For round 4 of my 'Battle Of The Remakes' series, I am going to be reviewing both the 1984 and 2010 versions of horror classic 'A Nightmare On Elm Street' and seeing which one reins supreme. For the first three rounds of the series, click here:
Although I figure that most people will already have a pretty good idea on the result of this battle, I am going to be comparing different aspects of both films, and comment on both the positive and negative points.
As always I am going to split the review into five different sections: characters, acting, special effects/make up, originality and general overview.
Both movies had quite a different set of characters, with the original focusing mainly on Nancy, and the remake focusing on Nancy AND her boyfriend. There were more characters in the remake, but less background to them - I had trouble figuring out who was who.
Now I'd just like to start off by saying that I HATED the 2010 Nancy (played by Rooney Mara). Like, a lot. She was a poor actress and so fake, she seemed depressed (before it all started) and just like a typical Hollywood Actress. Heather Langenkamp on the other hand, is a great actress and her performance blows Rooney's out of the water. It was realistic, emotional and totally believable.
Freddy.... Egh. Most people HATE Jackie Earle Haley's interpretation of the classic character, and although I'll be burnt at the stake for saying this, I didn't mind it. I mean, I didn't find it offensive like a lot of people clearly did. Let's be honest, there will NEVER be a better actor to play Freddy than Rob Englund, but I think that Jackie did a pretty decent job, considering what he was being compared to. The original character WAS meant to be more of a pedophile than a child murderer, and that's exactly what Jackie delivered. The characters personality was actually changed back in 1984, due to a big news story on a child molester at the time.
What I will say is that Jackie used some of the EXACT same lines from the original, which is SO not cool. Some of his lines in general were pretty... blegh. His Freddy voice is pretty painful to listen to, but if you go back to the original movie, Roberts voice was pretty deep and growly then too. So to sum things up, the original had a better cast, a better Nancy, AND a better Freddy. This round definitely goes to the original.
Original: 1 Remake: 0
As I said previously, I thought Rooney Mara (Nancy) acted pretty badly in the remake. It seemed like she was always exhausted, and couldn't be bothered pretending that she was scared. The acting from the rest of the cast was passable, but not great by anyone's standards. As for Jackie Haley, I think he tried his best at playing Freddy, I really do. I'm not going to say that it was good, because as we can all see it wasn't an incredible performance - well, at least compared to classic Robert Freddy. I honestly think that if the 2010 version was the first Nightmare On Elm Street movie ever to be made, people wouldn't have had a problem with Jackie's Freddy at all. I truly believe that all the hate is just because people aren't willing to accept a different actor's take on the role.
The acting in the original was great. Classic, cheesy, 80's, we love it. Johnny Depp was an incredible actor from the start, Robert was born to play the role of Freddy, Heather was a great Nancy, and the rest of the cast did a brilliant job and fit perfectly for their roles. I don't think I really need to say anything more about the acting, as I've made it quite clear already - the acting in the original was great, and the acting in the remake, well, not so much. This round goes to the original.
Original: 2 Remake: 0
Special Effects/Make Up
Now this topic is always hard to write about, because 99% of the time the remakes have the better effects, due to advancement in technology. With this section I have to take this into account, whilst also looking at how good the effects were at the time the original was released, and how well they stand up to the CGI effects in modern day movies.
Nowadays, yes - the remake DOES have the better and more realistic effects, but I do think the original effects were actually pretty darn good for that time frame. Like most older movies, the blood is a lighter colour than it is nowadays, making it look less realistic - but this doesn't bother me in the slightest. Let's be honest, the original movie is now cheesy as F by today's standards, but I still love it. Tina spinning around the bedroom, Freddy's long arms, his face coming off - it's all awesome. Not as scary anymore, but still bloody brilliant.
A fair bit of CGI was used in the remake, but what more can we expect from a film made in the 21st century? I DEFINITELY prefer makeup and practical effects over computer generated imagery, which is why I am such a fan of the older 70's and 80's movies, where it was seen far less often. Sure, there are a few mistakes in the original, like how we can see the pre-cut goop holes in the stairs as Nancy is running up, but that honestly doesn't bother me - besides, sinking into the stairs is a lot cooler than being CGI sucked into the hallway floor don't you think?
The remake had the better effects, and there is simply no argument against it. The original had pretty decent effects for its time, and it obviously takes a lot more effort to make practical effects than it does to just fake a scene by using a computer. I am going to give a point to both the original and the remake.
Original: 3 Remake: 1
OK, so obviously the remake is instantly knocked down simply based on the fact that it is indeed a remake, so no originality there. They even copied some of the exact same scenes from the original, only they didn't do them so well! Oh and I have a bit of a random complaint. Okay, a couple of random complaints actually! First off, why did the characters all have different names? Secondly, why did Kris (replacing Tina) go to bed IN A FULL FACE OF MAKEUP? Really goes to show what Hollywood has become, having the actresses obviously wearing cake loads of makeup to go to bed in.
Something that also really annoyed me about the remake (which I actually stated earlier) is that Jackie used some of the EXACT same lines that Robert did in the original, which is just not something that you want to be doing. Anyway, negativity aside, the remake did actually bring in some original ideas that I quite liked, such as showing Freddy before he died as a care taker with the Kindergarten kids, and then also being chased and burnt alive by the lynch mob, setting his origins a lot better than the original ever did.
The original movie however, really revitalized the whole slasher genre - which had kind of crashed and burned by that stage, after the slasher craze due to the popularity of Halloween in 1978. It was totally different, not just some mentally impaired un killable dude going around and slashing teens in broad daylight, but a mentally impaired un killable dude going around and slashing teens when they were asleep, which was such a frightening concept because everyone HAS to sleep. They couldn't just run away from Freddy K.
Original: 4 Remake: 1
So all in all, the original is better - but I think we all knew that from the start! The remake does have some good points, such as a couple of original kills and a better back story on the Freddy character, but I'm afraid to say that's about it. So with a score of 4 over 1, the original 1984 classic is still the better movie, and in my opinion always will be.
If you're a fan of the remake, you'll be pleased to hear that a remake of part 2 is in talks, and will hopefully be going ahead. If not, well, I'm sorry to bring you the bad news. So, do you agree with my choice, or are you outraged by it? Tell me in the comments below!
Which do you prefer, the original or the remake?
What movies would you like to see compared for round 5 in my 'Battle of The Remakes' series?