Typically when a reboot is announced, many moviegoers decry Hollywood of being unoriginal and out of ideas, criticizing studio executives of being motivated more by dollar signs and brand recognition than actual creativity. And usually when a reboot is green lit, it means that the franchise is at a low point in regards to audience demand, meaning that filmmakers are toying with something that’s played out as opposed to making something new. There may be some truth to that sentiment, but it can be incredibly short-sighted at times.
It’s no secret that there have been plenty of successful film reboots and remakes over the years, and not just financially. Sometimes a fresh perspective can reinvigorate a property and give it a vitality that it never had even in its glory years. Here are Screen Rant’s 5 great reboots that were better than the original films.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The original Mad Max movies were always hits with critics, but 2015’s Fury Road took it to a whole other level. It ended up becoming one of the best reviewed films of the entire year, revolutionizing the way action movies should be made. George Miller’s crazy vision of a post-apocalyptic car chase was also a surprise player on the awards circuit, landing a plethora of accolades including 10 Oscar nominations. When Miller came up short in the Best Director race, it was seen as a minor snub, which is something few would have predicted prior to its release.
Fury Road also set a new high for the franchise in terms of commercial success. Its $377.6 million worldwide haul was very impressive, considering its R rating and perceived niche appeal. Ever since the movie came out, viewers have been eager for a sequel, which Miller says is coming through the pipeline. With Tom Hardy signed on for multiple sequels, it seems like the series is in a great place as long as the rest of the pieces come together.
Lots of viewers love watching Sylvester Stallone in an action role, and he has plenty of genre classics to his name. However, Judge Dredd is not one of them. It was panned critically and flopped at the box office, ending a franchise before it even had a chance to begin. In particular, longtime readers of the comic could not stand the fact that Sly frequently removed his helmet, which went against the character. The film turned out so poorly, it was a while before someone attempted another adaptation.
In 2012, Dredd came out, starring Karl Urban as the title character. It was a marked improvement in just about every conceivable way. The reboot was seen as one of the most innovative uses of 3D since the technology’s renaissance, and the die-hards were thrilled with its supreme dedication to the source material. Urban won many fans over with his no-nonsense portrayal, which was pitch perfect (and he wore the helmet all the time). While Dredd did earn much critical acclaim, it failed to leave a dent at the box office. The movie has earned itself a cult following in the years since, but the low turnout in theaters means the sequel has little chance of being green lit.
One of the ground rules of a remake is that it should take an interesting premise that wasn’t executed the best way the first time around. That’s why Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 redux of Ocean’s Eleven is frequently cited as one of the great ones. The 1960 version failed to strike a chord with moviegoers – despite an all-star cast – with critics dismissing the caper as a disappointing and boring exercise. Still, the notion of a bunch of criminals robbing a casino certainly sounds appealing, and 50 years later, it was done right.
Assembling a bunch of Hollywood A-listers like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, Soderbergh made the most of his take on the material. It was praised for being breezy, fun entertainment, with the seamless chemistry of the stars receiving very high marks. Slick and endlessly cool, the new Ocean’s Eleven was a hit at the box office as well, paving the way for two sequels and a trilogy that the original could only dream of.
The original Star Trek TV series needs no introduction and is one for the ages, but it didn’t have the smoothest of transitions to the big screen. The first feature film released in 1979 failed to impress critics, with some feeling that the end result was bland and boring. Fortunately, a majority its sequels were large improvements, highlighted by the now classic Wrath of Khan in 1982. While most of the Trek movies were financially successful, it did not truly receive a new lease on life until the J.J. Abrams reboot in 2009.
Doing the unthinkable and recasting the iconic Enterprise crew, Abrams injected fresh blood and it ended up working in a big way. Though some longtime fans were displeased with the reliance on Star Wars-esque space adventure action instead of heady science-fiction, Star Trek was just what the franchise needed. It was a blockbuster for Paramount, ushering in a new series of films that’s still going today. In addition, it scored near universal acclaim from the pundits, including a Best Picture nomination from the Producers Guild of America. Not every Hollywood tentpole can say that. The original cast will always have a place in fans’ hearts, but the reboot took the property places it hadn’t gone before.
The Incredible Hulk
Even though it’s just a marginal improvement from Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk film, the Marvel Cinematic Universe approved reboot did prove to be a greater success. It took the criticisms of the original movie to heart, ramping up the action sequences so fans could enjoy some smashing set pieces. Star Edward Norton delivered a typically great performance in the lead, lending his sense of gravitas to the project. It was unfortunate when he did not return for The Avengers, though few will complain about Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation now. Still, at the time, the idea of Norton sharing scenes with Robert Downey, Jr. was a tantalizing prospect.
Box office wise, The Incredible Hulk only made a tiny bit more than Hulk, illustrating that the character – no matter how popular he is – is a tricky sell on his own. It’s no surprise that there hasn’t been a sequel green lit yet, and the chances of one happening are low. At the same token, Hulk has become one of the most prominent players in the MCU, and credit has to go to this film. It didn’t cause any irreparable damage to the property, meaning the green giant was fully integrated into the larger franchise and could make further appearances.
Those are our picks for great reboots that were better than the original. Are there any we missed? Which ones are your favorites? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one!