It’s popular nowadays to cry out against sequels, reboots, and remakes. To many, Hollywood is one big giant amorphous blob with one interest and one interest only: Making money. To be fair, that’s mostly true. Hollywood does like making money, and we hate seeing them doing it recycling old ideas, and being all-around lazy.
Plus, given the world of franchises we currently live in, audiences are hungrier than ever (or so they claim) to see some great ideas. But just because a film is a reboot, remake, or sequel doesn’t mean they need to be relegated to the s**tlist of society. Against all odds, some of these movies end up as amazing films in their own right.
If all the positive response from critics is any indication, Blade Runner 2049 is one of those rare films that doesn’t diminish the quality of its predecessor. but it wasn’t the only one!
So let’s take some time to actually celebrate some of those movies!
Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead was the film that, for better or worse, put Zack Snyder on the map. Based on the film of the same name by George Romero, there was no reason to expect that this one would have anything interesting to add to the mythology of the well-worn zombie flick.
However, bolstered by a solid script from James Gunn (yes, THAT James Gunn), and executed by a passionate Zack Snyder, who had a penchant for tense, visually-stunning filmmaking, it managed to be one tense, nail-biting ride. Seriously, just watch the opening scene of that film sometime. There’s enough tension in that scene alone to make someone grind their teeth down to little buds.
The first True Grit film, starring John Wayne, was a classic in its own right. It featured a fantastic performance from the renowned actor, and despite the fact that the remake had the Coen Brothers at the helm, there didn’t seem to be much reason for this movie to get made. What could the film portray that the original couldn’t?
Well, apparently a whole lot of real true grit. As great as Wayne was, Jeff Bridges knocked the role of Rooster Cogburn out of the park with his grittier, grimier take on the character. The more modern sensibilities allowed for the film to be darker, and more violent in nature — all without being exploitative. Plus, the film also served as a brilliant showcase for actress Hailee Steinfeld, who went on to get nominated for an Oscar for her role as Mattie Ross.
Kong: Skull Island
King Kong stands as one of the major Hollywood classics. As such, it is no stranger to remakes and re-imaginings. Hell, back in 2005, it received a lengthy remake, courtesy of Peter Jackson. Kong: Skull Island was not only another remake within 15 years, but it was also one that was set in the MonsterVerse, which also features Godzilla. Given audiences and their growing sick of this approach, it had a lot to overcome.
Luckily, Kong: Skull Island did so with great, violent style. Rather than try to devolve into some self-important narrative, the film embraced its genre status, allowing itself to indulge in the violent tendencies of Kong, with the island serving as a beautiful backdrop for the barely-there story. The film showed off director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ talent at handling visuals, as well as his ability to somehow put a very distinguishable thumbprint on a high profile Hollywood flick.
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