Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stuff on Sequels

Why does Hollywood insist on sticking us with sequels?

Do we really need a fifth Final Destination or a fifth Fast and the Furious?

This year we are getting both.

Do we really need a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean or a fourth Scream (which, incidentally opens next week)?

This year we are getting both.

Do we really need a third Paranormal Activity or a third Transformers (our childhood still being destroyed by the direction of Michael Bay)?

This year we are getting both.

Do we really need a second Kung Fu Panda or a second Hangover?

This year we are getting both.

You have to admit.  The lack of originality is getting a little out of hand.

Look, sometimes a movie needs a sequel, the story demands it.

One of my favorite movies of all time is a sequel.

One of the best films ever made is a sequel.

But just because a movie does well, doesn't mean it has to have a sequel.

Sequels that are better than the original are extremely rare.

Sequels that do better than the original in the box office are extremely rare.

I want movies to be made when there is a story to tell.  When the characters and the plot are interesting and intriguing, when the action is natural and not repetitive, when there is real growth for the characters involved, that is when I want a movie to be made, not just because the audience knows and likes the characters and so we rush them out there again without any real reason to do so.

I know that studios don't often like to take chances on new (and unproven) stories, and would rather roll with characters that have already done well at the box office once (or twice, or three, four, or five times).

But look at it this way.  Without some original stories, we'll run out of films that can have their part two!

I would just like a year where it doesn't feel like the sequels outnumber the original films.  I know that isn't the case, but it certainly is in the case of which films get the most marketing behind them.  If Hollywood had their way, we would only know about the sequels.

Until Next Time, don't even get me started on remakes.

Really?  Why?


  1. Sequels you've listed that I will see in theaters in order of how awesome I expect them to be:

    1. Harry Potter 7.5 - The first part was easily my favorite Potter movie. With a definitive ending point, this will probably trump it.

    2. Paranormal Activity 3 - Though this isn't saying much, the Paranormal Activity series has actually been one of the most original non-indy series of horror movies of the decade. I would prefer Paranormal Activity sequels to crappy horror remakes any day of the week.

    3. Scream 4 - This one is just for nostalgia value. The movie will be referential and it will reflect the new trends that have emerged in the last decade of horror. It makes me wonder how a Scream movie can deal with the fact that the rules have disappeared, reality TV is the norm and torture porn is the trend.

    Right there with you on the remakes. Especially, as I have already noted, horror remakes. Blech.

  2. I am very excited about HP8 (or 7 and a half as you called it), but Prisoner of Azkaban is without question my favorite of the Harry Potter movies.

    Paranormal Activity 3 is, like Paranormal Activity 2, almost more of a remake than a sequel in my opinion. And it really annoys me how quickly they rush them out. It is pretty clear they don't care that much about quality.

    I am going to see Scream 4, but my hopes aren't really that high. There is, as you mention, some potential, but this series has been terrible after the first one.

  3. Horror films, whether they are original, sequels, or remakes, are cash cows for studios. They drive the movie industry, not because they are necessarily great works of art but because they have incredible profit margin allowing the production companies the resources to make the higher budget films. That is also why you will never see an A-list star in a horror film. You can spend $20 mil and make or remake a horror film that grosses $100 mil in 6 weeks. Then use that profit to make something like Batman or a film that has several high dollar actors. That is a general rule with purchasers in almost any industry as well. We'll give you what you want but you have to buy this other lesser quality product on the side as well.

    That being said the SAW series is genius from whatever angle you want to look at it. Low budget, great character development (over the course of the series) great plot lines (for horror films), each films has a unique spin/plot twist, for a low budget film they are well done from a technical point. Good lighting, proper camera angles, music, etc. Bad acting at times but again, good established actors eat away at your profit margin.

    I don't have a problem with sequels. Keep in mind that we live in a consumer driven world. We would all like to believe that films are made because there are artists who want to express their gifts and talents. That is great. We definitely need those people. But their films are shown in about 2% of the country at movie houses and Indie festivals and most of us never get to see their work. The reality is that the film industry has survived because people want to be entertained. They need an escape from reality. And $8 bucks and two hours gets you that. I appreciate it when a film has good acting and a good story line, but I don't need that to be entertained. I still like the Aliens/Predator movies in whatever form they take. I have seen all of the Rocky films, on purpose. I even watched Superman 4 at the theater. So yes I intend to see all of the movies you have listed, most on video as having two small children doesn't allow for the big theater very often. Not because I don't appreciate good film making, but because I support the industry good and bad and because sometimes watching fast cars, scary villians, animated genius, wizards, space heroes and aliens, mobsters, and even stupid Brittish comedies let's me escape reality from time to time. Movies inspire imagination.

    And yes, I am excited about yet another film with Lots of explosions, scantily clad women, little driving dialogue, and giant Kun-fu fighting robots from outer space that remind me of my child hood.

    But what do I know. I only have a degree from film school.

  4. Justin, while I agree with many of your points (except for about Saw, I cannot stand torture porn, especially since those types of movies have replaced the suspenseful, psychological horror movies that used to be the norm), my main point was that Hollywood's obsession with sequels is annoying because all of the marketing money goes to them, while films like Moon don't get seen at all, because the studios are too busy hyping their latest sequel that doesn't even have anyone involved from the first film. When a fantastic, original film is made, no one gets to see it, even though it would unquestionably provide more entertainment than the crap that they are promoting.

    A lot of these films they are promoting don't provide escapism, and definitely don't inspire imagination. They just plain suck. And Transformers 2 fits that description. Even Michael Bay has admitted it sucked.

    And, by the way, I also have a degree from film school.