No genre is as ripe for contemporary reinvention as science fiction, with Denis Villeneuve’s recent reboot of Frank Herbert’s epic Dunes setting the benchmark for cinematic retaliation. The nature of science fiction lends itself to malleability, and directors often approach a remake with the intention of putting a new spin on an already worn-out concept.
Naturally, however, a remake is always judged alongside its older iteration, and moviegoers on Reddit have given their thoughts on which sci-fi remakes match, or better yet, match the original.
For many, the jury remains out on Jose Padhila’s 2014 remake of Paul Verhoeven’s classic dystopian thriller RoboCop. Critics at the time of release praised the film’s performances and action settings, but were also unimpressed with its clumsiness and the remake was considered unworthy of the critical stature offered to its predecessor.
However, some members of the Reddit community still think Padhila’s film is worth watching, especially for actor Gary Oldman’s performance. Reddit user Turtmcgirt also indicates that watching a remake such as RoboCop must be judged on its standalone merits, saying, “I loved it, sure, it wasn’t as graphic as the original, but I didn’t buy a ticket for that movie to watch the ‘original.”
With a screenplay by none other than Alex Garland, Pete Travis’ 2012 remake Judge Drdd was a critical and commercial success. The concept for Travis’ remake was a far cry from Danny Canon’s 1995 adaptation of the titular comic book favorite. Travis and Garland’s film was a gritty, gritty thriller that yearned to move away from the cheesiness of Canon’s film.
The consensus of critics and fans aligned with the assessment of Dredthough many in the Reddit community still have a lot of love for Canon’s 1995 adaptation. But with its jaw-dropping action, 2012 Dred is considered by many to be the best film. Reddit user PvtHudson093 cuts to the chase when comparing the two films, simply saying, “Dredd is way better than Judge Dredd.”
Total Recall (2012)
Len Wiseman’s Retaliation from Paul Verhoeven’s classic 1990 film, Total recallsuffered similar critical backlash as Jose Padhila RoboCop as soon as it comes out. Contemporary revamps of dystopian thrillers from the late ’80s and early ’90s were clearly trending in 2012, but many moviegoers on Reddit consider remakes to be underrated to say the least.
Reddit user badguy68 echoed the sentiment of the majority of fans of the original film who were willing to give the Wiseman remake a chance based on their own individual strengths, saying, “I liked the new Total recall too. I wish the story was as good as the first but (it had) awesome visuals and action. Total recall remake was a decent update to its predecessor and shouldn’t be easily dismissed.
Invasion of the Body Thieves (1978)
Philip Kaufman’s 1978 adaptation of Jack Finney’s famous 1955 novel, body thieves, is considered by several Reddit users to be one of the best movie remakes of all time. With Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy, Invasion of the Body Thieves has achieved nothing less than cult classic status among moviegoers and is widely considered superior to its 1956 predecessor of the same name directed by Don Siegel.
Reddit user gf120581 offers strict superlatives when describing Kaufman’s remake, saying “the 1978 version of The invasion of the body thieves is one of the greatest remakes of all time for many reasons, but looking at it, one of its best features are the creepy little touches at the start.” Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Thieves has stood the test of time to remain one of the most beloved sci-fi remakes.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Before Matt Reeves’ flagship sequel in 2014, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, stamped on Planet of the Apes franchise with classic status, Rupert Wyatt’s remake of the original 1968 classic gave the well-known sci-fi origin story a much-needed revamp for the modern age. Wyatt’s film is widely seen as an update to Tim Burton’s problematic 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes.
Reddit user Shatonamime writes how impressed they are with Wyatt and Reeves’ efforts, saying, “To go up and Dawn are pretty unique stories themselves. Explicitly not borrowing from any previous film. I have to say that I’m a fan of those movies because I try to have a strong story and strong characters to fill it out.” Rise of the Planet of the Apes revitalized a waning franchise and laid the foundation for a classic trilogy of films.
The Fly (1986)
Director David Cronenberg obviously has a habit of revisiting pre-existing material since he recently remade his own film, crimes of the future, which premiered at Cannes in May 2022. Cronenberg’s remake of the lesser-known 1958 film, Fly, directed by Kurt Neumann, was an instant body horror classic when it was released in 1986.
Fans on Reddit are quick to cite Cronenberg’s seminal 1986 film as one of the best sci-fi remakes, with one user saying, “This is really awesome, one of my favorite Cronenberg movies. Jeff Goldblum y is brilliant. It’s scary and sad, one of the best horror movies. You actually care about the main character.”
War of the Worlds (2005)
Steven Spielberg’s remake of the 1953 film of the same name, based on the popular science fiction novel by HG Wells, received a lukewarm reception from audiences and critics upon its release. Unlike many of his contemporary action films, Spielberg War of the Worlds was an intensely emotional film that focused more on family drama than the aliens themselves.
The appreciation for Spielberg’s underrated masterpiece has not been lost on the Reddit community, with Redditor Orefeus saying, “It was such a fun watch! You may notice the green screen at first, but the movie sucked me in and after 10-15 mins you stop looking for it.Such a fun watch for a lazy Sunday afternoon/evening.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Whether Mad Max: Fury Road is technically a remake or simply the fourth installment of the madmax franchise is a subject of debate. The 2015 George Miller film has many standalone qualities, however, and is nonetheless a thrilling, jaw-dropping journey from minute one to the last and is considered one of the best films of the 2010s.
Reddit users are virtually unanimous in their appreciation of Miller’s film and Rikimaru is adamant in their support for the film, saying “Masterpiece is as I describe it too. Occasionally I’ll casually throw it away and enjoy it at new”. Mad Max: Fury RoadThe endless appeal of makes it ripe for repeat viewings.
David Lynch’s original 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic novel, Dunes was a notorious critical failure upon release, and many fans of Herbert’s novel have long yearned for a remake that does justice to the complex and outlandish world of the source material. Luckily, Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 remake did just that, and more.
Aside from a select few, most Redditors agree that Villeneuve’s remake is a substantial improvement over Lynch’s problematic original adaptation, with one user saying, “I think the new Dune is better than the original.” Lynch’s bloated original struggled to match Villeneuve’s ambitious remake and with Part 2 coming soon, fans are expecting more of the same.
The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter The thing gave terrifying new life to Christian Nyby’s classic 1951 sci-fi horror, The thing from another world, upon its release in 1982. Although it received largely negative reviews upon its first theatrical screening, Carpenter’s film has aged well and is now considered a staple classic in the horror genre.
The movie poster can be seen on the walls of most homes and movie buffs and its iconic design has long been a defining image of horror movie marathons. The Reddit community is also very impressed with Carpenter’s masterpiece, with writers proclaiming “The Thing (1982) to be one of my favorite films of all time”.
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