There has been no shortage of remakes in theaters over the past ten years, but these movies are the cream of the cinematic crop. Hollywood has always loved a remake, but that trend seems to be gathering pace as the decades pass by. With Disney gradually converting their animated back catalog into live-action and the canon of 1980s horror classics almost entirely regurgitated, the 2010s have suffered from a distinct lack of original movies.
In fairness, it's easy to see the appeal from a business perspective. Remakes come with ready-made source material, an established fan base and a tried-and-tested formula. Sadly, far too many attempts either stray too far from their source material or apply a thin layer of modern gloss, offering little in the way of new ideas. But while most remakes are poor imitations of their predecessors, a select few find the perfect balance between honoring the original and improving upon it.
These 13 films are the past decade's best examples of remakes done right - movies that don't rely on cheap nostalgia to draw in audiences but that also retain the spirit and core elements of their respective predecessors. Based on a mixture of quality and the level of improvement upon the original, here are the best movie remakes of the 2010s.
13. The Great Gatsby (2013)
Based on the era-defining novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, no less than 4 film adaptations of The Great Gatsby were released between 1926 and 2000, but Baz Luhrmann's 2013 effort introduced a whole new generation to the decadence and excess of the roaring twenties. Featuring a star-studded cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular billionaire, alongside Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire in key supporting roles, The Great Gatsby is the most vivid on-screen depiction of Fitzgerald's novel yet, and picked up Oscar gongs in two design categories.
12. A Star Is Born (2018)
Much like The Great Gatsby, A Star is Born has been remade over and over again since Hollywood's "Golden Era," perhaps most famously with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson as the leading duo in 1976. While many were skeptical about the 2018 remake starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga (in her first major movie role), both the film and its soundtrack were a runaway success. If A Star is Born lives and dies on the chemistry between its leads, the most recent remake might just be remembered as the definitive version of this musical love story.
11. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011)
Forget the tongue-twisting titles, Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes was better than it had any right to be, and spawned an entire trilogy of critically and commercially successful politically-tinged ape adventures. Restoring the franchise's reputation after the damage done by Tim Burton's 2001 Planet of the Apes remake, the rebooted series felt modern, darker and more grounded. And with Andy Serkis putting in yet another groundbreaking motion capture performance, the interplay between apes and humans gives a whole new dynamic to the Planet of the Apes story.
10. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Originally a John le Carré novel and then a 1979 BBC miniseries starring Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, Alec Guinness, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a very different breed of spy movie in a world of James Bonds and Jason Bournes. In a veritable who's who of British acting talent, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy assembled Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy and more for a cerebral espionage enigma that scored three Oscar nominations.
9. 13 Assassins (2010)
Their numbers and profession may have changed, but 13 Assassins followed in the footsteps of Seven Samurai by earning international acclaim that spanned multiple decades and several different adaptations. Eiichi Kudo's 1963 low-budget, black and white 13 Assassins was given a modern update in 2010 by renowned director, Takashi Miike. Not lacking in ambition, the remake features a 45-minute battle sequence and was nominated for a slew of Best Foreign Language prizes when awards season rolled around.
8. The Jungle Book (2016)
Disney's recent live-action adaptations of animated classics haven't been universally loved, with The Lion King's uber-realism and Aladdin's choice of genie both generating controversy. In the end, however, both ended up making truckloads of cash, ensuring the onslaught on remakes isn't going to let up any time soon. By far the best of the bunch, however, was 2016's The Jungle Book, which utilized cutting-edge motion capture and the fresh talents of Neel Sethi to bring the jungle to life in a way that, a few decades ago, might've seemed impossible.
7. 21 Jump Street (2012)
A forgotten 1980s cop series, one of the Superbad gang and every teenager's dream mid-2000s crush. It was hardly a recipe for success, and yet 21 Jump Street quickly became one of the best comedy movies in recent memory. The interplay between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is superb and Lord & Miller manage to jostle with the limits of taste without veering too heavily into gross-out humor. At the heart of 21 Jump Street, however, is a very relatable story of two unlikely friends, aided by one of the best cameo scenes of all time.
6. Dredd (2012)
Starring Sylvester Stallone in the title role, the 1995 Judge Dredd movie adaptation is best forgotten. Fortunately, Karl Urban took over for the 2012 remake and, along with director, Pete Travis, and writer, Alex Garland, delivered a live-action version of the iconic comic book character that hardcore fans could finally get behind. Dredd might not have received its due at the box office, but fans and critics were instantly enamored, and the constant calls for a sequel prove that Dredd continues to find new fans on home media.
5. Let Me In (2010)
The Scandinavians know how to do horror and Let The Right One In is no exception. However, Matt Reeves' remake (coming only 2 years after the original was released) proved a more than worthy alternative, remaining faithful to the Swedish original, but switching up the location to New Mexico. Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young boy who falls in love with a vampiric Chloë Grace Moretz, Let Me In blends elements of horror and romance to great effect and the author of the original novel, John Ajvide Lindqvist was full of praise for both versions.
4. Pete's Dragon (2016)
Arguably more than any other entry on this list, the Pete's Dragon remake differs wildly from its original. Released in 1977, the first Pete's Dragon mixed live-action and animation in a fun musical adventure that attracted mixed contemporary reviews. David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks' remake dropped the jaunty musical numbers, anchored the story in the real world and delivered a more emotionally-driven tale that appealed to both young and old.
3. It - Chapter 1 (2017)
Stephen King adaptations showed no sign of slowing down in the 2010s and, if anything, the decade actually produced some of the best adaptations of the iconic writer's work to date. Pennywise the clown was first played on-screen by Tim Curry in 1990, but Andy Muschietti brought It to the big screen in spectacular fashion, with Bill Skarsgård taking over the role. It would eventually become the highest grossing horror film of all time and a sequel was released earlier this month.
2. True Grit (2010)
John Wayne's 1969 True Grit is an undisputed Western classic, earning the actor a Best Actor award at the Oscars. However, the Coen brothers' 2010 remake starring Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld managed to honor the original while still updating the genre for a modern audience. Intended as a more faithful adaptation of the Charles Portis' novel, the True Grit remake was nominated for no less than 10 Academy Awards and, although it walked away with none, its legacy as a perfectly balance remake and one of the Coen brothers' best efforts was already cemented.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
George Miller denies Mad Max: Fury Road is a sequel, but is also reluctant to use the "remake" tag, instead referring to his 2015 spectacle as a "revisiting." That certainly sounds like a remake to us, and with a brand new cast, the modernized landscape of post-apocalyptic Australia has never looked, sounded or felt this visceral. Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and flamethrower guitars, Mad Max: Fury Road boasts a rich script that touches on a diverse range of topics and some of the most unique visuals the business has to offer, culminating in an intense but rewarding cinematic experience.