Revamped Brilliance: 20 Remakes That Surpass the Original in Every Way

freaky friday

Even the most daring creatives often admit how daunting the process can be when remaking a movie. Especially when the original is so beloved, it becomes a painstaking task to ensure fans and new viewers enjoy themselves. There are many remakes out there that fall very short of their source material, but why focus on the negative when we can take a look at remakes that outshine the original in practically every way?

1. Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale Daniel Craig, Eva Green
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., Columbia Pictures, and Eon Productions.

Making his first appearance as James Bond, Daniel Craig wowed viewers and critics with his iconic performance in 2006's Casino Royale. Craig added his unique energy to this famous role, bringing the franchise back into the spotlight. Critics and viewers alike agreed this was the dawn of a new era for 007. 

2. Heat (1995)

Heat Ashley Judd, Val Kilmer
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Featuring a star-studded cast alongside Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, Heat brought a once-beloved story back onto the silver screen. Paired with a flashy budget and modernized visuals, there was no doubt this film would become a box office success yet again. The flick went on to only be beat by Jumanji and Toy Story in the box office.

3. Dune (2021)

Dune, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Securing a spot as one of the most visually stunning films of all time by critics and viewers alike, the 2021 spin on the science fiction novel Dune from Denis Villeneuve boasts an incredible cast alongside awe-inspiring costume design, practical effects, and CGI. These qualities combined with the positive reception shattered the expectations left after the David Lynch original in 1984.

4. It (2017)

It Bill Skarsgård
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

The 2017 It remake was incredibly daring, given that most casual horror enthusiasts unanimously adore the original miniseries and classic book by Stephen King. Bill Skarsgård, the actor portraying Pennywise, utilized authentic tricks such as rolling his eyes back and pursing his lips in the clown's signature smile, keeping the cast on their toes even while the film wasn't rolling. was Staying true to the use of practical effects and SFX makeup, Andy Muschietti shifted focus to the beloved Losers Club. This favored adaptation allowed viewers to connect emotionally with the horror story's characters. 

5. The Mummy (1999)

The Mummy Rachel Weisz
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Featuring fresh faces and complex visuals, the 1999 remake of The Mummy allowed Brendan Fraser to become a household name and an A-list celebrity mainstay. The chemistry between lead Fraser and Rachel Weisz was the peak of 90's silver screen romance and allowed moviegoers to experience a multitude of emotions, from thrill to chill. 

6. War of the Worlds (2005)

War of the Worlds Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Steven Spielberg's daring adaptation of the 1953 original War of the Worlds blended science fiction and horror for big-screen thrills. While the original is well-loved and received high critical acclaim, Spielberg was able to elevate the intense horror of the alien attacks using modern technology, elevating the love of the original story to new heights. Wowing casual moviegoers and consistent thrill-seekers alike, Tom Cruise and young Dakota Fanning brought fans to their feet with their incredible father-daughter chemistry. 

7. True Grit (2010)

True Grit Jeff Bridges Matt Damon Hailee Steinfeld
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Remaking an iconic film like the original True Grit from 1969, this remade western still captured audiences in 2010. The star-studded cast featuring Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges kept audiences hypnotized, while the film showcased Hollywood newcomer Hailee Steinfeld. Steinfeld received multiple award nominations at the young age of 13. This adaptation went on to receive multiple Academy Award nominations including Best Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.

8. Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Ocean's Eleven Brad Pitt, George Clooney
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

The 2001 rendition of Ocean's 11 solidified George Clooney as a permanent Hollywood fixture – which is especially impressive, considering Clooney followed the timeless Frank Sinatra's performance of the same name in the 60's. Fans often praise this remake for the more likable and approachable spin on the heist team.  

9. The Thing (1982)

The Thing
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Secured as an example of how magical practical effects can be, the 1982 remake of The Thing shocked horror audiences throughout its theatrical release. However, despite the shocking nature of the movie, the theatrical release was not well received by critics and audiences. From the unfathomable body horror, unique set and sound design, and the incredible performance of lead actor Kurt Russell, the horror film went on to be received positively reaching “cult classic” status only after many years on the shelf. 

10. A Star Is Born (2018)

A Star is Born Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Following multiple successful film adaptations, Bradley Cooper and Grammy-award-winning musician Lady Gaga captured audiences in their heartbreaking spin on A Star Is Born in 2018. Driven by graphic imagery and darker representations of already tough topics, the flick featured unfounded chemistry between the two leads. This was the first silver screen role for Stefani Germanotta, best known as Lady Gaga, and allowed audiences to see her in a new light. The famous duo also received musical award nominations for their movie-titled album and singles, consistently on the radio following theatrical release. Gaga has since been cast as a lead in several feature films, such as House of Gucci (2021) and the upcoming Joker sequel Joker: Folie à Deux.

11. Hamlet (1996)

Hamlet Kenneth Branagh, Kate Winslet
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Kate Winslet and Kenneth Branagh won over audiences effortlessly in this incredible spin on Hamlet in 1996. The costume design for this timeless flick, paired with stunning and elegant visuals, kept the flame for this timeless tale alive. The Laurence Olivier version was commonly considered the definitive cinematic representation of the story, however as time passed, critics and audiences clamored that Branagh was more successfully able to shift focus onto supporting characters and allowed the film to feature previously omitted aspects of the story. 

12. West Side Story (2021)

West Side Story Rachel Zegler
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Staying true to themes and notes in the original story, the 2021 remake of West Side Story by Steven Spielberg modernized the age-old story we once knew and loved. Lead actress and Hollywood newcomer Rachel Zegler is the first actor of Colombian heritage to win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical. This has made room for more truthful portrayals by supporting diversity.

13. His Girl Friday (1940)

His Girl Friday Rosalind Russel
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Starring Rosalind Russell as Hildy and Cary Grant as Walter Burns, this gender-flipped remake of His Girl Friday establishes itself as one of the most recognizable and timeless romantic comedies. Keeping things unique, daring, and fresh, this film perfectly represents how to alter and still show homage to an original. 

14. Little Women (2019)

Little Women Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Boasting massive success amongst critics and reviewers, Greta Gerwig's Little Women features a unique approach to recognizable (and somewhat dislikable) characters. Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan, and Emma Watson headline this daring late-2010 remake.

15. Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)

Cheaper by the Dozen Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt
Image Credit: Disney+.

Following the success and fame of the original by the same name, Shawn Levy secured a franchise with the success of Cheaper by the Dozen. This beloved film franchise starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt became a beloved family film series throughout the 2000s and beyond. The chemistry between the rather large cast really sold the concept of the large modern family.

16. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

secret life walter mitty
Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Shining a new light on a tale initially brought to us in 1947, Ben Stiller put a creative and modern-day spin on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Utilizing practical and CGI effects as well as on-screen chemistry alongside actor Adam Scott, Stiller successfully represented daydreams and their magic for the silver screen, allowing viewers to be captivated and explore the potential of their own daydreams through his on-screen portrayal. Although the time frame differs, the stories are surprisingly similar in vision and heart.

17. The Parent Trap (1998)

The Parent Trap Lindsey Lohan
Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Despite being a remake, Nancy Meyer's The Parent Trap became an instant classic starring Lindsay Lohan in her first film role as both Annie and Hallie, two separated-at-birth twins. Her strong performance at such a young age was well-received by families, leading the flick to become a common watch in everyday households. 

18. Freaky Friday (2003)

freaky friday
Image Credit: Walt Disney Productions

Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan became a 2000s staple in Freaky Friday, following a story amongst a mother-daughter duo who switch bodies during pivotal moments in their life. Their relatable struggles as family members and on-screen solid chemistry were favored by modern viewers, bringing the film unprecedented box office success. This was Lohan's second silver screen appearance, after starring as a set of twins in The Parent Trap (1998).

19. The Great Gatsby (2013)

the great gatsby
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Picture.

Most film enthusiasts and critics alike can no longer think of The Great Gatsby without recalling Leonardo Dicaprio's incredible performance in 2013, brought to us at the hands of Baz Luhrmann. Despite having previously seen many adaptations of the story, Hollywood had not been successfully moved by any previous attempts. Paired alongside co-star Carey Mulligan, the duo wowed audiences with jaw-dropping, Oscar-worthy performances.

20. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

The Hills Have Eyes, Vinessa Shaw, Aaron Stanford
Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Horror film franchise reboots rarely see critical success. However, The Hills Have Eyes changed that in 2006. The remake of the 1977 original featured incomparable body horror, shocking visuals, intense frights, and touchy topics. The film's success pushed producers and filmmakers into investing in a sequel, which was released in 2007 to very negative reviews and nearly half the original film's box office total gross

Author: Stacy Syphax

Title: Social Media Manager