Rank and File finds us sorting through an exhaustive, comprehensive body of work or collection of pop-culture artifacts. This time, we go down through the years and handpick the movie remakes that actually got it right.
Thirty years ago this month, David Cronenberg’s bleak reimagining of The Fly hit theaters and set a gold standard for what the movie remake can be. After all, it seems that these days more and more people are becoming exhausted with remakes. They’re endless. They’re for movies that hardly require it (‘sup, Robocop). They try to reinterpret films so iconic that it seems like a fool’s errand from the jump to even try. And yet, there’s a thirst for them; movies are all about the economics as much as the art, and if audiences didn’t come, Hollywood wouldn’t build it.
Although it’s easy to run through the litany of poorly executed remakes, recently and throughout the past few decades as the practice has become more and more common, we decided that if The Fly is worth celebrating, then certainly there have been other remakes that matched, reinterpreted, or even exceeded the success of their predecessors. And so we took on the task of finding one worthwhile remake from each of the past 30 years since The Fly hit theaters.
Some are of substantial quality. Some, we took a liberal approach to the interpretation of “quality.” At least one prominently involves Nicolas Cage in a leather jacket. But these are all films that managed to overcome, to one degree or another, the stigma of having come from well-regarded or beloved source material. That’s no easy feat. Some you may debate. But all brought something to the table, and none are that second stab at Point Break. And that might be the most important truth of them all.