Top 10 Remakes of 21st Century, Ranked from Good to Best

A Remake or a Reboot is usually frowned upon by Film Critics. They are considered banal, less-risky and lucrative. Production houses invest significant amount, as it generates hugh hype among the audience. Originality is compromised, yet we get to fathom some hit Classics in present visual effects and cinematography. Many consider it a trivial task, but after a close look, your opinion may differ. To recreate a movie may be simple, but to obtain the same success is difficile. This list regards the movies, that surpassed their predecessor in critical and commercial aspects. Some of the Greatest Auteur of our generations have made prolific Remakes, including Christopher Nolan, Coen Brothers, Steven Soderberg and Matt Reeves. Surprisingly, Martin Scorsese is in the list, his only remake, and results are as usual.

10) Dredd(2012)

This one here is a remake of a recent movie. Dredd in 1995 was the face of Rocky Balboa a.k.a Sylvester Stallion. Critically panned but commercial hit, Dredd, both original and remake are based on the Comic character Joseph Dredd. A Law enforcement officer, called ‘Judge’ in the dystopian city called Mega-City One. The 2012 adaptation stars Karl Urban as the titular character. The film shows the city Mega-City One with its Judge Dredd(Urban), a unprejudiced, agile officer to restraint city’s crime. Meanwhile, another trainee is allotted to Dredd as his apprentice. They both now take down the Drug Lord and her residence. Karl Urban, performed his entire role carrying a helmet. Nevertheless, he did a fantastic job as Dredd. Critics praised the Visual Effects and grim nature with violence executed meticulously. Critical and Commercial success of the movie spawned  a sequel, which however is under suspicion, to the 2012 hit.

9) 3:10 to Yuma(2007)

James Mangold, a name in the news, as he directed the last Wolverine movie starring Hugh Jackman. In 2007, he directed a Western flick with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. The plot follows a one-legged deprived ranch owner Dan Evans(Bale), who decides to escort a dangerous outlaw Ben Wade(Crowe) to a train for Yuma Territorial Prison. One of the most brilliant fragment of the movie is its ending. Perhaps Dan and Ben had congenial moral values, towards honor and respect.

Exceptional performance from the actor-duo, and sharp direction by Mangold enhanced the Wild-west attributes. Critical success lined up after the release, followed by moderate commercial acclaim. Another Western Movie to make a place in the list of ‘Best Sequels of this Century’. The other being ‘True Grit’. 

8) Ocean’s Eleven(2001)

When Steven Soderberg capped this comical heist, he already proved his mettle with Erin Brockovich and Traffic in 2000. The later also made the list. A star studded cast with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. Ocean’s 11 comprised of good performances and hilarious moment, while Eleven men take on the biggest theft in the history of Las Vegas. Ocean’s 11(1960) had The Rat Pack leading the burglary. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop assemble with Danny Ocean(Frank Sinatra) to complete their theft. However, in 2001, Danny(Clooney) and team perform robbery as magicians perform magic. The antagonist Terry Benedict(Andy Garcia), a ruthless businessman, who has personal history with Danny is revealed later in the film.

Soderberg’s version received critical as well as commercial acclaim. The immense reaction spawned two other sequels: Ocean’s 12(2004) Ocean’s 13(2007). A spin-off is set to be released in 2018, with an all female cast Ocean’s Eight. Nevertheless, the comical timing, sync among the cast and meticulous acts of bluff tangle the audiences for 3 hours. Background score in all the three films highly compliments the theme and storyline. One of the best heist movie, Ocean’s 11 proved the versatility of Steven Soderberg.

7) Let Me In(2010)

Matt Reeves is one of the most busiest property in the business right now. With War of the Planet of the Apes, is set to release in 2017 and WB announcing him as the Director of The Batman, Reeves clearly stands out. In 2008, a Swedish film Let the Right One In was announced a remake with Reeves as Director. Let Me In was released in 2010, it follows a 12 year old bullied child who grows relation with a child Vampire, Abby. Murders and attacks take place in Los Alamos, with investigation leading the suspicion to Abby. An interesting and unconventional love story, consisting of gothic and dark elements. The performance and chemistry between Kodi Smit-McPhee(Owen) and Chloë Grace Moretz(Abby) are brilliant. Let Me In is not your usual teenage romance, it’s dark, ruthless and blood-stained. My first viewing raised different questions about Abby and her intentions.

Acclaimed horror novelist and author Stephen King considered ‘Let Me In’ as the best American horror film in last 20 years. The best part about the film is that it doesn’t spares time at exploring the past or future of Abby. Instead, you mingle over the miracle happened before your mind.

6) Insomnia(2002)

Christopher Nolan turned into a world-wide sensation after ‘Memento’ in 2000. But Insomnia marked as the first big-budget movie for the auteur. Nolan’s first and final remake, the original is a Norwegian film starring Stellen Skarsgard. Instead of bluntly replicating the original, he added his original elements to enhance the viewing. Legends like Al Pacino and Robin Williams thrilled with their performances. Robin Williams worth a separate mention because he played the antagonist. The smile that won our heart for years, gripped us this time, a homicidal author. As an actor, Robin Williams stuns at every role he portrays.

Insomnia follows two Los Angeles Homicide Detectives investigating a murder in Alaska. Detective Will Dormer(Al Pacino) accidentally kills his colleague after which he is unable to sleep. Insomniac Dormer reluctantly follows the murderer and trails lead him to Walter Fincher(Robin Williams). Detective Ellie Burr(Hillary Swank) accompanies Will during the investigation. The film gathered huge critical and commercial success. Critic Roger Ebert praised the movie by rating it 3.5 out of 4 stars. Director of the original film, Erik Skjoldbjærg expressed his gratefulness regarding Nolan directing the remake to his movie.(We feel the same, don’t we?)

5) Batman Begins(2003)

I am a Batman fan. As a kid, I liked Batman & Robin(1997) because….Yay it was Batman! But as the time passed, I noticed those rubber nipples and things changed forever. No other movie, since Tim Burton’s Batman(1989), has been able to cope with the theme, the original tone and the success a Caped Crusader movie deserves. A depressing Dark-Era us fans, until ‘The Sensational’ Christopher Nolan took the charge. Rest is History.

Nolan & David S. Goyer pushed on more basic elements of the character. His origin story, idea of Batman and emotions of his alter ego Bruce Wayne. In 2005, Batman Begins delighted critics and audiance equally. Christopher Nolan rebuild every aspect of the movie, with powerful performances of Christian Bale, Liam Neeson and Gary Old man complimenting him. With use minimum VFX and maximum stunts, Director solidifies the movie on the grounds of reality. Begins marked the inception of a ‘Trilogy’, that would remain on every Superhero enthusiast’s conscience. Considered, as one of the ‘Best Superhero Movie of All Time’, Batman Begins sure makes the list, as another Nolan’s work.

4) Traffic(2001)

This one here is the only remake of a Television series. Traffik, a 1989 British Television serial about illegal Drug Trade. In the series, the story follows the perspective of Pakistani and Afghani drug dealers and manufacturers. In the film, the drug trafficking is described through four perspectives, first, through a Mexican Officer Javier Rodriguez(Benicio Del Toro). Second, through Robert Wakefield(Michael Douglas), the head of Drug Control department. Robert’s daughter is under drug abuse and addiction, who is saved by his father after she runs away from rehabilitation centre. The third story-line follows a Drug-lord and his wife Helena Ayala(Catherine Zeta-Jones), who tries to save her convicted husband. She tries to kill the man who rats-out, ending the trial against her husband.

Traffic turned out to be a huge commercial and critical success. It spawned another TV miniseries in 2004 of the same name. The performances and the entwined story-lines overwhelmed the audiance and critics. Through this, Soderberg shed his image of “poster-boy of Sundance”, called by Critic Roger Ebert. Speaking of him, he rated it 4 out of 4, mentioning the scene where Wakefield discourse over the senators.

3) True Grit(2010)

In 2010, we saw a remake of 1969’s famous “True Grit”. Both of them based on Charles Portia’s novel of the same name. Reason of the remake being in the list?…Simple, Coen Brothers. A modern western movie by Ethan and Joel Coen is like a crime-thriller by Scorsese or biographical-drama by Spielberg(To solidify the statement, suggesting No Country for Old Man). John Wayne in the 1969 Adaptation, played Marshal Rooster Cogburn and garnered acclaim including an Academy Award for “Best Actor”. In 2010, every performance in True Grit contributed to the success of the movie. Jeff Bridges played Rooster Cogburn, Hailee Steinfeld played Mattie Ross, who hires Cogburn to seize her father’s murderer Tom Chaney(Josh Brolin). Matt Damon plays a Texas Ranger LaBeauf who accompanies them to chase down Chaney. The best part about the movie is its characters. Each and every character, such as Forester, the Dentist has his own significance. 

The film was nominated in 10 categories at 83rd Academy Awards. Unfortunately grabbing none, but this achievement is enough to reveal the influence of it. Both the original and remake have been hailed as one of the greatest Western flicks of all time. Steven Spielberg acted as the Executive Producer of the film.

2) 13 Assassins(2010)

It seems the 60’s decade had a reminiscing impact and influence over the modern era. Another classic from the epic era, 13 Assassin was a Japanese Period drama film directed by Eiichi Kudo. In 2010, Director Takashi Miike remade the epic film delivering Edo Period with Shogun(Military Dictator) Era declining to its end. Lord Naritsuga(Goro Inagaki) brutally kills, dishonors his empire. The senior advisor out of fear of Naritsuga hires Shimada Shinzaemon(Kōji Yakusho) to assassinate him. Shimada gathers 11 more samurais for the task and plans the murder. But Naritsuga, somehow, is informed about the plan. 

The film is often compared to, one of the greatest classic in World Cinema, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai(1954). Critics praised it’s characters, visuals and CGI. 11 Assassins made to the list of ‘Best Movies of 2011’ for many critics. Takashi Miike, director of famous horror film Audition, kicked the bars high with this epic. Ebert appreciated the fact that it remains honest to its story, even in the midst of blood and violence.

1) The Departed(2006)

Every Director wants to make one classic in their career, well, Martin Scorsese has one in every decade. In 70’s ‘The Taxi Driver’, in 80’s he had ‘Raging Bull’ and 90’s he capped ‘Goodfellas’. The Departed goes down as his classic in the beginning Decade of 21st Century. The original ‘Infernal Affairs’, is hailed as one of the best movie in World Cinema. With excellent cast of Jack Nicholson, Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon and Martin Sheen. Scorsese owned the crime-thriller, just as he does to every project he helms.

The Movie follows Francis “Frank” Costello(Nicholson), who implants Colin Sullivan(Matt Damon) within State Police as a rat. On the other hand, Oliver Queenen(Martin Sheen) drops Billy Costigan(Di Caprio) as an informant within Costello’s gang. A cat-mouse chase starts between Sullivan and Billy to reveal each other’s cover. Semi-Arc Shots and Dollying are at its best to build suspense. At 79th Academy Award, Martin Scorsese won his first ‘Best Director’ Oscar(26 years late), with ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ and ‘Best Editing’. ‘The Departed’ is pronounced as one of the Best Crime-Thriller of this Century.


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