Starting with the original 1956 version, this one takes on a very dominate Science Fiction style story and sticks to it, while on the other hand the remake kept wondering between a Horror style and a Science Fiction style story. I also would like to comment on how the original was shoot in Black and White, giving it a errie nightmarish tone that the color remake completely lacked. Though I must compliment the casting choices of the remake, Donald Sutherland as Dr.Bennell was an excellent choice,but of course I still preferred Kevin McCarthy as Dr.Bennell from the original by a long shot. Of course the cameo Kevin McCarthy is given in the remake was awesome, funny, and one of the most appropriate cameos i`ve ever seen. Plus since i`m a huge Leonard Nimoy fan I was natural very pleased with the role they gave him in the remake .Then respectively Jeff Goldblum and Brooke Adams were well casted in their roles in the remake.
The next thing about these movies that are different is the endings. Now which one you personally prefer is completely up to your on preference in movies.I personally liked both endings even though they were quite different from each other.For example the original takes on a happier ending, but it was one of those happy endings that came at sad price, were he was the only one who ended up surviving the whole thing. In the remake its a completely opposite ending basically everyone dies and the "Bodysnathcers" win bring an end to the human race as we know it, but the final scene in the movie were you find that out is unforgettable.
So in conclusion this was a very well made remake that lives up to the cult status of the original. Its very well casted with some of my all time favorite actors like Leonard Nimoy, Donald Sutherland, and Brooke Adams in staring roles, plus a great cameo incorporation of Kevin McCarthy.Though I really didn't like the way they switched the setting in the remake, rather than putting it in the small town atmosphere of the original they put it in the big city atmosphere. Which honestly just killed the eerie atmosphere for me, the original is superior atmosphere wise by a long shot because of that. Then finally like I said before the remake takes on a more Horror aspect but keeps a Science Fiction. While the original is just a straight up Science Fiction movie. Now in my personal preference i`m more inclined to prefer the Science Fiction take on the story as opposed to the Horror take that Remake went with, the Science Fiction one was just more fitting in my eyes.
So My take: EXCELLENT REMAKE, but I still prefer the original over this one any day for a variety of reasons.