Top 20 Reboots and Remakes That No One Asked For

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Top 20 Reboots and Remakes That No One Asked For

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
In a word, these films were unnecessary. For this list, we'll be looking at the most notable movies who got an unnecessary modern update and/or resurrection that didn't go over well with general audiences. Our countdown includes “The Mummy”, "Psycho", "Hellboy", “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, "RoboCop", and more!
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Top 20 Reboots and Remakes That Nobody Asked For


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 reboots and remakes that nobody asked for.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most notable movies who got an unnecessary modern update and/or resurrection that didn’t go over well with general audiences.

Did you actually enjoy any of these? Have you seen the originals? Let us know in the comments below!

#20: “The Mummy” (2017)


This is actually the fourth iteration of “The Mummy” series, and by 2017, people were tired. It’s like the story itself; Universal went into the tomb, unearthed a dormant franchise, and suffered catastrophic consequences as a result. Of course, the 2017 version couldn’t just be any old project. In the age of the MCU, it seems like every movie needs to be part of some extended universe. “The Mummy” was meant to launch the so-called Dark Universe franchise, but it was such a monumental flop that all plans were canceled. Yet everyone loved Leigh Whannell's “The Invisible Man” so much that more monster flicks are now on the way. We’ll let it slide, as long as “The Mummy” stays respectfully wrapped and buried.

#19: “The Wicker Man” (2006)


One of the most celebrated horror films of the ‘70s, the original “Wicker Man” works on many levels. It contains an enticing mystery, as a police sergeant looks for a missing girl on a secluded island. But it’s also a very religious movie in that it uses paganism and the abandonment of Christianity as a source of unease. This theme worked much better in the more religious culture of 1973 than it did in 2006. The gendered element that was added also didn’t accomplish much. “The Wicker Man” is a movie of its time, and it needed to stay there. Worst of all, the remake doesn’t even work as a good mystery. They should probably put it in the Wicker Man and burn it.

#18: “RoboCop” (2014)


Speaking of movies of their time, this one belongs in the 1980s. Co-writer Michael Miner has called the movie “comic relief for a cynical time,” referencing Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Many view “RoboCop” as a lambasting of his policies and the corporate power that was unleashed under his tenure. But all that aside, the movie is still a great watch now. The gore is grotesque, the action sequences exciting, and the Oscar-winning sound editing packs a punch. The 2014 remake was neutered, lacking the exciting, “I shouldn’t be watching this” nerve of the original. And its satire wasn’t nearly as strong or subversive. It was just another action movie.

#17: “Arthur” (2011)


The original “Arthur” struck upon something in 1981. Maybe its themes resounded at the time. Maybe it was the presence of beloved late English actor Dudley Moore. Maybe it was the sharp and hilarious script from Steve Gordon. Either way, the movie earned critical acclaim and became one of the highest-grossing films of the year. And then there’s the 2011 remake, which is the complete opposite of all that. Its themes were overlooked in favor of traditional romantic comedy trappings. Plus, Russell Brand’s not nearly as popular as Dudley Moore. Simply put, it contained none of the intelligence or bite of the original. Even Brand has acknowledged that it didn’t deliver, reportedly calling it a “mistake”. Well, hopefully others can learn from the error.

#16: “Carrie” (2013)


Sure, maybe “Carrie” is getting a little long in the tooth, but it’s still one of those horror movies you don’t mess with. It’s widely regarded as one of the scariest movies of all time, and the wonderful acting was recognized with two Oscar nominations. The ‘70s was a golden decade for horror, and “Carrie” is a shining product. The 2013 movie, on the other hand, gave us nothing. The script also wasn’t a new or exciting take on the material; it was basically the same movie, only worse. The filmmaking was less unique, the performances weren’t as memorable, and the climactic sequence didn't hit as hard. It was a watered down version of a story worthy of pig blood thickness.

#15: “Ben-Hur” (2016)


At this point, “Ben-Hur” is as historic as its Roman setting. The epic to end all epics, it can’t be touched. An extraordinary amount of work went into the 1959 film at every level, from the sets and costumes to the extras and horses. It also had an astronomical budget. It won an astounding eleven Academy Awards, proving that the time and effort was worth it. In other words, this wasn’t a movie to be remade. But in came the 2016 version, which felt cheap and didn’t pack the emotional or thematic heft of the original. It was too corporate; full of CGI, overly-reliant on action, and streamlined at approximately 125 minutes. We wanted to root for it, but there was no way to.

#14: “Robin Hood” (2018)


If there’s one thing the world doesn’t need, it’s more “Robin Hood” movies. It’s been done what feels like ten thousand times. At this point, we don’t know if there’s any more originality to be spun into the tale. This movie attempted to be inventive with its plot and unique but somewhat inaccurate costume design. Still, it didn’t work. It failed to embrace the theme as much as it could’ve, and the result was another generic popcorn flick. Everyone knows the story of “Robin Hood.” Everyone loves the classics, like Errol Flynn’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and Disney’s cartoon. Making another “Robin Hood” is like stealing from the poor - you shouldn’t do it.

#13: “The Omen” (2006)


This is another shining example of ‘70s horror. A huge success, “The Omen” wowed audiences with its shocking use of gore and terrifying story rooted around the Antichrist. It was creepy and suspenseful, with a hardened and subversive edge. It goes without saying, but scores of people were buying tickets to see it. And like “The Wicker Man,” its religious themes seemed to resonate with ‘70s audiences. In other words, it didn’t need to be revisited. The only fun thing about the 2006 remake was its release date - 6/6/06. Otherwise, it was essentially an identical redo of the original, only its violence was now less shocking and its themes less impactful.

#12: “Swept Away” (2002)


A huge stain on Guy Ritchie’s filmography, the 2002 iteration of “Swept Away” had no redeeming qualities. Barely anyone saw it, and those that did viciously criticized the lead performance given by Madonna. Yes, that Madonna. It’s a horrible movie, and the fact that it’s a remake of a beloved foreign film makes it even worse. An Italian production, the original “Swept Away” isn’t just a romantic comedy. It’s also a movie with rich political themes, as the main characters debate and embody traits of capitalism and communism. The remake drops the thematic depth of the original. Instead, it focuses on the shallow lovey-dovey stuff and hopes that Madonna’s mere presence will allow it to get by. But spoiler alert: it doesn’t.

#11: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003)


When will we learn to stop remaking ‘70s horror flicks? While not a terrible film, this 2003 version is not only entirely pointless, but it also goes against the core essence of the original film. If this movie’s goal was to get butts in seats, well, it did that. Considering the budget of approximately $9.5 million, that’s certainly an accomplishment. But as a result, it lost the griminess and visceral atmosphere of the original. Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film is a landmark in horror cinema, and to this day it looks and feels like something you shouldn’t be watching. It’s intensely uneasy, and remains one of the scariest films ever made. The remake simply doesn’t hold a candle to it.

#10: “Point Break” (2015)


Admit it, you forgot this remake even exists. The original “Point Break” is far more than its extreme sports. Kathryn Bigelow is a great director, after all. There are the complex character interactions, especially between Bodhi and Johnny. There’s the unique ‘90s charm and beautiful setting. And of course, there’s the sparkling dynamic between Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. It’s a ‘90s cult classic, and nobody was demanding a remake. Warner Bros. released one anyway in 2015, and it was nothing more than a glorified – but well-shot – stunt compilation. Gone were the interesting character dynamics and absorbing acting, replaced by bland characters and actors with no chemistry to speak of. It misunderstood what makes the original endlessly endearing, and failed to impress.

#9: “Oldboy” (2013)


Widely considered one of the worst movies of Spike Lee’s career, it was obvious that no one was clamoring for an American “Oldboy.” This is essentially the exact same movie as the Korean original, only in English and starring prominent actors like Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen. But it didn’t really seem different or new. Why remake a movie if you’re not going to make it feel fresh? Doesn’t that betray the purpose? Not only that, but the American “Oldboy” did everything worse, like it was diluting the visceral madness of the original. According to the Los Angeles Times, Lee’s original cut was far longer. Who knows if that version would’ve been worth seeing. But the finished product we got has no reason for being.

#8: “Red Dawn” (2012)


Very few movies reflect their historical moment quite like “Red Dawn” did in 1984. The first PG-13 movie to hit theaters, it tells the tale of Jed and many high school students battling invading forces of the Soviet Union. It’s one of the ultimate Cold War movies, released at a time when tensions were still high. The 2012 remake seemingly foresees the trouble of transplanting a Cold War story into the 21st century, changing the invaders to North Korea. But still, it falls flat. Not only does North Korea seem like less of an immediate threat, but the plot is full of gaping holes. No one asked for this, and pretty much no one liked it.

#7: “Total Recall” (2012)


Like “Point Break,” the 2012 “Total Recall” remake took the wrong lessons from the iconic 1990 original. That movie was far more than Arnold Schwarzenegger and some fun action sequences. It featured a unique Martian setting and wonderful production design. The Oscar-winning practical effects were top-notch, too. Plus, the razor-sharp screenplay contained an intricate story and interesting themes. In other words, it’s a sci-fi treasure. The 2012 version lost all the edge and intelligence of the original, becoming another bland sci-fi action blockbuster in the process. The original is beloved to this day, and the remake has long been forgotten, which tells you everything you need to know.

#6: “Footloose” (2011)


Unlike many remakes or reboots, the 2011 “Footloose” film was actually relatively well-received. Many praised the movie’s sense of energy and its smart screenplay, which stayed true to the story while also making it work for 21st century audiences. This is what a remake should do. But with that said, it was still a fully unnecessary undertaking. The original movie is in a class of its own, and remains fun to this day. Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” is an unbeatable track, and Kevin Bacon makes for a timeless leading man. And despite some fun new ideas, the remake doesn’t make a good argument for its own existence. After all, why would anyone watch the 2011 “Footloose” when the 1984 one exists?

#5: “Poltergeist” (2015)


This is another one of those remakes you look at and think, “oh yeah, that happened.” The 1982 flick is an undeniable horror must-watch. Featuring strong names behind it like director Tobe Hooper and co-writer Steven Spielberg, “Poltergeist” was a hit both critically and commercially. The movie was both smart and wickedly terrifying, with many of its scenes becoming ingrained within pop culture, including Carol Anne’s fantastically eerie [SB:“theeey’re here.”] The remake, however, is a basic jump scare fest that lacks both the intelligence and charm that Spielberg’s writing brought to the original. Furthermore, it was largely the same film, so unfavorable comparisons to the iconic original couldn’t help but be made.

#4: “Hellboy” (2019)


The problem with rebooting Guillermo del Toro is that no other filmmaker is like Guillermo del Toro. The famous Mexican director imbued the original “Hellboy” with his typical imaginative touch, and it featured absolutely stellar costumes and production design. Ron Perlman also did a great job portraying the title character, and the script was packed with clever moments. Most people who saw it tended to love it. And it should’ve been left alone - especially because del Toro’s technical craft is so timeless. Somehow, everything looks worse in the 2019 reboot. It appears cheaper, less polished, more digital, and far less intimate. This was a reboot that seemed like it was designed by committee, and it failed in spectacular fashion.

#3: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (2010)


A Freddy Krueger movie doesn’t make sense without the involvement of actor Robert Englund. Englund is Krueger, and try as he might, Jackie Earle Haley doesn’t measure up. Unlike many other slashers, the 1984 “A Nightmare on Elm Street” stands the test of time. It’s incredibly frightening, Englund is fantastic as Krueger, and the movie’s gory effects have the power to astound – and disgust. It’s every bit as effective today as it was back then. The 2010 movie was not only useless, but it was also largely unwanted. Those who were excited likely realized they shouldn’t have been. Unsurprisingly, it was a huge disappointment, failing to measure up to its iconic predecessor in virtually every capacity.

#2: “Planet of the Apes” (2001)


This remake saw the light of day over three decades after the original was released, but if you ask us, that wasn’t enough time. “Planet of the Apes” is an all-time classic. Like “Ben-Hur,” it’s one of those golden movies that shouldn’t be touched. Everything about it is iconic - especially its twist ending involving a half-buried Statue of Liberty. Tim Burton certainly tried, and while his remake was a visual delight, it couldn’t measure up in the least. Perhaps the worst part was the new twist ending, which didn’t make a lick of sense or carry the emotional gut-punch of the awe-inspiring original. You know what they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

#1: “Psycho” (1998)


There were so many reasons not to go near “Psycho.” And despite all of them, Universal Pictures and Gus Van Sant decided to make what was predominantly a shot-for-shot remake. And it was a flabbergastingly bad decision. For one thing, the story lost all of its shock factor because everyone already knew the famous twists; Marion’s death doesn’t hit nearly as hard when we see it coming. Plus, Vince Vaughn was an astoundingly odd choice for Norman Bates. And Van Sant’s direction paled in comparison to Hitchcock’s. If anything, “Psycho” proves that even with a nearly identical script and shot composition, one director can work circles around another. It certainly gives one an appreciation for the talent that goes into making a great movie.
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