Before you curl up with a bowl of popcorn in front of the fireplace for a Christmas movie marathon, be sure that you are watching the best version of your favorite Christmas movies. Movie remakes generally receive mixed reviews. While some remakes make outdated movies more modern and add special effects, others change the plot entirely and make the movie completely different.
As Christmas specials air on popular television channels such as ABC, one might find numerous Christmas movie remakes, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Below, students share their opinions on Christmas movie remakes.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas was originally a cartoon produced in 1966. However, Universal Pictures remade this film in 2000. The remake was not a cartoon, but starred live actors such as comedian Jim Carrey, who played the Grinch.
Junior Scott Frenzel prefers the original version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas compared to the 2000 remake of the film. “I liked the animated version better,” Frenzel said. “As a child I was extremely afraid of the remake of the Grinch. Also, I think the animated version has a much more ‘Christmas special’ feel to it.”
Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th Street was originally released in 1947, but was remade and distributed by the same company, 20th Century Fox, who distributed the original. Junior Sarah Ruwe watches the movie Miracle on 34th Street every year around Christmas time. “I personally prefer the remake,” Ruwe said. “It’s always been one of my favorite movies.”
One of the reasons Ruwe likes the remake is that it doesn’t make many changes to the original plot. “There are a few minor differences,” Ruwe said. “The only main difference is how Mr. Bedford proved Kris Kringle was Santa Claus.” Ruwe believes that the slight change to the ending portrayed the message of the story more strongly.
This original version of this film was shown in theaters in 1990. It has been remade four times since then, with each remake twisting the plot differently. The most recent remake of Home Alone was released this month on ABC’s 25 Days of Christmas program.
“I liked the original more than the remake,” freshman Madeline Leesman said. “I liked this version of Home Alone better because it’s a classic.” Leesman thinks that Christmas movies shouldn’t be remade unless their quality is outdated to the point where people will not want to watch them. Also, it is hard to picture the main character Kevin, portrayed by actor Macaulay Culkin in the original, as anyone else.
It’s a Wonderful Life
The original version of It’s a Wonderful Life was released in 1946. It Happened One Christmas was a reworked version of this movie that was released thirty-one years later in 1977. Besides a few changes in the plot, another difference was that the main character in the original was a man, while in the remake, it was a woman.
Junior Paxton Knight prefers It’s a Wonderful Life because of its classic feel. Knight liked how the music changed when each character was introduced. “Also, the quality wasn’t much a problem, but I probably would have preferred it more if it had color,” Knight said.
Overall, the students agree that classic Christmas movies should not be remade unless they stick to a similar plot and improve the quality of the movie. “I think some [movies] will always be classics, like Rudolph and The Polar Express, but I think that there are some that should be updated a little to bring them to a new generation of audiences,” Frenzel said.