The Best And Worst Remakes, Reboots, And Adaptations Of 2017
Reboot and remake culture has a hold on movies and TV that it likely won’t be letting go anytime soon. As 2017 unfolded, audiences were treated to a number of adaptations of books, comics, and even video games, alongside films and shows being relaunched in hopes of reaching new audiences.
Still, just because you are remaking or rebooting a beloved title, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll turn out any good. The year was littered with movies and TV shows that missed the mark–both original ideas and those adapted from previous properties.
GameSpot has taken a look back at the year in reboots, remakes and adaptations to find the very best and the very worst. For every Spider-Man: Homecoming, there’s a Ghost in the Shell and we revisited them all.
Mindhunter is a difficult show to watch, if only because every crime, every death, and every disturbing image or line of dialogue is rooted in reality. Couple that with “killer” performances for some of the most famous serial killers of the past 30-to-40 years, and you have a recipe for something truly terrifying on a psychological level. The fact that such an effective story can be adapted from what is essentially an FBI handbook is worthy of praise.
Is it really a bad adaptation if the source material itself is bad? In the case of Baywatch, sort of. While the original TV series was nothing special, the film adaptation of both very generic and doesn’t offer much in terms of quality. While Dwayne Johnson and his fellow cast seem to be having fun hanging out on the beach and making a movie, there’s simply not much to be interested in.
Best: Big Little Lies
With a star-studded cast–Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Adam Scott, and Laura Dern, just to name a few–scripts from TV legend David E. Kelley, and beautiful direction by Jean-Marc Vallée, Big Little Lies had everything going in its favor. Thankfully, it delivered. One of the best adaptations of a novel you’ll find, the series begins on the mundane surface of life in the suburbs and spirals into the dark corners of each character’s personal lives, with a murder at the heart of it.
Worst: The Dark Tower
Condensing eight Stephen King novels into a 95 minute film is a bad idea from the start. The end result was a short movie that wasn’t very faithful to fans of the original sci-fi western books and were simply unexciting and incomprehensible to those being exposed to the story for the first time. Everyone involved, from Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey–to King himself–deserved better than this movie.
Video game adaptations tend to be pretty bad, but luckily, Netflix’s Castlevania did the gaming franchise justice, while telling the story of the last living member of the Belmont Clan, Trevor Belmont. The animated series was crafted by none other than comic book writer Warren Ellis–primarily known for his work on Transmetropolitan–and his dark and gritty style of storytelling fits wonderfully into this world. It’s a story of utter hopelessness, monsters, and really badass heroes that fans of the video game series deserve.
Worst: Ghost in the Shell
This particular adaptation was doomed from almost the beginning. When Scarlett Johansson was cast in the role of the main character, who was Japanese in the original manga, fans were quick to brand the movie as whitewashing the source material. The final product was visually-striking but unable to capture the essence of what made fans love Ghost in the Shell in the first place.
Best: The Disaster Artist
A movie adaptation of a book about the making of a movie. That’s a tough line to follow, but The Disaster Artist delivers on all levels. Not only does it faithfully recreate the events in its source material, it does so with a cast that has incredible chemistry together and gives insight into the creation of a film many have wondered about for years: The Room.
Worst: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
A great example of all style, no substance. While visually Valerian may have taken a lot of inspiration from the comic books it was based on, the plot was lacking–and sometimes incoherent. Combine that with a cast that had trouble carrying the film and you have an adaptation that simple missed the mark. In the end, it paid for it at the box office.
Best: The Handmaid’s Tale
While this adaptation is done incredibly well, so much of what makes The Handmaid’s Tale work has to do with timing. At a point in time where “topple the patriarchy” has become the battle cry of those protesting the treatment of women, this Hulu series took a novel from 1985 about women rising up against their extreme oppression and made it all the more important in 2017.
Worst: The Mummy
An adaptation so bad that it sunk a proposed cinematic universe before it even started. The Mummy was meant to relaunch the Universal monsters in their own films. Unfortunately, a weak plot, subpar acting, and Tom Cruise becoming the titular Mummy doomed this particular adaptation, which bombs at the box office.
It had the task of following a beloved TV adaptation of the Stephen King novel that hadn’t aged very well at all. Rather than relying on the nostalgia of that version of the story, the film mostly stuck to the novel, while making some choices to carve its own path. The silliness of the original was swapped out for terrifying, the hokey for dramatic. The new It also wisely changed the time period to the 1980s, meaning the eventual sequel will be set in modern day.
Best: Kong: Skull Island
King Kong is a story that’s been told on film dating back to 1933. Skull Island is the latest take and manages to not only craft the interesting and exciting tale of saving the giant ape from a group that was it dead but opens the story up to a much larger cinematic universe. It’s hard not to be excited about the prospect of a modern day King Kong vs. Godzilla showdown on the big screen.
Best: Saban’s Power Rangers
While Saban’s Power Rangers wasn’t a massive hit with audiences, it’s as good an adaptation as the long-running TV franchise could ever hope for. Getting rid of the sillier aspects of the show, Power Rangers showed the evolution of five troubled teens-turned-superheroes, as they came to terms with being the world’s only hope. Still, there should have been more time spent with them in-costume.
Best: Spider-Man: Homecoming
It turns out third try was the charm for getting a great adaptation of Spider-Man. After two movie series failed to capture the true spirit of the comic book source material, Sony collaborated with Marvel to not only bring Spidey to the MCU, but give him a more grounded adventure fit for the young web-slinger and aspiring Avenger.