There are some really great remakes, among them The Fly, The Thing, The Departed, The Maltese Falcon, Ocean’s Eleven, Some Like It Hot and Cape Fear. And there are some really terrible remakes, basically the majority of them. But there are plenty that are okay, maybe even good, and these tend to fall toward the negative side anyway due to the general thinking about their kind.
I’ll lump the new RoboCop in there. I enjoyed all of what it was doing, idea-wise, ignoring its strange lack of any sense of entertainment value. It’s a good story, maybe not great cinema, and sometimes that’s enough for me to enjoy a sci-fi movie. Especially if it’s commenting — never mind how overtly — on something as contemporarily significant as military drones.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking it’s getting a raw deal from reviewers. Among the top critics listed on Rotten Tomatoes that appear to like it enough to give it a fresh rating are those from the New York Times, New York magazine, Time magazine, Time Out, Entertainment Weekly, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, the Chicago Reader and, from our friend William Goss of Film.com.
We can wait a few more days at least, for the general audience to chime in, to label RoboCop an underrated movie. In the meantime, we can discuss prior examples of remakes that a lot of people dismissed yet some of us liked a lot. To mention a movie I brought up a few days ago in another discussion of remakes, Brewster’s Millions is one of my favorite comedies of the ’80s, regardless of it admitedly being one of the funniest.
As someone with no allegiance to the originals, I also cop to very much liking the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror, particularly because of Ryan Reynolds’s performance, as well as the redo of Fright Night. For the latter it’s about the context of updated relevance, a la RoboCop, as there’s some nice satire of the housing crisis in there.
Others for me include Quick Change, no matter that few people know it’s a remake, and The Blob, which is one I forgot to name the other day as another 1980s movie that needs a fresh new take. Down and Out in Beverly Hills is also pretty underrated. And I know I’m one of the few on Earth who likes the 1976 King Kong, even more than Peter Jackson’s.
I also want to mention two that I’ve noticed have been defended more and more of late: Father of the Bride and You’ve Got Mail. I still don’t think it’s been long enough for me to give the latter a pass, but maybe one day I’ll agree.
Which remakes do you think are underrated?
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