The Nollywood industry has decided to not let us breathe with movie remakes in recent years, and this has sparked a lot of reactions among fans of Nigerian movies. With Charles Okpaleke of Play Network, aka Charles of Play leading the charge, it might seem as though we will keep getting one remake or the other of our favourite Nollywood classics for years to come.
We will not deny the fact that some of these remakes have been really worth the effort enough to be successful, but we have also seen some other projects underwhelm in the worst ways possible. With the recent release of Netflix’s Glamour Girls, it’s about time we had this conversation about remakes and how some of these projects have ranked in recent years. See our list of Best And Worst Nollywood Remakes Ever.
1. Glamour Girls (2022) — Bunmi Ajakaiye:
Do you remember when Chief Daddy 2 was released and most movie fans felt it was nothing to write home about? Well, it might have a new rival to compete for the “Worst thing to come out of Nollywood” prize. To be very candid, Glamour Girls is nothing but a poor remake of the 1994 classic which starred Liz Benson, Eucharia Anunobi and Zack Orji.
This new version simply traded a seductive plot and incredible acting for a lot of Larry Gaga music, poorly laid wigs and an underwhelming audio quality. Just like the original version, the story concentrates on the lives of high-class body sellers led by Oloture Sharon Ooja, Nse Ikpe Etim, Joselyn Dumas and Toke Makinwa, but this remake was neither as hilarious, filled with suspense or smart.
Some people actually watched Glamour Girls” to see how Joselyn Dumas and Lynxx will fare acting like a couple, but even that could not keep the audience glued. Viewers were also frustrated with the final scene that included several USBs and gave off women in tech vibes, and the entirety of the movie should make it go down in history as the worst Nollywood remake we might ever witness.
2. Aki And Paw Paw (2021) — Biodun Stephen:
Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme are Nollywood sweethearts, fact. And with social media recently remembering their talents with the several memes we now see online, no one was shocked to see a remake of their 2003 debut, “Aki Na Ukwa”, last year.
However, while tapping into their newfound social media buzz with a remake of that classic was a good idea, the project itself clearly did a poor job at exploring the story of the original movie. All we really got was a basic drama that left the viewers underwhelmed, and for a comedy that starred famous stars like Chinedu Ikedieze, Osita Iheme, Toyin Abraham and Warri Pikin, Nollywood fans were allowed to expect more.
We anticipated getting cracked up in every scene, but most of us wondered why we even spared time for the project, only to see it go to waste. Aki and Paw Paw definitely deserved better, and we hope such a movie atrocity never repeats itself.
3. Nneka the Pretty Serpent (2020) — Tosin Igho:
If you have not seen this remake, lucky you, because its soundtrack and bad acting means you missed nothing. “Nneka the Pretty Serpent” is actually the movie that made most Nollywood fans realize that Charles of Play is leading us all down a wrong path.
Remaking the 1994 movie, Idia Aisien played Nneka, a young lady who was possessed by a snake and triggered by a spirit to murder a few people in very dramatic ways. However, the movie also featuring Bimbo Ademoye, Kenneth Okolie and Bovi could not still sell the repackaged story.
Even if Idia Aisien’s karate skills were pretty decent, her acting was simply nothing to write home about. Also, most people who do not even understand the Igbo language enough could tell that she was not pronouncing certain words properly.
Tosin Igho definitely did a good job with the visuals, especially the underwater snake possession scene that was class, but while the movie was meant to be a successful feminist revenge thriller, it ended up being a boring adventure.
4. Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story (2020) — Ramsey Nouah:
This has to be the best remake Nigeria has seen as far as storytelling tweaking is concerned. Starring rising actors like Stan Nze and Bucci Franklin and introducing them to a larger audience, this heist turned revenge movie also cast Osas Ighodaro, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Ramsey Nouah, so it had to deliver.
We already knew what to expect from a Ramsey Nouah that handled “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free,” and he clearly did not disappoint. Even if the movie was far from perfect, it surely felt unique because it delivered a well-developed storyline and displayed excellent acting as we have never seen before.
5. Living in Bondage: Breaking Free (2019) — Ramsey Nouah:
This was a sequel to the 1992 Kenneth Nnebue classic, “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free”, and it was the first major production from Charles of Play, which went on to be his best so far. Led by the inspiring performance of newbie, Swanky JKA, the movie focuses on a plot around a poor guy who was willing to sacrifice his family for a few dollars.
“Living in Bondage: Breaking Free” did a fantastic job thanks to Ramsey Nouah’s amazing work as a director and the actors’ applaudable dedication to their roles. It passed its message loud and clear and it might not be too early to conclude that Nollywood remakes directed by Ramsey Nouah will always be in safe hands.
However, this particular movie might be the root of the current problems we have with remakes in Nollywood. Why? Because if it was not as successful as it was when it hit the box office, maybe Charles of Play wouldn’t have gone on this annoying remake spree that has brought nothing but boredom to our TV screens.
Why English Language Movie Remakes Are Not Worth It:
1. Foreign Films Are Not Only For Cinema Lovers Anymore:
I understand the need for these English language movie remakes when foreign films were very sacred and rare, but they have since outlived their purpose. During the era when these foreign films were never easy to find, not to talk of watch, remaking a movie for the English audience definitely made a lot of sense.
However, nowadays, with how there has been a growing availability of foreign films thanks to the abundance of streaming services, the number of people who will really care about these remakes is understandably low, making them a waste of time and effort.
2. Subtitles Are More Common Now:
If you are an attentive movie person, you will know that the number of people finding subtitles to be a useful part of a movie experience is increasing rapidly, and as the use of subtitles increases among several age groups, the cultural hindrance to watching international films have since vanished.
Therefore if someone has already watched and understood via subtitles what a particular movie is all about 10 years ago, what exactly is the need to feed him or her with a remake with a new language and new characters when there are other fresh movie ideas fighting for his or her attention?
3. International Actors Are More Recognized Globally:
Hollywood, for example, is not what it used to be and nowadays, the American movie industry is filled with actors from all over the world, therefore nationality is not really a firm barrier anymore.
So I ask, does the English language make Will Smith a better actor than Mads Mikkelsen? Does the language improve the story in a foreign movie once remaking happens? If a foreign movie is already known and understood in the West, is an English remake really necessary? The answer is No.
4. Remakes Are Lazy Projects:
Let us be honest with ourselves, remakes of foreign films are mainly about making lazy money. Most producers simply love an already proven project at the international box office because it is a safer plot to worth with, invest in, and make cool cash from.
It is really about the financial benefits for the brains behind them, afterall, when you look at all of the English-language remakes of non-English movies, not many of them are actually better than the original version.
Why Remakes Can Be A Good Thing:
1. They Don’t Replace the Original:
One fact movie lovers have to realize is that no one does a film remake to erase the original version completely from the minds of fans of the project. They simply retell the story of the classic movie the remake is all about and keep it moving. The truth is that we will keep seeing bad movies get released from time to time, and most of them will not be remakes.
2. Remakes Sometimes Remind Us About How Good The Original Film Was:
A remake only ever gets done because people loved the original right? So why not appreciate the fact that a producer is out there trying to remind you about a movie you once loved and will continue to love? Also, if someone watches a movie and later finds out that it is a remake, the probability that the person will try to search for the original version to compare is pretty high, and that is surely a good thing for the original film.
3. Remakes Sometimes Pitch Another Filmmaker:
Remakes do not always have to be about the actors, locations or comparisons all the time, they could also be a great career booster for filmmakers as well.
For instance, most movie lovers discovered popular Japanese filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa when they found out that he was mainly responsible for the recent appeal of the Star Wars movie they have grown to love. This has to be a very good thing because, in a very competitive movie market all across the globe, audiences getting exposed to a producer that they naturally should not know about is everything.