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Old Movies and Their Remakes: Which Is Better?

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Poppy is the author of "A Bard's Lament" and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima, Japan, with her husband and young son.

Many movies have been remade to fit modern times. But sometimes the remake is not always better.

Many movies have been remade to fit modern times. But sometimes the remake is not always better.

Remake Vs. Original

With the introduction of incredible special effects and camera quality in the past several years, many old movie classics have been remade, with new directors, new scripts and new actors. Sometimes these are met with glowing reviews and positive feedback, and sometimes they're met with disdain for 'ruining' a perfectly good movie. Some classics such as the Wizard of Oz have just been left alone completely for this exact reason.

A lot of the time, a movie remake is met with a mixture of reviews, and arguments over which version is better. This article takes a look at some movie remakes with 'mixed' reviews and gives you the change to share your opinion about them.

1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl's popular novel about a poor boy who wins a golden ticket to see a world-famous chocolate factory was first released in theatres in 1971, starring Gene Wilder and Jack Albertson. The new version was directed by Tim Burton and starred Johnny Depp and Freddie Highmore.

The remake is still fairly new, so people any older than a teenager will probably remember watching the 1971 version of Willy Wonka as a child. There are many good and bad points of both movies.


Let's look at the original version:

  • The Umpa-Lumpa song was brilliant, and most people can recognise it. However, the little creatures themselves were a little creepy.
  • Veruca Salt wants a goose that lays golden eggs, instead of a squirrel like in the book. However, this is to do with the fact that the film was made in the sixties; if they could have used squirrels, I'm sure they would have.
  • The boat ride in the chocolate tunnel was scary and a little random.

And a look at the 2005 version:

  • Willy Wonka was extremely weird and a little creepy. I much preferred him when he was the smiling and slightly sarcastic Gene Wilder.
  • Tim Burton always has to add quirkiness to a movie - which this version didn't really need.
  • This movie actually used songs from the book, which was great.
  • The Umpa-Lumpas looked much better.
  • Burton added some backstory for Wonka and also the Umpa-Lumpas - it was a great addition. Whether Roald Dahl is turning in his grave or not, it's hard to say.

What about you? Which version do you prefer?

2. The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera has been made into a movie several times. This article examines the 1986 version and the 2004 version.

The 1986 movie of the Phantom of the Opera was more of a filmed musical than a movie. It stars Sarah Brightman, and Andrew Lloyd Webber composed the music. The 2004 version stars American actress Emmy Rossum and Scottish actor Gerard Butler. Both movies use the same songs written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who was also involved in the production of both movies.

The original part of "Christine" was played by Sarah Brightman, a fantastic opera singer who Webber later married. Many have said that Rossum didn't live up to Brightman's voice, and that Gerard Butler didn't do a great job singing as the Phantom.

I happen to disagree. Butler didn't sing before the production of POTO - not at opera standard, anyway. Taking that into consideration, he did a great job.

The new movie was arguably "Hollywood-ified" - special effects, emphasis on physical beauty - but... it worked. To date, the Phantom of the Opera is one of my all-time favourite movies.

Do you agree? Which Phantom of the Opera version do you prefer?

3. The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid was met with hugely positive reception when it was released in 1984, starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. it's a classic tale of a bullied boy who learns the ins and outs of karate - not just the fighting side of it, but the mental aspect too.

It was remade in 2010 starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, and on average has a lower score of popularity. A strange thing about the remake is that Jackie Chan is actually Chinese, not Japanese like in the original - and he teaches Smith Kung Fu, not Karate. However, I think it was the concept that they were remaking, not everything to the exact detail.

Which version of the Karate Kid do you prefer?

4. Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday tells the story of a teenage girl and her mother who swap bodies, learning about each other's lives, responsibilities, and realise they don't know everything about each other like they thought.

The original 1976 movie stars Jodie Foster and was based off the novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers. The remake was released in 2003 and stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. The new version was changed round a bit - Anna (Lohan)'s band was a rock band, not a brass band like in the original.

I must say I'm a sucker for the new version - it was one of my favourite movies as a teenager and one that I could watch again and again. Which version do you like best?

5. Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes was first released in theatres in 1968, directed by Franklin Schaffner and starring Charlton Heston. and was based off the French novel written in 1963. An astronaut crew crash-land on a planet where apes rule the world and humans are mute slaves. The remake was another Tim Burton movie released in 2001 starring Mark Wahlberg.

Both these movies are great and unique in their own ways. I'll leave the decision to you - which do you like more?

6. The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap is a family comedy about an American girl and an English girl who meet at a summer camp, and find out that they're actually twins. They decide to swap places to meet their other parents by mastering each other's accents and mannerisms. They hope to get their parents back together somehow. When they find out that their father is engaged to a frightful woman who's just after his money, however, they hatch a plan.

Both versions of this movie are brilliant. The original was released in 1961 and the remake in 1998 starring Lindsay Lohan. Both are very close together in terms of storyline (as special effects aren't a necessity in this movie). Which Parent Trapmovie do you prefer?

Some movie remakes are a great idea because we can enjoy the same story again with modern graphics and special effects. Sometimes they're received with enthusiasm and other times, fans are left disappointed. Perhaps, in the future, we'll see more old movies remade with new actors and get to make a decision on whether it was worth it or not!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2014 Poppy


Carol Morris on May 24, 2016:

And there is the new Annie, which I really like more than the original.

Colin Garrow from Inverbervie, Scotland on June 18, 2015:

I think that most remakes just aren't as good as the original versions. Hollywood's laziness at simply doing a new version of a movie that was successful is typical of money-grabbing producers. Movies should be made because the remake will say something new about the characters, script etc, or contribute something relevant to arts/culture, not just to make money. Anyway, rant over, voted up.