That was a mistake!
So much better is this remake that it really is significantly different from the original, sharing only that film's most basic concepts. There's more back story, better plot development, better acting and better production. Christian Bale is remarkable as the dirt farmer who puts himself in harms way to rekindle a sense of dignity. Russell Crowe is equally riveting as the outlaw who's reminded that dignity is essential to humanity. The two men are polar opposites drawn toward a common understanding by their shared experience.
Let's compare the two films on The Danny Gutometer, (Where 1 means "yawn," and 5 means "I'll be thinking about this movie for days"):
The 1957 version: 3 Danny Guts
The 2007 version: 4.5 Danny Guts
This scene shows why Christian Bale is, in my opinion, the most talented actor working today: