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5 Film Remakes Worth Watching

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by Natasha Stewart (subscribe)
Food and words.
Published October 7th 2011

Often remakes occupy the same shelf as sequels, and adaptations, with fans claiming they're never 'as good as the original'. In all cases you'll find accretions to the rule, so read on for five remakes that are worth a watch. This isn't a case of comparing the new and old, we're not judging which film did it best, but if you're one to bypass remakes then here are some that you should watch.

Let Me In
Let Me In breaks to common conceptions, it is is a remake of an adaption, and all films involved are actually quite good. The original Swedish film LŚt Den Rštte Komma In (Let the Right One In) was adapted from the book of the same title, and is creepy and touching at the same time. At times it can feel a little slow for some, but this is also part of the charm. 2010 saw an American remake of the film, starring two talented young actors Kodi Smit-McPhee and ChloŽ Grace Moretz. The film has the same eerie quality, whilst managing to still have strangely heart warming moments.

The remake has a little more gore, and some of the CGI seems a little off at times. It is worth a watch whether you're a fan of the original, or if subtitles aren't your thing. John Ajvide Lindqvist who wrote the book and screen play also said that "having two excellent versions of my debut novel done for the screen feels unreal." So from the author himself, see both films.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was also originally a book, first made into the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, so the line is blurry as to whether this is a remake or an adaption. With the exception of the incredibly dull musical number 'Cheer Up Charlie', the original is a magical film brought to life by Gene Wilder's brilliant portrayal of Willy Wonka, a set that made this fantastical set seem real, and songs like 'the Candyman Can' and 'Pure Imagination'.

Tim Burton's remake is darker, stranger, but still a lot of fun. Roald Dahl hated the original film, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory captures the feel of the text better, in more than just name. The musical numbers aren't as memorable, but it is definitely a remake worth watching. Without Gene Wilder the original would probably have been a complete flop, but the 2005 film is solid from most angles.

Oceans 11
The original film may be remembered by some purely for its cast, five of the Rat Pack including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy David Jr. So there was no surprises when the remake was set starring some of Hollywood's biggest names: George Cloney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts. Obviously a famous cast isn't enough to make sure a movie floats, but in Oceans 11 they deliver.

The ensemble works perfectly together, and the result is a fun film that will keep fans of all genres entertained. If you're looking for a lighthearted carefree film to watch then this should be on your list regardless of whether you've seen the original or not.

The Talented Mr. Ripley
Matt Damon makes his second of three appearances in this list with the Talented Mr. Ripley. Once again, remake/adaption, who cares? The fact is while this is probably more of an adaption, there was still a film around before, so it is included in the list. Plein Soleil (Purple Noon) is the original film, a french adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's text. While the French film is considered a bit of a cult classic, the 1999 version is one that really should be seen.

It is a creepy tale of a con-man who slowly changes his life to become that of someone else. Damon and Jude Law play their parts perfectly, and the whole film managed to keep you on your toes. Damon himself was unhappy with some changes the film made to the original text, but if you view this as a film, not an adaption, then there isn't much you can fault.

The Departed
In a similar vein to Let Me In and The Talented Mr Ripley, The Departed is based on an international film. The popular Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs also has a prequel and sequel, and tells the story of a cop who is undercover in an underground criminal organisation, and one of their members who in turn goes undercover as a police man. It is a high action film and a a great product of Hong Kong cinema.

In 2006 the Departed was released, directed by Martin Scorsese. It has become one of the most commercially successful films of Scorsese's career and is considered one of the best films of 2006. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alex Baldwin. The film is well adapted for American audiences, keeping the general story from the first film and some of the lines, but it stands out as a great film in its own right.

So there you have five remakes that are worth watching, and five originals that you should probably catch to. It just goes to show that every remake isn't as terrible as Gus Van Sant's Psycho or the shocking film adaption of the Avatar television series. While you can still groan when Hollywood announces another classic film is going to be remade, keep in mind it isn't always bad.
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Why? Because not all remakes are bad
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Great suggestions, I do find that generally the remakes fail in recapturing or building upon the original's legacy, but there are the few odd cases. Most of them are listed here, thanks for the tips.
By Alexander Lewandowski - senior reviewer
Wednesday, 19th of October @ 01:13 am
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