Better remakes than original or highly regarded remakes


I haven't seen Ringu, but I find it difficult to believe that it could be better than The Ring.
I've seen both; I like The Ring a whole lot more.

And, having seen both, I feel quite confident that The Departed is an improvement on Infernal Affairs.
I've also seen both of these, and I agree with you (obviously, it's in my Top 10). Apparently, MANY people prefer the original, which is cool. I don't see them as the same though. I saw Infernal Affairs as a crime thriller and The Departed as more character-driven. But that's what you get with a Scorsese picture. I guess since IA came up with the original story, the great characterization should be credited to that movie. But The Departed just, I don't know, did it better? Still, there are a lot of similarities. I just think The Departed has superior direction and editing, and better writing, sound, and cinematography. The acting is superb in both.

Granted, in both instances you have to give more credit to the film that originated each idea, but I'm putting originality aside and assuming you're viewing each remake as standalone and without any knowledge of the original.
In the case of Ringu's remake, I'd agree that all credit goes to the original, since it had the unique idea for a horror story, and it basically just got redone. But with the other two, I think William Monahan took the basic idea of two opposing forces out to find each other. He kept in all the iconic stuff from the original, but the details were all his own. Especially the significance of Boston to the story. And the humor, and a more compelling protagonist in Billy Costigan, and his film's got Jack Nicholson going for it, so... yeah, The Departed's better than IA.

Anyway, here's my list of great remakes (I don't know if I'd say all are as good as or better than their source material, but they're all still worth a look. Don't ignore them because they're remakes).

The Departed--Infernal Affairs
Dawn of the Dead
Vanilla Sky--Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes)
The Fly
3:10 to Yuma
Cape Fear

"I want a film I watch to express either the joy of making cinema or the anguish of making cinema" -Francois Truffaut

^I definitely have to agree with the listing of 3:10 to Yuma.

Actually I quite dislike the original and I really don't understand why it's held in such high regard. There's little plot or character development to speak of and the arbitrary happy ending is just infuriating.

I think the Cape Fear remake was much better than the original having seen both; although I will say the character of Max Cadey differs slightly in both films, Robert DeNiro comes across as a slightly more agressive character (whilst still being quite smart) whereas Robert Mitchum is slightly more intelligent in his actions.
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The new War of the Worlds is an utter failure on all levels. I hate it when films are "really about" something other than they are "f*cking actually about". The film is really about Cruise becoming a father and reestablishing a traditional paternal household through terror. The aliens are merely then a projection of his paternal wrath in order to gain back control over his disrespectful children, an entirely different form of symbolic warfare.

The original was about the aliens.

Fun with Dick & Jane. Not that I didn't enjoy the original, the remake seemed more fun and clever.
"Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." - Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park.

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Schindler's List is a vast improvement on Jurassic Park, though both are equal in the extent of their failure.

A system of cells interlinked
The new War of the Worlds is an utter failure on all levels. I hate it when films are "really about" something other than they are "f*cking actually about".
I cannot disagree more - oh, not that War of the Worlds was pants, because it was, but most films are allegorical in nature. This is one of the main reasons I watch and enjoy film, for the symbolism and metaphor contained within.

Most films have a subtext that deals with deeper concepts other than what appears on the surface of the narrative. I mean, do you really want The Lord of the Rings to be about jewelry?
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The Fly is arguably the greatest remake ever made and The Thing is not too far behind. Sophisticated technology and effects were in both film's favour though.

I couldn't agree more with Cries about The Departed. It's just a superior film on all levels other than performance and basically sorted out in two and a half hours what the others took 3 films.

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^ The Fly and The Thing are two of my favorites as well. Both are just extremely effective horror films and great films in general.

most films are allegorical in nature. This is one of the main reasons I watch and enjoy film, for the symbolism and metaphor contained within.
This is basically THE reason why I watch and enjoy film.

Nevertheless, there is no allegory to be had in terms of tWotW. It's directly inscribed into the surface narrative of the plot. The father regains his paternal authority through terror. If the aliens are libidinal projections of his wrath, then he won. It's not quite the same as The Birds where the jealous Oedipal mother projects The Birds against Mitch's visiting girlfriend. In The Birds, Mitch and Melanie get together in the end, but have to forever deal with the dark world where Mitch's mother's jealousy surrounds them, though no longer attacking them. In tWotW, the aliens disappear as soon as Cruise regains authority. They literally evaporate into thin air the closer Cruise gets to his ex-wife and the realization of the nuclear family unit. The ideology here is clear: obey your father. The same goes for Jurassic Park, with the dinosaurs as projections of Sam Neil against his kids and Schindler's List, with the Nazis as projections of Schindler himself. This is what Spielberg is really all about.

A system of cells interlinked
HAHA - After I posted that, I figured you were probably just busting balls and full of **** (as usual). Glad to know you weren't serious. I am going to start being less serious.

tWotW, so many things went wrong with that remake. The Cruise character was terrible and I hated the stereotypical, shallow turn Robbins put in, as well. The screaming kid...and worst of all - the sappy go happy ending. When the son appeared in the doorway, the entire theater started heckling the screen, including yours truly.

Well, the tripods were cool anyway - but wait! Tripods?? I know they were trying to be faithful to the book, but THREE legs?

Dear Aliens - You are a big ol group of idiots. I had a three legged table once, and it just fell over all the time on the weak side. Please contact one Mr. Darth Vader for design specs on the Imperial AT-AT, which has FOUR legs, and won't fall over in a windstorm or when a cat (or bird!) lands on it.

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I wasn't even joking. But I can see how it's funny. That's what real hermeneutic film theory is bro.
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Well personally the newer Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp in is just completely shameful, it in no way compares to the original film, which was just amazing. A remake of that film should never have been made, no wonder children now a days watch such rubbish when remakes like that come out!

These children will say the same thing about the generation that follows them
The fact is, you're getting too old, deal with it..

& yes that remake was awful.. Everything by Tim Burton after that movie is awful.

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Everything by Tim Burton is awful.

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Is it untrue? I mean, if you think about it, just about everything he's ever done has been a steaming sh1tpile. Except Nightmare Before Christmas, but the art production team was what made that film great.

Rob Zombies Halloween was always going to be better than the original, couldn't have been much worse.
I don't understand this. The words are all English, but the order doesn't make any sense.