Friday, June 15, 2007
In reading last night's post about Pirates 3 I started thinking about other movies whose sequels just didn't live up to the original. And that got me to thinking about just why the movie industry can't seem to let a good thing lie. Some films are episodic, like the James Bond movies, or Star Trek films, and make a series of movies an enjoyable experience. But many flicks are brilliant ideas, fully realized the first time around, and rehashes become simply that...rehashes. So without further ado I give you Marius' List of Movies The Should Never Have Had Sequels.
1. The Matrix. This was one of the most original (and yes, C, I know there was a Twilight Zone episode that was similar, but that was nearly 50 years ago) 'machine vs. men' conceptualizations I've ever seen. It was operatic in its use of violence as art, and Keanu Reeves even did a good job acting in it. The final scene, where Neo warns the machines that their day is over, then flies up and out of the frame was sheer genius. It left us with a Schrodinger's box full of ideas and possibilities that no sequel could live up to...and the two that followed never did.
2. Aliens. Yes, I know that Aliens was a sequel, but it is one of the top five sequels that equal their progenitors. It took the brilliantly built foundation of Ridley Scott's Alien and turned it into a full-on action thrill ride. And at the end, when Ripley puts Newt and Hicks into the freezers we all breathed a sigh of relieve and closure at a fight well won. Then Alien 3 gave us all the finger by killing off two of the three survivors before the opening credits even rolled, and sent Ripley into a story that forced us to strain our disbelief to the breaking point. And then, in Alien 4, we fall back on that tired old Science Fiction cliche that in a universe full of monsters, man is the worst one of them all. Barf!
3. Wayne's World. A SNL-based movie that doesn't suck is almost as rare as George Carlin hosting the show, but Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey managed a comic gem with Wayne's World. It was low key, slick, and made no pretensions to greatness. It was just 'two chimps on a davenport' who made us laugh for 90 minutes or so. It used all the bits from the sketches, but never overdid it, and who knew that Rob Lowe could be so dead-pan funny. Then the sequel came out and used the 'if it was funny once in the original, it will be hilarious a dozen times in the sequal' formula, and blew chunks.
4. Ghostbusters. Arguably one of the funniest movies ever made, Ghostbusters came out of nowhere and made us laugh our ectoplasmic asses off. We were all asking each other 'who ya gonna call' for months, and then there was a Saturday Morning cartoon that was fun to watch. Then someone got the bright idea to make another movie, but it seemed to be based more on the cartoon than the original film. It followed the tried and true Hollywood tradition of turning what was once funny into what is now stupid.
5. Jurassic Park. I think that Jurassic Park was one of the finest adaptations of a book into a movie ever. The characters were real, the effects incredible, and the plot believable. The flavor of the book was well captured, and while there were some significant changes, they worked for the film. And the message of the story was clear, well stated, and fun to watch. Then along came Hollywood with their 'do it again' mentality, like a 5 year old with a few million dollars. They asked Michael Crichton to write it, and at first he balked, since he doesn't do sequels, but eventually he caved under the weight of all the cash they shovelled at him. He wrote the screenplay, and a second novel, and both sucked. Nothing new was brought to the table, and setting a T-Rex loose in San Fransisco was more King Kong '77 than good cinema. And the third film was even weaker.
Ok, I've primed the pump. Let me know what sequels you thought were totally unnecessary. Or tell me I'm full of celluloid for my picks. The choice is yours.