004 Salem’s Lot a remake of the 1979 version. I like the Tobe Hooper version the best but I think it boils down to is the movie more popular than the book? In the case of Stephen King yes, Lord of the Rings not so much. The exception to this would be the two versions of The Shining. Stanley Kubrick deviated so much from the novel and actually, Stephen King himself chose to adapt his novel the way it should have been. He certainly didn’t remake a movie that was an adaptation of his book, he filmed the book.

  22. I think your definition of remake is hugely over-simplified. Ignoring the LOTR discussion, to call Casino Royale a remake is ludicrous by any standard. The first was a spoof that was a spiteful project from the producer that Cubby Broccoli beat to the rights of the rest of the Bond books, it had several James Bonds and a villain from the original book. The villain, the Casino and title are the only things that the films have in common.

    I agree with the general sentiment of your “rules”, a film should only be remade if you are intending to make a good film (not just cash in on nostalgia of an older audience, name/brand recognition of a younger audience). I’m not sure the specifics of your rules work. For instance you clearly think Ocean’s Eleven was a good film (shallow star cameo filled fun, yes, good? em, no). The original isn’t a great film either, but it has the cool of the Rat Pack, and seems like it was just an excuse for them to hang out with each other and get paid for it. Did the original have a good story? I’ve seen it a couple of times, and I can’t even tell you what the story was, apart from “guys get together for heist in Vegas” (oh wait, they were in the war together, and there’s a down beat anticlimactic ending, hmm that isn’t in the remake? is it?).

    The flip side of your rules: should “classics” get re-made? By your criteria, the answer would be yes, they have great stories, they’re old enough, many (apart from devoted film buff freaks like ourselves) haven’t seen them. But would Casablanca, The Third Man, The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane etc. benefit from a re-telling? I’m not suggesting that these things are sacrosanct. Howard Hawk’s The Thing (from another planet) was a classic of it’s time, John Carpenter’s The Thing offered something more, a vision closer to the original source story (which was more achievable with the advances in effects).

    On the other hand Van Sant’s Psycho was pointless, adding colour, different cast and signature cloud shots in the middle of the shower scene. Personally I think a good remake of Psycho could have been made, because I think the original is Hitchcock’s most overrated and one of his weakest films.

    So at the end we get back to the nub of the matter, any film should set out to be a good film, but I would add that a remake should seek to live up to, or perhaps surpass the standard of the original. If we apply that criteria, then a lot fewer rubbish remakes would get made. But the green lights are from the accountants, remakes have an in-built marketing asset, and whatever sensible rules we want to come up with, they’re unenforceable.

  23. I don’t think you can say LOTR is a remake, or that it isn’t a remake for two reasons.

    1.) We can’t tell if Jackson would have made the trilogy if the animated movies never existed.

    2.) Saying it is a remake disregards the book, saying it isn’t disregards the original animated movies. Even though I doubt any of you will agree that Jackson took into consideration anything from the animated movies, I’d bet on he used the animated films for something.

    I can’t agree more with Rule #1, but I think it should apply to adaptations as well. If the book/video game/original foreign film were crap or just don’t have a story line to stand on, chances are the Hollywood adaptations will be crap. The biggest example is Eragon, the book was a shoddy rip-off of LOTR, the movie was much worse.

  24. The Lord of the Rings is not a remake. Sorry John it’s not. Was Coppola’s Dracula a remake of the hundreds or so other Dracula films that came before it? No it wasn’t. It’s a new adaption of the book. The word remake implies that the filmmakers are either using the older script as a base or other elements from the older version.

  25. I have to agree with Mozzerino and oldshell as well. Is Akira Kurosawa’s Ran a remake of the version of King Lear made in 1909? Is The Lion King a remake of Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet? I think not.

  26. John I have to agree with Mozzerino. I think a remake is when a film takes inspiration and tries to recreated a film that already exists. Classic books and other high-profile stories which can be turned into film in a number of different adaptations are not remakes if they ignore the fact that another film of the book (etc) is made. For example Romeo and Juliet has been turned into film numerous times (10s of times). However, each subsequent version is not a “remake” of the first romeo and juliet film (imdb thinks this is from 1900), they are different directors’ takes on a classic play, just as each theatre company that takes the play itself is not a remake of the first recital. Similarly in classical music each time a different composer and orchestra takes on a mozart piece (my knowledge gets hazy here) it is not a “Cover” of the original, but an adaptation/the composers take on a classic.

    In summary, I think lord of the rings is a book so famous in its own right that a new version is not a cover or remake but an adaptation to film as a result of the book not the animated film.

    *submits for film studies degree ;)*

  27. So I guess by your criteria then Beowulf is a remake, because Canada made Beowulf and Grendel like last year, oh wait, Hollywood wasn’t aware of it so it can’t be a remake no?

  28. Am I the only one who doesn’t care if Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings was or was not a remake? Even if some authority on the subject defined it as a remake once and for all, would it impede your enjoyment of the movies? Would it make it any less of a movie?

    I don’t think it matters, and if John wants to consider LOTR a remake, it doesn’t affect me.

  29. I have to agree with Mozzerino and others who state that LOTR is not a remake. I think the key missing indgredient is intent. PJ did not set out to remake the animated version instead he used the novels as source material and adapted them for the big screen.

    John would you consider a new Hobbit move to be a remake of the Rankin and Bass Hobbit?

  30. Mozzerino is right – LotR is not a remake. Batman Begins is not a remake.

    Both would have been filmed even if the earlier adaptations had never been made.

  31. @Brian S – LOTR was the very definition of a remake. By your definition, if someone came along and made “Harry Potter” again in 5 years, it wouldn’t be a remake. When obviously it was.

    It’s just plain and easy like John said. Was it made once already? Are they making it again? The rest is just changing the definition of remake to fit what you think it should say.

  32. Sorry, but Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” is NOT a remake, at least by my definition of what a movie remake is, and that is: “A new film in which the majority of the material was based on a previous film.” I would say that 95-99% of the material influence of Jackson’s trilogy comes from the books, and not from the animated film (which was never finished anyway!). It has a few homages, but that doesn’t make it a remake in the slightest.

    Also, I agree that lesser known foreign films should be considered for remakes.

    Also, I’d say that older films which are nearly universally considered “classics” should not be remade… do we really need a 21st century version of Citizen Kane, or Casablanca?

  33. Another rule I would add:

    Make it different from the original. An example of a remake that didn’t do this: Psycho. The film makers intended to make EVERYTHING the same as the original version of Psycho. What’s the point of that? Why even remake the film if all you’re going to do is make an exact copy of the original? Add something new and give it your own style. Don’t make the same movie over again.

  34. @Seth:

    You know something? I do agree with that- but can I take it one step further? Consider, if you will, what happens in those rare lapses of judgement, in which a well written story and characters are watered down /changed through the egos of an actor/actress, miscasting, or gets hurt by studio politics (good films that get buried because so-and-so fmr studio head worked on it…especially when that stuff went down in the 80’s) …or just plain old poor marketing/promotion.

    The only downside is that…well…let’s see…look at the recent “When A Stranger Calls”. A remake of a dreadful film to begin with, not a big ‘name’ horror wise, as opposed to say, something like Motel Hell or My Bloody Valentine. (Both of which are current rumors in the remake mill, BTW) …and it flopped. So…if someone wanted to remake…say…”NEKRomantik” (don’t ask me why I’m thinking of this German cult film from ’87 right now, please!) would a studio go to it? Or “Chopping Mall”?

    Better shut up now, before someone out there gets funny ideas…

  35. I would love to see remakes of I, Robot and the upcoming The Omega Man because neither of the recent versions share much in common with the source material beyond the title.

  36. I agree with those saying LOTR’s is not remake. Calling it a remake would suggest that the filmmaker saw the original cartoon or the bbc radio adaption, and thought “shit, I could do that better.” He took it from the book… blah blah blah.

    I disagree with 1-2, and think 3 is more of a guideline. Remakes work if they feel they can improve upon the original in some way, whether that be special effects (KING KONG) or story. I can’t think of an example of a filmmaker actually doing something like this, but why wouldn’t it work if a filmmaker saw FREDDY GOT FINGERED, and felt they could remake it into something better? I think people should start doing it with a lot of those old discount bin horror movies, like FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD or whatever, rather than wasting their time on things like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE which doesn’t really need to be remake. #3 is kind of irrelevant, and maybe works better as a guideline rather than a rule.

  37. How about Bladerunner

    Hmmm….I would have to say…no.

    For these reasons:

    1) CGI Technology will only sparingly improve on the Blade Runner world. Blade Runner is noteworthy for the production design and the (dreamlike) appreciation for the model work. When we have had CG ‘landscapes/cityscapes’ in the past ten years, the visuals, “inspired” by Blade Runner, is seen only fleetingly.

    It is still influential for filmmakers today. When ‘Batman Begins’ started up, Chris Nolan said to everyone ‘Lets watch Blade Runner’.

    2) Ridley Scott keeps restoring the darn thing and did so recently.
    It’s still pretty fresh in the minds of many for such reasons..
    In fact..

    3) Like Tron, released in the same year (1982) , it had a videogame ‘sequel’ (1997)

    4) The late Philip K. Dick has stories that share common or simular themes. Hollywood would rather mine those, or so it would seem.

    5) It is well established in the film (and the game, and in the KW Jeter sequel books) that Deckard isn’t the “only” Blade Runner. Hence, a “sequel” (NOT counting the lame Paul WS Anderson directed ‘Soldier’, which allegedly takes place in the same BR universe) could focus on another Blade Runner, an Off World colony, etc. Heck, Gaff could be running the show now, and everyone dies. Or, an adaptation of the KW Jeter books if need be.

    It is, of course, brung up now and then by Ridley Scott that a sequel could happen one day. If it does not pass, I think it still can be tapped for a cable series.

    6) I think it is one of the older films that this generation is familiar with. Not that it means anything. I mean, folks knew Halloween. People know Jason of ‘Friday The 13th’.

    7) Not every hit or cult film older than 20 years needs to be remade. I mean, if we DID follow Gio’s criteria, than why isn’t Hollywood remaking ‘Jaws’ or ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’? Why isn’t someone making ‘Taxi Driver’ right now? Is someone remaking ‘Moonstruck”?

    Now, all that said, there IS one small detail.

    “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?” was adapted ‘into’ Blade Runnner. There are a number of changes from the book to film- one being that the term ‘Blade Runner’ is never mentioned in the book(!) …

  38. Jeff Razey, I disagree completely. You REALLY want them to spell out whether or not Decker is a replicant? You honestly think that’d make it a better film? The thought makes me shudder…

    And the voice overs just didn’t work. They SHOULD maybe, because it’s a neo-noir and voice-overs and noir go together more often than not, but no… have you actually watched the theatrical cut with the voice-over? It’s painful.

  39. How about ‘Bladerunner’;… should a remake of it be made? I think yes, only this time make sure the ending isn’t so vauge that brawls start over whether or not ‘Decker’ is a replicant. And leave the voice overs in… I for one like the ‘Sam Spade’ futuristic-detective feel. Does anyone agree?

  40. I agree with the definition stated by Mezzerino, but as such, I will offer that “an adaption of a film” as explained by Mr. Stay Puft, would probably more resemble some of the examples stated by John, (such as LOTR, Oceans 11, Scarface). I think for most of the current flock of films that are not remade in the image/likeness of the original, adaption is a better word. A remake would entail an exacting copy (ala King Kong).

    Now, having said that, I’d rather a film be adapted to current life, rather than remaking a movie (like the aforementioned, King Kong). I think it was a horrible flick, and totally unnecessary, but could have had the potential for more great things, if adopted to a current timeline, like Transformers was. Btw, Transformers would not be classified a remake.

  41. I agree that LOTR is NOT a remake, because it’s inspired by the books, not the animated series- no-one involved with LOTR was setting out to remake the animated series. John’s definition of ‘remake’ is unusual

  42. Sorry for the sarcasm.

    You make a good point Tarmac,

    Far too many foreign films are remade into crap because us Americans are too self focused to pay attention to the world around us and too lazy to want to read subtitles.

    That said, I wasn’t looking forward to an American version of Infernal Affairs, but Scorsese did a wonderful job of adapting the story into the Boston setting, etc.

    If you’re going to remake something, do it that way.

  43. Hey Tarmc,

    You raise an EXCELLENT point about foreign films. I give a pass on point 3 to foreign films since the vast majority of people in the west haven’t seen it nor would ever see it in it’s native language (A sad reality, but a reality nonetheless)

  44. I can see the point Mozzerino is making, and I do agree in essence with his point. But John is actually correct in the literal definition. Rings is literally a remake, Christmas Carole has been remade a 100 times.

  45. Wouldn’t (by these rules) The Departed be a bad idea then? Although I appreciate most of the viewing audience in the West hasn’t seen it.

  46. I can totally see both John’s and Mozzerino’s points, but I’d have to side with Mozzerino myself.

    I usually consider a remake to be another version of the previous movie if the source material is the other movie. If the source material is something else than I consider it a separate adaptation. However the lines do get muddied when the second adaptation takes inspiration from the first. How similar are they? If there’s not enough of an original take on the source material, maybe even the second adaptation can turn into a remake.

    Look at 3:10 to Yuma. I consider both films to be adaptations from the original short story. I don’t see the new one as a remake. It is very close in base plot due to having the same source, but there are enough differences to say it’s another adaptation.

    Same thing goes will the Solyaris/Solaris films. They are very different. I would NEVER call Soderbergh’s version a remake of Tarkovsky’s.

  47. On this topic, I would like to say how I hate that we have an animated film made, only for it to be moved aside because people want “live-action”. Sure, maybe Transformers and Lord of the Rings are considered “official” adaptions to their animated counterparts, but I’m glad to see this site acknowledge those animated movies that paved way to movies we have today. I like to see traditional animated movies (if done right) get made. Sure, if it can work in live-action, why not? But if it is downright impossible, do you prefer to quit or find another way to tell your story? My 2 cents.

  48. I agree with all of the above, lately remakes have been pretty subpar. That said I think the film “Night of the Hunter” would be a great movie to remake, we’re studying it in my film class at the moment and I honestly think that it would be a fantastic film to remake in a modern setting, as long as the change to the Harry Powell character is minimal.

  49. Mr Stay Puft, now that’s a term I like a lot better.
    I’m sticking to my opinion and I guess my understanding of a “remake” is less literal than yours.
    Just because films draw from the same source material doesn’t mean they have to have some connection to each other. For a film to be a remake of another movie it explicably has to refer to that movie, otherwise the two just happen to have the same original behind them.
    But hey, I’d like to know other opinions about this, who is right, John or me?

  50. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Peter Jackson made his movies based on books already existing, and that he did not remake a movie.

    Was the DUNE TV series a remake of David Lynch’s Dune as well then? Obviously it’s not. It’s just based on the same pre-existing material. Otherwise, everybody who painted the Eiffel Tower, didn’t paint the tower they just re-painted a picture already existing.

  51. Hey Mozzerino,

    My definition isn’t “strange”. It makes perfect sense.

    Was a Lord of the Rings movie… based on the EXACT same story of JRR Tolkien already MADE? Was it? Yes? Ok then, Jackson is “making it again”. It is, remaking it.

    Yes there are differences for certain… but one movie is about a ring of power, obtained by a hobbit named bilbo, entrusted to a hobbit named frodo and protected by a fellowship in order to destroy it in mount doom.

    Jackson’s movie is about a ring of power, obtained by a hobbit named bilbo, entrusted to a hobbit named frodo and protected by a fellowship in order to destroy it in mount doom.

    You can put all the qualifiers on it you want… but it remains… that movie was already made. Jackson made it again. In a different medium yes, with some changes, yes, but the story is the same, based on the same book with the same characters on the same mission.

    The Lord of the Rings was already made. Jackson made it again. He remade it.

  52. I’m sorry but that definition of yours is really strange.
    Would you consider the recent Fantastic Four movies a remake just because there already has been a film about them? Or the PUNISHER? Or is BATMAN BEGINS a remake of Tim Burton’s BATMAN? (Sadly, I can only think of comic-book movies right now for this example)
    Just because movies draw from the same material doesn’t mean they have to have some kind of remake relation between each other.
    Now SUPERMAN RETURNS for example is different: It clearly is a remake of Donner’s SUPERMAN. It borrows a lot from the story and also from the imagery. But in the case of the RINGS-Trilogy you simple can’t make that argument.

  53. I don’t think you should dismiss the “Blockbuster” arguement so quickly. Access to the originals – especially in a pristine DVD format – is a big strike against doing remakes, in my opinion.

    While the 20-year-rule is a good one, I am looking forward to a mulligan on “The Hulk” and would love to see them try again with “Van Helsing” (cool idea, horribly executed).

    Your first point is obvious, but your fourth point is the key to me. The 1978 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is a great example of modernizing the theme of a film, while the later adaptions added nothing. I already mentioned that “Escape From New York” should not be remade since the major theme – urban crime and decay – is not as notable in today’s society. The end product is just another mindless action flick.

  54. Hey Mozzerino,

    Dude, yes it is.

    That story has already been made into a movie. To do it again, is a remake. Now, if you want to pinpoint a specific and tailored definition for “remake” that doesn’t fit this criteria, that’s cool, but in the most basic and general sense, LOTR is a remake, because it was already made into a movie before… and just because Peter Jackson didn’t like the other one doesn’t have anything to do with it.

    I totally see what you’re getting at and where you’re coming from… but yeah man… The Lord Of The Rings, based on the JRR Tolkein works was already made into a movie… to do it again, in the most basic understanding of the term, is indeed a remake.

    Good discussion to have though. Cheers.

  55. Casino Royale is a remake (and a badly needed one – if you’ve seen the 1967 version you’ll know what i mean); as is Transformers i suppose, and that’s the kind of re-do that i would like to see more of.

    There are so many films out there that had great ideas but, for whatever reason, never achieved their full potential. Those are the films that i am always game to see remade; and there are companies out there who are trying to do that. Both the Phantom and the Shadow are in the pipeline to be redone. I don’t think it has occured to many people who have been dissapointed with the way Fox has handled X-Men 3 and the Fantastic Four movies that there is literally nothing stopping somebody restarting those franchises in 20 years time and, hopefully, doing them perfectly.

    With all these horror remakes i tend to drift into thinking that Hollywood will only remake popular, classic films that already have a devoted following/brand name that can earn a decent opening weekend before the bad word spreads, but really, that’s just the way it appears on the surface. It does take a lot more courage to go down my preferred route and remake bad movies into good ones.

    I really think that a good movie could be made out of the Avengers for example (the bowler hat/leather clad duo, not the Captain America led folks), but would anyone dare to try again?

  56. No it isn’t.
    What’s your definition of a remake?
    Just because the source material has been adapted before doesn’t mean that all adaptations after it have to be a remake of the first adaptation.
    At no point in the trilogy do you see any kind of reference to the Bakshi-version and Jackson himself has stated that he really doesn’t like the 70s film.

  57. Hey Mozzerino,

    Yup, by definition LOTR is a remake. A live action remake for certain, but a remake nonetheless. Perhaps we should say LOTR is a remake* with the little asterisk beside it?

    :P

    1. I’d like to consider it another adaptation of the books. However, if someone came along and decided to make another film or animated version, then I’d consider that a remake. And I’m glad you mentioned the Cronenberg/Goldblum version of The Fly. Definitely my favorite remake to date. :)

  58. Good thinking here and I would agree with every point you make.
    HOWEVER:
    Why do you list LORD OF THE RINGS in your list of good remakes?
    Yes, there has been a film version of the ring in the 70s, but the Peter Jackson trilogy has nothing in any way whatsoever to do with that movie.
    It certainly isn’t a remake and doesn’t belong on this list. Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but come on.

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