Remakes and reboots are two very different things: the former take the same story and the same characters to make a completely new movie from scratch whereas the latter take inspiration from the original story and use it to create a similar universe with the same main character but often other supporting characters. It is the case with the James Bond movies for example, when the main actor changes, as well as in Spider-Man and other superhero movies.
Let’s begin with remakes from the past few years and their strong points.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the remake of a movie of the same name released in 1947 and inspired from a short story by James Thurber. It was very well received by critics and the general public because of its humanity and the excellent performance of Ben Stiller when personifying the natural transformation of a boring man into a person living adventures each one more fascinating than the last.
Ocean’s Eleven is the remake of a movie of the same name released in 1960. The making of this movie turned out so well that most people don’t even know that this movie is a remake, partly because of the exceptional cast. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, among others, perfectly capture the characters’ spirit and manage to make us tremble during 116 minutes with unexpected developments and surprises.
House of Cards is an American series adapted from a British mini-series dating back to the 90s and wonderfully adapted by Beau Willimon. This series also was the first Netflix’s original series and has been a worldwide success. Kevin Spacey’s performance is simply majestic: he doesn’t resemble the old-fashioned and boring politicians that we often see in this kind of series. Every action he takes and every sentence he says is an opportunity to identify with him and each episode makes us want to immediately see what happens next.
Initially, Shameless was a British series created in 2004 by Paul Abbott, who took his inspiration from his own life to realize it. Since 2011 the American remake broadcast on Showtime tells the story of a family of six children living with their alcoholic father, who also occasionally does drugs, and their mother, who abandoned them several years ago. The series relates in detail the hardships that this family has to face to manage to survive in such an unstable situation and broaches thorny subjects like alcoholism, drugs, poverty or even homosexuality, that are portrayed by characters that are never all black or all white, without any distinction or perfect character.
Now, let’s get into the reboots, which mostly include superhero movies and other series adapted from comics and imaginary characters.
The disappointing movie released in 1995 starring Silvester Stallone as Dredd and the making that was not as good as expected led us to the conclusion that this hero would be banned from the big screen. In 2012 however, Pete Travis decided to take over the famous judge and to change the story and the cast in order to give him a second life. He thus successfully gave a second wind to this hero with a gripping and explosive action movie which is anything but boring.
Christopher Nolan’s era dramatically changed Batman. After years of nearly funny movies directed by Schumacher, a ridiculous Robin and a nomination at the 18th Razzie Awards as one of the worst superhero movies of all times, Nolan had to change the hero and start from scratch again. Consequently, he imagined a much darker and deeper atmosphere and chose actors like Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, who perfectly fit in it. This movie announced the return of Batman as a dark hero.
Mad Max is a special case in this list: this movie is at the same time a reboot because of the new cast and the twenty years that passed between the 3rd and the 4th movies, but it also is a sequel of the original story since it takes place in the same universe. Despite that, it deserved a place in this list as a congratulation to George Miller for having managed to please both the old and the new fans. The spirit of the first Mad Max movies and the post-apocalyptic world in which they take place is well represented and car, truck, motorcycle and all other types of vehicles races are truly breathtaking! Since this movie just came out, I won’t say more and, even though the story remains a bit simple, this movie is not to be missed.
According to many fans, in 2003 Ben Affleck ruined this hero with his relatively… personal adaptation. I am trying not to be nasty before seeing if he also ruins Batman or if he definitely should avoid playing super heroes. Netflix managed to resuscitate Daredevil with a complete reboot by Matt Murdock and the adaptation of this movie in a series taking place at the very beginning of the story, as the main character just graduated from law school. The fact that the main character is not depicted as a hero after 20 seconds demonstrates the great deal of talent of the director in this adaptation, considered like one of the main series in 2015, which shows the rational and human traits of the blind lawyer whose only wish is to protect his beloved city and the weak from unfair oppression.