6 Movie Remakes that Missed the Point

#3. The Stepford Wives

What the Original Was About:

This 1975 film is based on a novel from 1972, a horror story with heavy elements of satire. The main character is Joanna Eberhart, who moves to the small town of Stepford with her husband and children. Joanna is unimpressed by the other women of the town, who appear to be interested only in cooking and cleaning.

Joanna becomes friends with the only other woman who isn't acting odd, and they decide to investigate the strange behavior of everyone else. After learning that most of the other women were once supporters of the feminist movement, the pair become disturbed enough to want to leave town. That plan quickly falls apart when Joanna's children are kidnapped and her new friend begins acting strangely.

Joanna does the logical thing: She stabs her friend. This is how she learns that her friend is now a robot. Instead of getting the fuck out of there like a normal person, Joanna elects to sneak into the mansion used by Stepford's Men's Association. Her plan goes about as well as you'd expect one with absolutely no preparation to go; the final shot of the film shows Joanna placidly buying groceries with the other robot wives.

With the exception of the final scene, the film is set entirely during the daytime, with bright and sunny settings used to offset the quietly chilling story. The behavior of the robot wives is a satirical display of traditional gender roles, although it's unclear if the film's final message is "running a male dominated, chauvinistic dystopia is bad" or "we need to hurry up and make some robots!"

"Damnit robot, the kitchen is inside. Inside! There are still some bugs to work out."

What the Remake Did Instead:

The plot of the 2004 remake remains essentially the same up until the point where Joanna is captured and becomes a robot, at which point the story quickly falls apart. The Men's Association hosts a ball to celebrate the assimilation of all the women in town, during which Joanna lures the leader of the organization away while her husband, Walter, sneaks into the room where the transformations occur.

There he discovers that all the women in town are being controlled by microchips implanted in their brains, and after he destroys the computers controlling them, they immediately revert to their old personalities. In an ironic ending, the newly freed women force their husbands to do all the mundane tasks they had been performing. Ironic in the sense that this movie completely discarded the suspense and satire of the original and replaced it with half-assed comedy. Wait, did we say ironic? We meant retarded.

Take this, feminism!

The new ending brings up endless plot holes as well. Apparently having a microchip in your brain makes you immune to fire, causes you to give off electric sparks and grants you the ability to dispense money from your mouth (each of which happens in the film). Yet, despite their mighty power, Joanna can apparently resist them completely. Either that, or when she was captured for sneaking around, the men of Stepford decided to do... absolutely nothing to her.

"Could you just pretend to be a cyborg, please? It would save me a ton of time."

How Did They Do?

The original received generally positive reviews and has grown in popularity over the years. The remake bombed and has largely been forgotten, although there's a pretty good chance everyone involved with it was killed and turned into a robot.

#2. The Wicker Man

What the Original Was About:

This 1973 thriller sees a Scottish police officer, named Neil Howie, investigating an isolated island in search of a missing girl. Discovering that the island is populated entirely by pagans who worship the sun and practice fertility rituals, our hero is shocked, as he is a devout Christian. The pagan aspects are presented with painstaking realism, as the issue of conflict between the two religious beliefs forms one of the central themes of the film.

Another central theme? Wicker.

The investigation goes poorly, as the islanders are unwilling to cooperate. Leaving Howie to explore on his own, things quickly go downhill and he eventually ends up as a virgin sacrifice (due to his claiming to be a virgin by choice, but we think he was just embarrassed).

Howie is burned alive in the titular wicker man, while the islanders sing a merry pagan tune, hoping his death will restore the fertility of their orchards. The chilling final scene sends a powerful message about what people are capable of doing in the name of their beliefs. Also, there's a ton of gratuitous nudity, which Cracked writers fervently believe in.

What the Remake Did Instead:

The 2006 remake starring Nicholas Cage is infamous, and for good reason. The idea of religious conflict is downplayed, and replaced with... no conflict at all. The most interesting ideas in the original came from Howie's strong religious convictions clashing with the islanders, while Cage's character is given little motivation to go to the island and even less to stay.

The issue of infertile orchards is gone too, replaced with infertile bees, a pointless change leading to some of the film's strangest and most comical scenes. The competent acting is replaced with Cage running around aimlessly, shouting for no reason and punching the shit out of a bunch of women, sometimes while in a bear suit. Dramatic music plays all the while, further confusing and embarrassing anyone unfortunate enough to be watching the film.

Pictured: 90 percent of the film's content.

The remake's worst sin? Absolutely no gratuitous nudity. That's right, this movie is both terrible and impossible to masturbate to.

How Did They Do?

The original is now commonly regarded as one of the finest films the British Isles have ever produced. The remake was critically panned, lost $3 million and nearly ruined Cage's career. So, all in all, it's a tie.

#1. The Day the Earth Stood Still

What the Original Was About:

Debuting way back in 1951, the film is about an alien, named Klaatu, and his big clunky robot, Gort, who land their spaceship in the middle of Washington D.C. with the intention of delivering an important message to the world. Humanity gets off on the wrong foot by shooting him, and eventually Klaatu ends up on the run from the U.S. military while he tries to find a way to communicating with the planet.

Klaatu is portrayed as an affable and friendly alien, while the majority of humans we see in the film are paranoid and suspicious of his intentions. It is, of course, an allegory for the Cold War, where people's hostilities are overriding both their common sense and their common humanity. Klaatu is less than impressed by how he's being treated, but he still tries to see the best in Earth. Even when he demonstrates how powerful he is, he does it without killing anyone, and it's only after the poor guy eventually gets gunned down does his robot buddy get angry.

The climax of the film sees Klaatu finally getting a chance to deliver his message (after coming back to life), where he tells humanity that if they take their warlike and aggressive nature into space, killer robots will fuck them up. We paraphrased that a bit, but that's basically what he's saying.

What the Remake Did Instead:

The anti-nuclear weapon theme was replaced with an environmental warning, which makes sense since the Cold War is over (OR IS IT?!).

The problem with this version is in how Klaatu is portrayed, besides the fact that Keanu Reeves was chosen to play him. Instead of being a likable spaceman, he's just as hostile and suspicious of humanity as they are of him. Instead of continually trying to deliver his warning, he gives up after the first attempt and just decides to wipe humans off the Earth instead. Yeah, we know you got shot and all, but come on, that's a little bit of an overreaction.

"Can't hear you, off to destroy all humans."

So with Klaatu on the warpath, it's up to the generic female lead, her spunky kid and John Cleese to convince Klaatu that humanity is worth saving. Of course, that only happens after Gort does a ton of damage and kills a lot of people. Sure, there's an environmental message slapped in there somewhere, but it's still the optimistic and hopeful humans stopping the hostile and violent alien. It's like they tried to put all of the pieces of the original film in here, but they got all scrambled up somehow.

Though, in the remake's defense...

How Did They Do?

The remake has been financially successful, but was critically panned. The original is widely considered to be one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, and helped to prevent nuclear war (probably). Although to be fair, Keanu Reeves did accomplish that with Bill and Ted.

For movies that started out shitty but got better, check out 7 Terrible Early Versions of Great Movies. Or find out about some remakes that actually were better than the originals, in 9 Foreign Rip-Offs Cooler Than The Hollywood Originals.

And visit our Top Picks to see remakes of Cracked that also miss the point (we're looking at you CNN).

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