To quote the late, great musician, Peter Allen, "Everything old is new again." A statement that’s once again been proven true in 2018.
By all accounts, this was a year when originality and sheer audacity triumphed at the box office, with movies likes A Quiet Place, BlacKkKlansman and Searching delivering fresh ideas and stories that were just dying to make it to the big screen. However, when it comes to the bottom line, Hollywood often relies on tried-and-true intellectual properties to get the job done.
But as often as reimagined ideas succeed, they also fall flat. Throughout the past 12 months, many remakes have bit the dust, while others successfully breathed new life into worn-out franchises. There's no clear line between good and profitable or bad and flat-out flopping, that's why we've rounded up the best and worst remakes, prequels and reboots of the year.
Best: A Star Is Born
When Bradley Cooper began working on his remake of A Star Is Born, he had a fair share of detractors. After all, it is the fourth time this story has been brought to the big screen, after the versions in 1937 with Janet Gaynor, 1954 with Judy Garland and 1976 with Barbra Streisand.
However, with confident direction and Lady Gaga in tow, he crafted a moving rock opera that turned a serious profit. Moreover, Gaga, Cooper, and the film itself, have received an avalanche of nominations this awards season -- from the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards. All of which is a good sign that the Academy might do the same.
For years, the Transformers franchise has felt like a well that's all but run dry. And yet, this new origin story doesn’t merely give the titular Autobot a new lease on life, it showcases just how good this franchise can be. Grounded by Hailee Steinfeld’s deeply affecting performance, with a simple-yet-poignant story about finding your way -- and loads of nostalgic '80s tunes -- this holiday tentpole is precisely what fans have been waiting for from their favorite robots in disguise.
Worst: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
When mo-cap auteur Andy Serkis set out to make his own version of TheJungle Book, he enlisted an all-star voice cast (Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Benedict Cumberbatch, to name a few) to tell a darker, more daring story than fans are accustomed to. Comparisons to Disney’s superior 2016 adaptation aside, this visual spectacle struggles to find it's audience and somehow lacks the human flourishes that made its animated and live-action predecessors family-friendly favorites.
Best: Ocean's 8
After the Ghostbusters reboot of 2016 failed to turn much of a profit, creating an all-female Oceans film seemed particularly precarious. But Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Awkwafina and the rest of this cast delivered an epic amount of style and charm in this crowd-pleasing caper.
Sure, there's a legion of naysayers -- who point out that motivations are muddled and the story doesn't really make sense -- but chemistry won the day with this campy spin on the testosterone-fueled series. Is it too much to ask that these ladies reconvene for another outing?
Remaking this '80s romantic comedy with the roles reversed was an intriguing idea. But Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez’s on-screen chemistry paled in comparison to the electricity between Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn in the original. (It’s no wonder the pair have been together ever since.) Plus, in the #MeToo and #TimesUp era, a comedy that revolves around this much interpersonal deceit is bound to land with a thud... especially if there's nothing to laugh about along the way.
Worst: The Predator
Shane Black, the creator of the Lethal Weapon franchise and one of the first victims in the original Predator film, seemed like the perfect person to reinvent this series. However, with bizarrely tone-deaf humor and no shortage of man-splaining -- on top of a serious off-screen scandal -- The Predator turned out looking like a death sentence for everyone’s favorite dreadlocked alien hunter.
Worst: Robin Hood
All the ingredients were there: Taron Egerton as the dashing titular hero, Jamie Foxx as his mentor, Little John, and Ben Mendelsohn as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham. But the end result is an action flick that’s just going through the motions, ridiculously turning longbows into rapid-fire weapons and embracing spectacle over substance, while underutilizing its brilliant cast. (Why was Jamie Dornan even in this?). And we haven't even mentioned the movie's oddly futuristic garb...
Best: Solo: A Star Wars Story
Few movies in 2018 were as polarizing as Lucasfilm's second standalone Star Wars adventure. Plenty of fans didn't want to see another actor step into Harrison Ford's role as the lovably cocky pilot of the Millennium Falcon. Others argued that fans were already experiencing Star Wars fatigue, blaming a disappointing box office haul on getting too much of a good thing.
Except, there's far more to enjoy here than to trash. Turns out, Alden Ehrenreich is great as Han and seeing him complete the much-bandied-about Kessel Run and have his first encounters with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) is exhilarating. Not to mention watching him finally win his beloved ship in a card game. Solo is a real treat for dedicated fans, and it's a shame we likely won't see where this Star Wars Story goes from here.
Director Luca Guadagnino, despite coming off the near-universally acclaimed and Oscar-winning Call Me By Your Name, had some big shoes to fill when he began filming his remake of Dario Argento's maniacal classic Suspiria.
Yet, with the of help of Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton (pulling triple duty), not to mention a powerful, poignant score from Radiohead's Thom Yorke, he crafted a wild and wonderful horror film that plays by it's own ridiculous rules. In the place of Argento's vivid colors and squirm-inducing scares, he depicted Susan Bannion's induction into a Berlin coven hidden within a dreary dance academy with divine detail and astonishing gore. This is art house horror at its best.
Worst: Tomb Raider
Alicia Vikander's decision to head up this reinvention of the Tomb Raider franchise was misguided from the beginning. Where Angelina Jolie could be playful, charming and seductive all at once, Vikander was entirely out of her element. Her Oscar-winning poise, affectation and subtlety not quite servicing her as she plodded through this preposterous yet all-too-familiar plot. The real cardinal sin here, however, is that aside from Nick Frost's too-brief appearances, it's a globe-trotting, supernatural actioner that's nearly devoid of fun.