Friday, May 17, 2013

Best and Worst Movie Remakes Blogfest

To read today's May Monster Madness post, click HERE.

To help me Celebrate the Small Things, click HERE.

To read my next entry in the "Memoirs From the End of the World" serial, click HERE.

This blogfest is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp, Father Dragon Al, and Livia Peterson.

I can't say objectively what the best and worst film remakes are, because those opinions are going to be particular to my own experiences.  However, I will tell you my choices, and I'll explain a little about why I made those choices.

The film I chose as the best remake is selected purely because it's the one I enjoyed the most.

Best: War of the Worlds (2005)

(This category was the most difficult for me, because most movie remakes are disappointing, at least in my opinion.)

Now, I know this film has its problems, but it has Morgan Freeman as the narrator.  That certainly doesn't hurt anything!  I also liked the darkness in it. The scene where Dakota Fanning sees the bodies floating in the river was certainly unsettling.  I also liked the sound the tripods made.  Hey, I know that's a small detail, but I pay attention to small details.  I also love the original film, but I enjoyed seeing someone else's take on the story.

It's also the first movie I ever saw in the theater with my husband.  We'd just started dating, and we had fun.  So yeah, it has nostalgic value for me.  That probably has a lot to do with my choice.

Worst: The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

Unlike the first category, this was an easy choice for me.

Maybe I'm biased because I loved the original film so much.  I grew up with it as a kid.  Made in 1951, the original critiqued  our propensity for war and destruction from an outsider's perspective.  Klaatu had little patience for our petty squabbles, and I'm with him on that point.  Still, even after being shot the moment he got off his ship, he was here to give us an honest chance.  He brought an ultimatum.  If we insisted on carrying our warlike ways with  off our world where it would threaten our cosmic neighbors with nuclear annihilation, our planet would be destroyed.  This ultimatum may seem harsh, but there was still no doubt that Klaatu wanted us to do better.  He didn't actually want us to be destroyed.  In the original, he was a sympathetic character with a harsh message.

The remake was nothing like the original.  That in itself isn't always bound to be a bad thing, but in this case, I think it was.  The heart of the movie was shifted, and for me, destroyed in the process.  This remake was more of an alien invasion story than anything.  Klaatu came to actively destroy the world, which paved the way for a lot of action, but it just made me lose all sympathy for him as a character.  I also didn't like how they used the environmentalism angle.  I'm all for protecting the environment, but I found it far less plausible that aliens would come here to destroy us to stop us from destroying our own planet.  At least the threat of us bringing our warlike ways to the stars would directly impact other species, thereby justifying their concern.

I've seen a lot of arguments in online forums where people go back and forth at each other about this remake.  Some people say it's superior to the original film because the pace is faster and the stakes are higher.  I might be relatively young (still south of 30), and a lot of people claim that those who are my age and younger need more action to keep our attention.  I am not one of those people.  At least three of my favorite films have been nothing more than dialogue.  I like action, sure, but if a film is thought-provoking, I can do just fine without all the bells and whistles.  The original The Day the Earth Stood Still was more of an effective film for me.

I could go on about this forever, so I'll quit now.  I think you now have an idea of why I feel the way I feel about this remake.

Now, as with movies, there are tons of song remakes I could have covered here.  So many choices, so little time.  Here's my take on song remakes.

Best Song Remake: All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix
The original by Bob Dylan was certainly good, but Hendix's take on it turned out to be nothing less than  legendary.


Worst Song Remake: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds by Willian Shatner
This one is so bad it's good.  I enjoy listening to it for the pure insanity of it.  Besides, as a Star Trek fan, I couldn't neglect mentioning it here.

Also, I thought I'd share this one as an interesting remake.  This is Cake doing "I Will Survive", originally done by Gloria Gaynor.  I think it's fun, and it's definitely Cake's style.


  1. I liked the remake of War of the Worlds too. Cake is the best!! There songs rock!

  2. The Day the Earth Stood Still almost made it onto my list as well.

  3. Shatner singing anything has got to be awful!
    War of the Worlds was almost my top pick. Different enough not to infringe on the original film.
    Thanks for participating in our blogfest!

  4. I was afraid to check out the Shatner song, and the Cake song is funny although I like the original best.

  5. The Tony Clifton "I Will Survive" is better.

  6. Good choices. The Day the Earth Stood Still was a horrendous remake.

  7. I liked the remake of 'War of the Worlds' also. Didn't even bother seeing the remake of 'Day the Earth Stood Still'. I'll give you that Hendrix remake, even though Bob is 'the man', and I only just recently heard the cake version of "I Will Survive'. Ha, ha, ha!

  8. I didn't know William Shatner could sing, hahaha. I've seen the Day the Earth Stood Still listed many times today as worst remake. Thanks for participating!

  9. So this is where LG Keltner lives. I've seen you around...good to finally stumble on your blog.

    I agree with both of your choices. Earth Stood Still, even with the powerhouse casting of Reeves and Bates, sucked.

    M.L. Swift, Writer (my blog)

  10. I agree about DAY, but the original WotW had so much camp and unintentional humor to it!

  11. I saw the remake of War of the Worlds, but none of the rest :)

    Love Cake's version of that song.