Wow, how times have changed! Great remakes and a couple that aren’t
Posted on September 29, 2016
6 min read
Have you noticed how popular television and cinema remakes are becoming? There doesn’t seem to a week that goes by when we don’t see our social media flooded with rumours of remakes. Dirty Dancing, Fame, Lethal Weapon, Bewitched and The Gilmore Girls are all rumoured to be making their way back to our screens in 2017.
With many of our favourite films and TV series about to be resurrected, we will take a look at some of the more successful resurrections, and others that should have been left in the entertainment graveyard.
Mad Max: Fury Road
After a 20 year absence from our screens, the Mad Max franchise made a comeback in 2015 with a fourth instalment. An all new cast lined out for the action packed production, including Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson in the lead role.
The Mad Max franchise follows the adventures of Max Rockatansky as he fights for survival in a post-apocalyptic Australia. War has broken out, society has collapsed, and food and water are in short supply.
When his wife and child are murdered by a vicious biker gang, Max kills them in revenge and retreats to the Wasteland, where he becomes a drifting loner. As Australia sinks further into barbarity, he finds himself on the roads helping pockets of civilisation.
Mad Max: Fury Road was Australia’s most successful film ever at the Oscars, scooping six Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. If you haven’t already seen this epic Australian production, then head to BigPond Movies where it is available to rent or buy today.
Ocean’s Eleven is a 2001 remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film of the same name, and is arguably the most successful cinema remake of recent times. Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, the film remained true to the original. There was a notable absence of violence and guns, with emphasis on humour, just like the Rat Pack’s offering.
The film meets criminal master-mind, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), as he is released from prison. Determined to win back his ex-wife, Ocean plans an elaborate casino-heist to impress her. To help him on his quest, he sets about recruiting a wild bunch of thieves and con men.
After the box-office success of the 2011 film, two sequels were produced, Ocean’s Twelve in 2004 and Ocean’s Thirteen in 2007. Box office revenue for the trilogy was $1,124,774,054. In October, 2015, a fourth Oceans film began production with an all-female cast led by Sandra Bullock. For now, you can catch the Oceans Trilogy on Stan.
The Karate Kid
If you grew up in the 80’s, you were most likely a fan of the Karate Kid. Kids of the eighties were enthralled by Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, and flocked to Karate classes across the country, kick-starting a Karate revival at the time. Unfortunately, the remake hasn’t had the same effect.
The big budget remake stars Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, as Dre. Like the original protagonist, Daniel, he wants to learn to defend himself against bullies and impress his school crush. Enter Kung Fu legend, Jackie Chan as Mr Han, who takes on the role of Dre’s mentor. Elements have been borrowed from the original plot but the remake has several significant differences. Although the original title was kept, fans will note the practise of Kung Fu instead of Karate. Yes, the Karate Kid practises Kung Fu, a completely different discipline.
The film did relatively well at the box office with a new generation of fans, it did receive several poor reviews critics and fans of the original were left disappointed. So if you are an eighties kids, hoping to have a nostalgic moment, you might be better off popping the original in the VCR.
Beauty and the Beast
Disney’s live-action adaptation of the classic Beauty and the Beast will be released in March, 2017. Social media feeds lit up in May with the release of the film’s trailer. If the excitement around the trailer is anything to go by, this remake looks set to be a major success with audiences. In its first 24 hours, the trailer reached 91.8 million views, which topped the number of views seen in that amount of time in history.
Disney have assembled an impressive all-star cast, with Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as The Beast, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth.
Unlike recent live-action Disney remakes, Beauty and the Beast will remain a musical and fans have been promised new songs to accompany their favourites.
Disney have been on the nostalgia train for some time now and have yet to secure a major success with a remake. While the jury is still out on this remake, it certainly looks promising and likely audiences will be flocking to the cinemas next March.
The Office: An American Workplace
American studio executives have bought the rights to several televisions series from across the globe and remade them for American television audiences. For the most part, these series are rehashed, little effort is put into making them original and their success is rarely repeated. The Office US remake has without doubt been the greatest transatlantic success.
Many characters in the US version are based on the British version of the show. While these characters have the same attitude and perceptions as their British counterparts, the roles have been altered so American audiences can identify with the characters. It has been suggested that this approach is what made the remake so successful.
This mockumentary style sitcom was originally created and produced by Ricky Gervais and his comedy partner, Steve Merchant. The series depicts the everyday lives of office employees and is filmed with a single camera to make it look like a documentary. The team is managed by their well-intentioned manager, Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the boss who doesn’t realise that he is the butt of his own jokes. The team itself are an hilarious collection of weirdos and basket cases, who create brilliant office drama that we can all relate to.
Many viewers have admitted to preferring the US version as the characters are more endearing and eccentric than their British counterparts. With 42 Emmy nominations it is clear to see that adapting a remake to its new audience works.
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