July 29 marks the return of Rusty Griswold in the “sequel” or “reboot” of one of the funniest films ever made, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983). With so many remakes these days, it made me wonder if a film this classic should be remade? After seeing the recent releases of Godzilla and Poltergeist, my initial thought was absolutely not. But, after giving it some thought, there have been many remakes that I have thoroughly enjoyed and actually thought were an improvement on the original. So maybe there is some hope for Vacation (2015). Here are my top 5 movie remakes that worked!
The Birdcage (1996)
A remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Those two names alone should justify this as a must see, but add in the fact you get to see Gene Hackman in drag makes this a classic remake.
The War of the Worlds (2005)
Steven Spielberg adds some much-needed tension and even horror that was lacking in the 1953 original. Although I can’t imagine what it would have been like to listen to the original radio show playing out as a newscast, this film delivers.
King Kong (2005)
The original King Kong 1933 is one of the classics in movie history. The original was ground breaking in so many ways and made huge advancements in the world of special effects. Peter Jackson offers a very honorable remake with new special effects, yet stays true to the original film (unlike the remake in 1977).
True Grit (2010)
John Wayne won his Best Actor Oscar for True Grit in 1969. Not to be upstaged, Jeff Bridges gives just as good of a performance, if not better. Hailee Steinfeld also gives a performance that should be applauded. This updated classic by the Coen brothers is a much better representation of the book than the original.
Oceans Eleven (2001)
The 1960 original starred the Rat Pack, which makes it a classic, but Steven Soderbergh takes a very basic bank robbery and turns it into a smart and witty caper, with plenty of twists and a mind-blowing ending. One of the best remakes around that far surpasses the original.