Best and worst movie remakes: Our critic's picks
How have movie do-overs fared at the box office over the years? Here's a list of the best and worst remakes of the new millennium.
BEST: CINDERELLA (2015)(Credit: Disney / Jonathan Olley)
Disney went out on a limb when it turned its animated classic from 1950 into a live-action film starring Lily Collins in the title role. The surprising result was a gorgeous-looking romance (directed by Kenneth Branagh) filled with extravagant costumes, up-to-date special effects and a delectably wicked Cate Blanchett as the stepmother. Disney's other live-action remakes, "The Jungle Book" and "Pete's Dragon," have been pretty good, too.
BEST: THE GREAT GATSBY (2013)(Credit: AP)
Baz Luhrmann raised eyebrows when he began adapting F. Scott Fitzgerald's notoriously screen-resistant novel about wealth and misery on Long Island. Compared to the preachy 1949 and stuffy 1974 film versions, Luhrmann's take was wildly untraditional, featuring a hip-hop soundtrack and rave-style visuals. Though it often overreached, it gave us a terrific Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby -- the first actor to truly capture Fitzergald's elusive, enigmatic hero.
BEST: PIRANHA 3-D (2010)
In the wake of "Jaws," a couple of unknown talents -- director Joe Dante and screenwriter John Sayles -- made "Piranha," a 1978 horror flick that both mimicked and spoofed the Steven Spielberg film. The 2010 remake kept the original gonzo spirit, took the splatter much further and proudly stooped to some very low 3-D humor. Jerry O'Connell steals the show as a softcore porn entrepreneur, and Ving Rhames later made a video of himself accepting an Oscar -- ah, if only! -- for his performance as a mad-as-hell sheriff.
BEST: OCEAN'S 11 (2001)(Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)
The 1960 Rat Pack movie was a threadbare heist flick, an excuse for Frank, Dean and Sammy to stand around looking debonair. That aura of superficial cool, however, translated perfectly to the Aughts. Thanks to an updated cast of glamour-pusses -- George, Matt and Brad -- and sleek direction from Steven Soderbergh, the new version launched a successful franchise. Somehow, the movies also work as self-satire: Hip, vacuous, well-crafted fun.
BEST: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011)(Credit: AP)
More a reboot than a remake, this hard-hitting, high-energy movie was one of the year's best surprises. That was partly due to motion-capture maestro Andy Serkis as the frighteningly intelligent chimp Caesar, plus a deft James Franco as Caesar's "creator." But Rupert Wyatt's slam-bang direction also deserves credit. A white-knuckle ride from start to finish, "Rise" reinvigorated the long-dormant "Apes" franchise like a potent serum.
BEST: WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005)(Credit: AP)
Byron Haskin's 1953 adaptation of the H.G. Wells story -- about an Earth invaded by aliens -- resonated so deeply with Cold War America that it helped define the entire era. Movies don't get much more iconic. A half-century later, however, Steven Spielberg reworked the material to address our collective shell-shock from 9/11. It worked brilliantly, both as an overall metaphor (Tom Cruise plays a carefree slacker suddenly fighting to protect his family) and as a way to tackle tough topics such as the call to war. It's the rare remake that felt not just timely but necessary.
WORST: THE MECHANIC (2011)(Credit: CBS Films)
Few films captured the sour aftertaste of the 1960s as well as this downbeat thriller from 1972. It was Charles Bronson's weirdest role -- a cultured, soulless hitman -- and Jan-Michael Vincent was perfectly cast as his pretty-boy protogee. In 2011, it became a flashy throwaway aimed at bored teens. Jason Statham and Ben Foster, both talented, have rarely been so badly wasted.
WORST: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)(Credit: Sony Pictures)
Was it a re-boot, a re-launch, a spin-off, or what? Despite all the fancy terms the studio came up with, it was just a re-make of the 1984 classic. The all-female cast -- including Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon -- couldn't replace the likes of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, while the screenwriters barely even tried to think up new jokes. For all the hype, this movie deflated faster than a machine-gunned Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
WORST: PLANET OF THE APES (2001)(Credit: 20th Century Fox)
More than a decade ago, the visually inventive Tim Burton seemed like the right man to take up the "Apes" mantle. So what went wrong? Perhaps Burton took the job too seriously. His version went for impressive special effects but lacked the wit and charm of the original, while leading man Mark Wahlberg -- then a still-emerging actor -- seemed too intent on showing "intensity." The result: a movie about talking apes that somehow wasn't any fun.
WORST: CARRIE (2013)(Credit: Sony Pictures)
In terms of horror movies, remaking Brian DePalma's "Carrie" (1976) seems a bit like remaking Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane." Why update a classic whose power remains undimmed? Director Kimberly Peirce ("Boys Don't Cry") offered no convincing answer with her version of "Carrie." The cast was new (a serviceable Chloë Grace Moretz instead of Sissy Spacek), and the script nodded to cyberbullying, but otherwise the movie was a rehash that lacked DePalma's eye-popping visuals. The original's split-screen prom sequence -- one of horror cinema's "Rosebud" moments -- became a single-screen dud.
WORST: GET CARTER (2000)(Credit: AP)
After the ultrahip 1990s, an aging Sylvester Stallone tried to go retro by looking back to the cult classic "Get Carter" (1971). It was a smart choice -- a gritty crime flick with Michael Caine in one of his coolest, funniest, nastiest turns. Nihilist chic, however, was never exactly Sly's style, and his remake became another piece of loud Hollywood nonsense. About all that remained of the original were some natty suits and a meta-cameo by Caine. The movie bombed, earning $14.9 million.
WORST: ARTHUR (2011)(Credit: Warner Bros.)
Russell Brand seemed like the perfect choice to replace Dudley Moore as an alcoholic millionaire playboy, and Greta Gerwig was an inspired choice to replace Liza Minelli as the low-born love-interest. So what happened? Brand came off as a charmless attention-hog, while Gerwig basically disappeared into the background. Not even Helen Mirren, stepping into the shoes of John Gielgud as the butler Hobson, could save it. Better to re-watch the 1981 original, one of the best comedies of its decade.
WORST: CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)(Credit: AP)
For fans of camp cinema, there were so many reasons to love the 1981 original: a wooden Harry Hamlin as Perseus, several slumming UK stars (Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith) and the charmingly dated creature-effects by Ray Harryhausen. Though a total howler, the movie became a $41 million hit, which explains why Hollywood decided to make it again. This time, we got a wooden Sam Worthington, more slumming UK stars (Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson) and some of the worst 3-D effects since the days of red-and-blue glasses. Nevertheless, "Titans" earned an impressive $493 million worldwide.