In the past decade, a countless number of movie remakes, reboots, and sequels have been released, and there is seemingly a metric ton of new reboots in the works. Many have been good, like Rise of The Planet of the Apes, and some have been not so good (like 2011’s The Thing remake). The quality of these movies sometimes don’t reflect on past successes, and with no sign of movie comebacks slowing down, it’s time we look back on where these franchises came from.
The audiences have changed, the pop culture landscape is slightly different, and sometimes the new movie’s tone will do a complete 180 from the original. In the end, when another movie is added to a franchise, we can’t help but compare them to the movies that started it all.
So, here are five classic movie franchises compared to their newer iterations:
1. Evil Dead: 1981 vs. 2013
Title(s): Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness
Release Dates: 1981 – 1993
Director: Sam Raimi
Lead Role: Bruce Campbell
Title: Evil Dead
Release Date: 2013
Lead: Fede Alvarez, Jane Levy
The series began with humble beginnings, as the original Evil Dead was a low budget horror film that cost an estimated $400,000, which pales when compared to the much larger budget of the 2013 reboot (roughly $16 million).
In 1981, the horror movie trope of a cabin full of college kids didn’t necessarily exist. Actually, Evil Dead is one of the first major films with the cliché, especially considering both Evil Dead 1 and 2 almost exclusively took place in and around the cabin. The reasons for coming to the cabin are quite different between the films. While the 1981 film was driven by a vacation of fun, the 2013 film took place because of a more modern plot choice of drug addiction and family issues. The lead characters in both movies mirror one another, even though the circumstances are different. Ash, played by Bruce Campbell, in the original Evil Dead trilogy and Mia, Jane Levy, in the newer film completely transform as the movie goes on, from being innocent young adults into full-fledged demon-killing machines.
The original Evil Dead trilogy is full of campy dialogue and corny one-liners thrown left and right by Ash, while the newer film tones that down and brings the gorefest to another level. Both films are enjoyable to watch, the original with all its campy goodness, and the newer film that brings old elements into the modern world, including the classic Evil Dead camera chase shot, a staple of the series. As the franchise continues to evolve these days with the TV show Ash vs. Evil Dead, we can definitely look forward to new additions to the horror series in the future.
See Also: New Horror Movies
2. Godzilla: 1998 vs. 2014
Release Date: 1998
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Mattew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo
Release Date: 2014
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Aaron Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston
This might be cheating a little, but rather than delving too deep into the history of Godzilla movies, we will look at the two Western helmed films. Back in 1998, hype for a different, New York City-based Godzilla was building and every kid was excited. From Godzilla ice cream to Taco Bell ads, Godzilla was everywhere. Then, the movie released, and it was a huge letdown, only a pint of Godzilla ice cream could help. This film was filled with plot holes, cliché dialogue, tough to swallow CGI, and movie rip-offs from Alien and Jurassic Park.
Years had to go by before a production team would touch Godzilla again. Prior to the release of the 2014 Godzilla movie, there was a lot of skepticism considering the previous film’s mistakes. However, the new iteration’s tone and target audience had changed, as well as the rights for Godzilla moving from Tristar to Toho, then to Legendary. This film took a different approach to the Godzilla formula, and went back to making Godzilla a central character rather than just a destructive monster. This film was full of tension, grittier scenes, and large monster on monster fight scenes, even if it took a little while to show the actual fighting. Now, there’s news of a potential Godzilla vs King Kong film, and Godzilla is back being the King of The Monsters.
3. Mad Max: 1979 vs 2015
Title(s): Mad Max, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome
Release Dates: 1979 – 1985
Directors: George Miller
Cast: Mel Gibson, Tina Turner
Title: Mad Max: Fury Road
Release Date: 2015
Director: George Miller
Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult
Mad Max is another example of a low budget film that grew into a massive multimillion-dollar franchise, coming from a $400,000 budget in 1979 to a $150 million budget from the 2015 film. In fact, we even have the original on our list of the best revenge movies of all time. George Miller, the co-creator of Mad Max, wrote and directed every film in the series. This can be a surprise considering he is also the writer and director of another popular series, Happy Feet. Unlike Happy Feet, Mad Max through and through is a series based in the dystopian wasteland of Australia, with gun-totting madmen and insane bloodthirsty driving maniacs (could you imagine post apocalyptic penguins?). The series heavily involves driving and chasing, especially Fury Road, which is filled with intense, high-octane chase sequences.
The original series has Max in his V8 Interceptor that rivaled no other car, only briefly making an appearance in Fury Road during the beginning. One of the main differences between the original trilogy and the new film is Max himself. Tom Hardy plays a quiet, anger filled, one track mind version of Max, while Gibson is a little more talkative and robust in his actions. That being said, Fury Road’s main character isn’t actually Max, its Furiosa played by Charlize Theron. Furiosa is an amazing addition to the series and brings a strong female character to the forefront and proves that Max isn’t as tough as some other people in the wasteland. Fury Road brought Mad Max into modern cinema with massive CG set pieces worked in with practical effects. These massive scenes were the biggest in the series and may become a staple, as George Miller has confirmed more movies in the series with two or three more in the works. The original series is a little aged and can be tough to follow, but are definitely fun to watch. Fury Road is a personal favorite in the series and I am excited to see what’s next.
See Also: Top 23 Best Revenge Movies of All Time
4. Jurassic Park: 1993 vs 2015
Title(s): Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III
Release Dates: 1993 – 2001
Directors: Steven Spielberg, Joe Johnston
Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
Title: Jurassic World
Release Date: 2015
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio
Jurassic Park became a phenomenon after its release in 1993. Based on the Michael Crichton book of the same name, Jurassic Park brought dinosaurs into households everywhere. When Jurassic World was announced and it was announced that a new series of films would be coming out, I was completely ecstatic, as it brought me back to my childhood. Jurassic Park is a thriller surrounding genetically created dinosaurs brought to an island for monetary purposes, or like Dr. Hammond would say “it’s for the children.”
The original film was filled with mystery and wonder, from the fantastic CGI, the well-made practical effects, and the sound design for each dinosaur. The audience was in for a ride with new things to see and experiences that were not seen in films at the time, especially with the new CG technology. Jurassic World built off of the original’s success by creating the excitement of a new experience again, this time with different characters and a different tone, all the while being on the same island, Isla Nublar. The Lost World and Jurassic Park III may not have been the best of sequels, weakened by a lack of character development and a desire to bring big corporations into the mix more so than before (finger’s crossed with Jurassic World 2).
The original film has a place in my heart, with tense scenes, amazing music, and a great cast. Jurassic World brought back feelings of the original film by bringing back classic locales and even objects from the original film. The character development may need some work, especially with the children, but it is a fun film that makes me want to see what’s next in the series.
5. Star Wars: 1977 vs 2015
Title(s): Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Release Dates: 1977 – 1983
Directors: George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand
Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Title: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Release Date: 2015
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega
This list wouldn’t be complete without Star Wars making an appearance. The sci-fi series has been a force to be reckoned with, creating massive multi-layered lore, cross media exposure, and being a complete nerd lover’s dream. Though the lore may not be canon anymore, and the series being a part of pop culture again is inescapable, Star Wars is back and it’s in full force.
The original Star Wars trilogy brought a classic story of romance, betrayal, and action into the mysterious frontier of space. Heavily influenced by Japanese films and classic movies, Star Wars created a universe that was easily accessible and interesting to explore. The first film, Episode IV: A New Hope, follows the lighthearted characters R2D2 and C-3PO, mirroring a highly influential Japanese film, Seven Samurai. Small tidbits like this made the original series grounded in the film world, and were friendly for the audience that loved cinema as well as those that were casual moviegoers.
The original films were based on operatic ideas of adventure and suspense. Jump forward a few decades to The Force Awakens, there are a lot of parallels between the films including a main character, Rey, mirroring Luke Skywalker in many ways, such as her stubborn attitude and her independent spirit. A few of the characters in The Force Awakens mirror characters from previous films, and although that can be seen as a negative aspect, it isn’t. The new characters are developed well and have personalities that click with one another, which keeps the audience interested in how they may interact with each other or what will happen next with a friendship or rivalry.
The plot may have been a little thin, but as rumors suggest a more robust sequel, maybe the simple beginnings will be a good thing for the new trilogy. With the use of nostalgia and a lot of lore to work from, this series is bound to stick around, and this time we might see Jar Jar Binks do something good. Yes, I would love to see Jar Jar back in a less humorous role — now that would be amazing.