A Comparison of 80s Sci-Fi Remakes vs. Originals: Which Is Better?


The 80s was a decade of some of the most iconic sci-fi movies. From the post-apocalyptic tales of “Mad Max” to the mind-bending “Blade Runner,” the era was marked with unique visuals and memorable soundtracks. However, as the years progressed, Hollywood began to revisit some of these classics, and remakes and reboots became the norm. But how do these new versions stack up against the originals? In this article, we’ll compare some of the most famous 80s sci-fi remakes to their predecessors and see if they hold up.

“Robocop” (1987) vs. “Robocop” (2014)

The original “Robocop” directed by Paul Verhoeven was an instant classic. The story of a police officer who is brutally murdered and then brought back to life as a cyborg supersoldier was a violent and satirical take on the American justice system. The film was known for its graphic violence and dark humor, which struck a chord with many viewers.

Fast forward to 2014, and the same story was retold with a different director at the helm. This time, José Padilha took on the challenge of bringing “Robocop” back to the big screen. While the movie was praised for its special effects and cast, it failed to capture the same magic as the original. The film toned down the violence and satire, making it a more straightforward action movie. Ultimately, the 2014 remake lacks the bite and wit of the original.

“Total Recall” (1990) vs. “Total Recall” (2012)

“Total Recall” directed by Paul Verhoeven was a mind-bending action movie that questioned reality. Arnold Schwarzenegger starred as a construction worker who discovers that his entire life may have been a lie. The movie was filled with impressive special effects and memorable one-liners, making it a cult classic.

In 2012, Len Wiseman attempted to retell the same story with Colin Farrell in the lead role. While the film featured better special effects and a more serious tone, it failed to capture the same sense of fun as the original. The remake did away with the Mars setting and many of the memorable moments from the original, opting for a more generic action-movie feel. The end product was forgettable and failed to stand out in any meaningful way.

“The Thing” (1982) vs. “The Thing” (2011)

“The Thing” directed by John Carpenter was a movie that blended horror and science fiction. The story of scientists in the Antarctic who come into contact with an alien organism was shocking and suspenseful. The movie was known for its impressive practical effects and tense atmosphere, making it a staple of the horror genre.

In 2011, a prequel was released, detailing the events leading up to the original. While the film was praised for its special effects and similar tone, it failed to capture the same level of tension. The movie felt like a watered-down version of the original, lacking the same memorable characters and sense of dread. Ultimately, the 2011 version felt like a pointless retread, adding nothing new to the story.

“Blade Runner” (1982) vs. “Blade Runner 2049” (2017)

“Blade Runner” directed by Ridley Scott was a groundbreaking movie that raised questions about the nature of humanity and artificial intelligence. The movie starred Harrison Ford as a detective who tracks down rogue androids in a dystopian future. The film’s visuals and iconic soundtrack contributed to its status as a cult classic.

In 2017, director Denis Villeneuve took on the monumental task of continuing the story with “Blade Runner 2049.” The film starred Ryan Gosling as a new replicant-hunting detective in a world even more bleak than the original. The movie was highly praised for its stunning visuals and strong performances, as well as its commitment to continuing the themes of the original. While the film may not have reached the cult status of its predecessor, it was a respectful and well-made addition to the “Blade Runner” universe.


In conclusion, it seems that the trend of remaking 80s sci-fi classics has been hit or miss. While some of the movies, like “Blade Runner 2049,” have been successful at continuing the legacy of the original, others, like “Total Recall” and “Robocop,” failed to capture the same magic. It’s clear that remaking a beloved movie is no easy feat, and a lot of factors can contribute to a movie’s success or failure. Ultimately, it’s up to the audience to decide if they want to revisit a classic or experience it for the first time.