Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 21




Worst. . . sequel. . . ever. . .?



Panelist: T-Rav

Spider-Man 3. No contest. There have been a lot of bad sequels, but none which killed my enthusiasm for the whole series so completely as this one did. It's the rare movie that just made me feel worse the longer I thought about it later.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Hmmmn . . . how about Jaws 3?

Panelist: ScottDS

Hmm... I can answer this in any number of ways. In terms of massive disappointments, my answer would have to be - wait for it - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In terms of sequels that actually taint the original, we have The Matrix sequels. But as far as total cinematic clusterfraks go, my answer would have to be Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which had a flawed premise to begin with, along with a couple of infamous producers - Golan and Globus of The Cannon Group - who slashed the budget at the last minute, which is why the visual effects are actually worse than the effects in the first film produced a decade earlier! You really can't help but feel bad for Christopher Reeve, who is probably the best thing in the movie. Oh, one more: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, which went direct to video. Sure, the other films aren't exactly works of art but this film makes the first one look like Citizen Kane. I'm embarrassed to own it but it came in the box with the other six films. If I celebrated Christmas, I'd use the DVD as a tree ornament!

Panelist: AndrewPrice

Highlander 2. Highlander was a cool movie with a unique idea which came to a natural and complete end at the end of the film. Highlander 2 had no idea how to re-open the series, so it came up with some just awful reasons to explain why the first film really wasn’t the end and it could all sort of begin again. The film was so bad they basically ignored it when they started the television series and the later sequels. Essentially, everyone pretends it didn’t happen.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

This is a hard one. There are so many. I was most disappointed in the sequel to National Treasure. With the success of the original, the sequel was just a cheap imitation and the subject could have been interesting – The Book of Secrets – but it went off the rails.

Comments? Thoughts?

113 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

Of course this question is a set-up almost by definition. There are so many sequels that were lousy and didn't deserve to be made in the first place. Looking back on it, though, I would give Kudos to Andrew. Spidey 3, Jaws 3, and Crystal Skull were not even really sequels, but sequels of sequels (or sequels of sequels of sequels.) The notion of that is almost too much to fathom, and nobody should be surprised to look and find the bottle cap showed we were way past expiration date.

Highlander, on the other hand is a pretty good choice, because it really is a sequel of a film that was good originally

ScottDS said...

I guess I kinda cheated (who, me?) by including so many titles but I'll stand by Superman IV as my definitive answer.

Spider-Man 3... one wonders what the film would've ended up like had the studio not pressured Sam Raimi to include Venom. In any case, it'll be interesting to see how the new Spider-Man reboot handles the origin story. (And yes, I think it's ridiculous we're getting a "reboot" only a little more than a decade after the first film!)

Jaws 3 has one thing going for it and that's Louis Gossett Jr. chewing scenery like no one's business: "You're talkin' 'bout some damn shark's mutha?" :-)

I've never seen Highlander II but a friend of mine would totally agree on this one.

I barely remember the second National Treasure film. I tend to lump them together, as in, "Yeah, those movies are just harmless fun." If you want a cheap imitation of an original, watch the second Hangover film - it's literally a carbon copy, except it's missing most of the humor.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

@Scott... and don't forget Bess Armstrong... always a positive in my book.

If the original sucked too does that make Beastmaster 2 even worse? At least the first one had Tanya Roberts.

I must agree Superman IV as the worst. The battle on the Moon is an embarrassing bit of film making.

I would also agree with Matrix Revolutions, but I actually like Matrix Reloaded (who can explain these things?)

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - you . . . . cheated? . . . nah!! I forgot the Superman films, but yeah, Superman IV could make a great poster boy. Floyd brings out a great point though. If the original sucked too (National Treasure) it kind of distracts from the essential badness of the sequal. In other words, take a really, really, great first film and totally desecrate it with a horrendous, cash-in sequal.

To that end, it is hard for me to include Hangover 2. I haven't (and would never) seen it, but I thought the original was pretty sophmoric. Admittedly, they all have to measure up to Animal House, an impossible task

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I'm going for Jaws 4--The Revenge. Rosie O'Donnell recommends it, though.

tryanmax said...

My mind went immediately to animation because, as sequels go, animated features generally have the worst. But most of those are DTV releases and naming one of those would be cheating, since DTV is an admission of suckitude.

So, I nominate Fievel Goes West. An American Tail is one of those rare non-Disney masterpieces that is of high production quality with memorable characters, catchy songs, AND it tells a good story. Sure, some of the themes are a little heavy for kids, but I remember enjoying it all the same when I was little. (I can still break into ♪♫There are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with chee-eese!♪♫ in a heartbeat.)

But Fievel Goes West, eh, what can I say? It was just so obviously a cloying attempt to cash in a second time that it retroactively cheapened the original.

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And a "hear hear!" on the Matrix sequels. I refuse to own them, no matter how deeply they discount the packaged set. Though I rather enjoy the AniMatrix.

Tennessee Jed said...

Tryanmax - Great thought to include animation. Now, I can only imagine how bad Fieval Goes West is, but again, I personally would deduct a couple style points, because the very notion of the original Fieval is such a Hollywood cliche to begin with.

Aw man, Hawk, just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water.

T-Rav said...

I haven't seen Jaws 3 or either of the Highlander movies, so I can't comment on those. But I agree, National Treasure II was disappointing. I don't think it was terrible, exactly, but whatever made the original work, this one didn't have it.

Scott, I know there's a lot of speculation that Raimi deliberately trashed the script to get back at the studio for making him put Venom in. No idea if it's true, but it doesn't reflect very well on him if so. And in fact, I'm inclined to credit it, because the problem wasn't just that there were three supervillains packed in, it was that all the leads acted in some very out-of-character ways and really went nowhere. That's different from just not being able to work out the kinks in the story.

I don't know whether to talk about Crystal Skull or not, because doing so would force me to acknowledge its existence.

Tennessee Jed said...

Oh, and Matrix would be a good choice. It was an excellent film which COULD have yielded a good franchise. Only problem is which sequal to choose.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed! You're right that there are far too many horrible sequels to count, but I do think each of the ones mentioned is good.

For me, Highlander 2 has always stuck out because I recall seeing it in theaters and leaving literally shaking my head saying "how could they make this film?" It was so destructive of the original because it wiped out the very essence of that film. It changed the whole meaning of what was going on and it left you feeling like you'd been used.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I too think it's ridiculous that we're getting a Spider Man reboot already.

I have to say, on the first National Treasure, it struck me very much that film should have been an Indiana Jones.

On Highlander, often times a film is so bad I recommend seeing it just for the train-wreck aspect of it. In this case I don't. This is the kind of film that will hurt your appreciation of the first film and the series. Life is better not knowing its details.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, There are parts of the Matrix sequels that I like very much, but they are another one of those that changed the meaning of the first and did a lot of damage in the process. Plus, they apparently couldn't afford editing so they just let things run until the effects guys' fingers got tired!

Yeah, Superman IV is a genuine turd.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's a good question -- if the original sucks, can a sequel really ruin it? Probably not. Certainly not as much as if you say... did a crappy sequel to something great like the Star Wars films. ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Anything Rosie recommends should pretty automatically make the list.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, you brought Batman Forever and Batman and Robin to mind. Wow! were they bad!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, So you don't like Snow White II: The Revenge? ;)

I have to admit I've never seen the Fievel films and I've rarely watched the DTV sequels because they do seem like pretty cynical attempts to milk parents for money. So with that caveat, I'm actually having a hard time thinking of any animation sequels that I've seen?

The Matrix sequels are truly frustrating. I feel like there is the potential for a great movie there, but they just made such a mess of it.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's a tough call on Crystal Skull, but definitely holds a place of dishonor on this list.

You should check out Highlander, it's a cool movie and it holds up very well.

AndrewPrice said...

As an aside, all of this makes me wonder about sequels in a general sense: what do people really want from sequels? Do they want the same story again? Do they just want to see the chemistry again, i.e. are they just looking to spend more time with the characters? Or are they looking to advance the story?

I'm honestly not sure what exactly people are looking for?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Yeah, those were horrible. I can't even explain why, they just didn't work.

tryanmax said...

Jed, I don't think An American Tail is any more cliched that the average animated feature. It's just that fairly tale cliches are swapped out for Hollywood cliches, but I think it remains on par. Besides, there's a bit of a wink and a nod in the title with the spelling of Tail.

But Goes West was just cliches stacked on top of cliches. Maybe Don Bluth took the original a little too seriously, but the love he put into the first was sucked out by Spielberg with the second.

tryanmax said...

If there is a DTV sequel to Snow White, you can rest assured I will not watch it. Part of loving animation is knowing what to avoid so you don't lose that love. A bad sci-fi or mystery can be absorbed, but bad animation feels like a betrayal. Goes West was a theatrical release that should have been DTV.

Individualist said...

Andrew

You know as I was reading T-
Rav and Scott's repsonses I was thinking it was Highlander 2 and you nailed it.

It was the worst cop out movie I have ever seen.

Trying to find a second place I guess I'd have to go with the Star Wars Prequels (all three of them). Way to destroy a franchise.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's an interesting observation and I agree. Bad animation is much harder to enjoy than bad science fiction, that's for sure. Somehow bad science fiction is usually forgivable, though I'm not sure why?

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Highlander 2 is one of the few films that actually angered me watching it, i.e. feeling angry that they'd made it and that I'd paid to see it.

I don't even count Highlander as my favorite film or anything. In fact, it's probably not in my Top 20. Yet Highlander 2 was just wrong.

BevfromNYC said...

Hey Scott, are you sure the Spider-Man reboot isn't going to be the musical version?

Okay, yes, the Matrix, yes, SupermanX4, Spidey and all the rest. I hate to bring this up, but truly THE worst sequel...Scarlett, the television sequel to...yes...Gone With The Wind. I know, I know, you think the only movie I've ever seen must be GWTW related, but it's just not true. Well almost not true. But Scarlett has to be THE worst because it actually tried to answer the question that no one really wanted answered including Margaret Mitchell which is why she ended the book the way she did...Does Rhett come back?

ScottDS said...

^Bev - I don't believe the musical has anything to do with the films.

Re: tryanmax' comment about the Batman films, I actually kinda like Batman Forever. It ain't high art but it's still a lot of fun. I thought Val Kilmer was a good replacement for Michael Keaton and the film was originally much darker but a lot of that material (which is on the 2-disc DVD and Blu-Ray) was cut for time.

As for Batman and Robin... yeah, even director Joel Schumacher apologizes on the DVD extras. Though I have to admit, all things considered, Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably the best thing in the movie. Now that might be damning with faint praise but considering everything the movie is, he fits in perfectly.

Tennessee Jed said...

to your question, Andrew: I think Sequels work best with characters that are episodic. This is why characters such as the comic book super heroes, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood etc. are all good candidates for sequels. The key, to me, is (surprise) tell a good story.

David Gerrold who wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles" had a good take on it. If the event is (or should be) the most important event in the characters life, then no sequel. However, once you start doing episodes, a series of "facts" is constructed around the characters. By nature, this becomes high potential for cliche. Gerrold refers to it as "hardening of the arteries." The writers are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Make the characters do something out of character and you are pilloried. Don't and you end up making Hangover 2.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I haven't seen that. I recall they issued a second book many years later, but I didn't recall a movie. That does sounds pretty stupid though. That sounds as stupid as continuing a fairy tale once the prince and princess "live happily ever after."

"I know, let's do a story based on their first year of marriage! Everyone will love that!" Uh... no.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott and Bev, If they did base it on the play, that would result in many injured Spidermen, wouldn't it?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's a very good point. If the first film is supposed to be the highlight of the character's lives, then doing a sequel can only cheapen the original.

What I've noticed though is that most sequels simply repeat the first film with a slightly different take. Crocodile Dundee went to NY the first time and then reversed it and went to Australia for the sequel. F/X simply changed the identity of the bad guys and basically repeated itself. Ghostbusters 2 just had them deal with a whole new ghost. Those all proved popular.

That makes me think people just want to spend more time with the same characters.

In fact, I'm having a hard time thinking of a sequel that really branched off and became something very different than the original.

DUQ said...

Tough question as there are so many! I think you all made excellent choices. I can't think of an example right now, but I hate sequels where the original actors won't come back and they try to stick you with a substitute.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - I would say you are probably right. People just want everything the same. Of course, we would all agree, popular and good, while not mutually exclusive, are hardly synonomous, either.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I hate that too, though I also can't think of any examples. Was Peter Weller in RoboCop III?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's very true -- popular does not equal good and it's the rare sequel that stands the test of time. Some have, but most haven't.

One thing I've always wondered is if you wanted to do a "sequel" to something like Ronin, would you be better off simply doing another film using the same actors and the same themes or would you be better off trying to find a reason to bring them all back together for another adventure?

I'm betting you would be better off just bringing the actors back together.

Doc Whoa said...

Nice list everyone and excellent discussion. I think people want comfort from most sequels. I think they enjoyed the "feel" of the prior film and they simply want to feel that again.

My worst sequel is "The Crystal Skull." That's a film everyone involved should be apologizing for.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - from a moneymaking standpoint, probably right. As much as I like Ronin, it never cried out to me "this needs a sequel." That said, whether sequel or new characters, a good plot will help. The sequel issue adds the burden (not insurmountable) of concocting a plausible reason they get back together.

Tennessee Jed said...

Doc Whoa - I agree, and it is hard to argue with your choice either.

Tennessee Jed said...

As a season ticket holder for the Lady Vols, who play Sunday afternoons, I must bow out for a while. Party On!

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, I get that feeling too. I suspect that's the reason so many repeats more than sequels make so much money?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I never thought Ronin needed a sequel, but I would have loved to have seen the same actors in a similar film. I thought they had excellent chemistry. But it always struck me that a sequel or prequel would be problematic. That's why I've often wondered about doing the same thing only in a different film. Not quite a reboot, but similar.


Good luck to your team!

BevfromNYC said...

But do you think there is a difference between a movie sequel and a movie serial? I tend to forgive super-hero or adventure movies as they are serials and, differing production values aside, are supposed to be formulaic - Indiana Jones, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman (any of the -Man movies).

Jaws II and III, Back to the Future II and III, and Scarlett were clearly sequels specifically produced to capitalize on their originals' popularity.

AndrewPrice said...

Good question Bev. Maybe we're being too generic in our categories? Maybe we need: Serials, Sequels, and Reboots.

That might make more sense of the picture as there seem to be distinct "rules" set up for each.

T-Rav said...

Mmmm. Batman Forever versus Batman and Robin. I have to say, I think Forever was worse. Don't get me wrong, the pile of crap Joel Schumacher turned out was nothing to write home about either, but every part of Forever was just awful, from the acting to the story to the action. All three of those should have quotation marks around them, incidentally. I would wince at Batman and Robin if I had to watch it again, but I couldn't stand to watch Batman Forever again at all, and I've only seen it all the way through once.

BevfromNYC said...

Okay for all of you Star Trek movie fans. You probably have already seen this clip but, I swear they must have been reading this blog...

This was on the Big Bang Theory:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqQmfCOGmFU

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Welcome to the world of Trek!

Here's your link: LINK

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I have a hard time watching either, but I agree with you. I can't even bring myself to watch Forever again, though I can watch the other one. . . if forced.

T-Rav said...

Incidentally, on this idea of sequels vs. serials, the great Harry Plinkett made an interesting point about sequels while reviewing Crystal Skull. Basically, he said that people talk about wanting something new, but they don't really mean it; they like to have or do the same thing over and over again. When making movie sequels, this means you usually have to go for a "same, yet different" approach, by taking the same format and outline of the original and dressing it up with different settings. This isn't always the case, though, because sometimes a sequel can go off in a genuinely new direction and actually build on the original. (Incidentally, this is where he says Indiana Jones 4 really failed; with nearly twenty years having passed since Last Crusade, they should have gone with something risky and different, but instead went with something like an imitation of all three movies together, and failed miserably in the process.)

I think this is why Terminator 2 is ranked by a lot of people as one of the greatest sequels ever made. Not only did it blow people's minds by making Arnold the (sort-of) good guy, it also showed a lot of character development between Sarah and John Connor, and put out interesting ideas about changing the future and so on. So maybe the "same, yet different" thing works for serials better than sequels?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Plinkett is a movie savant, that's for sure. I find their analysis of everything to be really solid and insightful.

And I think he's right. I think the majority of the public simply wants more of the same from sequels. And if you diverge too far from the formula, then they get bent out of shape.

But I also agree that serials are different and they specifically require something more than "more of the same." In fact, "more of the same" just annoys people at that point.

Interesting.

Individualist said...

Does a movie made form an old TV show count...

Because it is does the Brady Bunch remake in the theaters... man that was awful and on top of that it was insulting to the work of the original creators.

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav - The Indiana Jones movies were specifically produced to re-introduce the "serial" concept of movie making so popular from the beginning of movie making through the '50's and in popular storytelling since the beginning of time. It really was designed for Indiana to have a new adventure and new girl for years to come. That's what made the time lapse from Last Crusade to Crystal Skull so disappointing.

As an aside - Serials probably fell out of favor in movie making with the rise of television because television proved to be better suited to the genre.

tryanmax said...

Taking the convo back a bit...

Andrew, I think bad animation is hard to palate because we all know how painstaking it is. The question is, how could they spend so much time with this and not produce something better?

RE: "I know, let's do a story based on their first year of marriage!" You just nailed the premise of Cinderella II: Dreams Come True. (Haven’t seen it, just read the back cover.)

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Returning to the present...

Reboots are more akin to remakes, so they should not be regarded as sequels. I see Bev’s distinction b/w sequels and serials, but for the purposes of this discussion, I don’t see it as mattering much. If a serial is true to its characters, it shouldn’t end up on the “Worst. Sequel. Ever.” list. And if it fails its characters, then it deserves to be listed.

BevfromNYC said...

"I see Bev’s distinction b/w sequels and serials, but for the purposes of this discussion, I don’t see it as mattering much."

Tryanmax - Hah! I knew it would come to this. It's because I'm a woman, isn't it? ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Yep. That's the reason. ;)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I suspect the reason people are less forgiving of bad animation is that animation seems so hard to get wrong because it's all so simple in story and formulaic. That's definitely a faulty appearance, but I think that's how most people view it.

On the point about serials v. sequels, I think the problem is that they are all lumped together unless they are true "serials" in the old school sense of being a single film cut to pieces. I don't know if Hollywood just decided to blur the line or never really thought about the line, but both serials and sequels are treated as sequels by "the industry" today.

BevfromNYC said...

Actually if I was really a good propagandist I should have cut Tryanmax's statement to read -

"I see Bev’s distinction b/w sequels and serials, but...I don’t see it as mattering much."

That makes it much better or worse depending on your perspective.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Or

"I see Bev’s distinction b/w sequels and serials, but [as she's a woman]... I don’t see it as mattering much."

If you're gonna smear, you might as well go all the way! :)

T-Rav said...

Why is a woman even discussing Indiana Jones at all? I mean, come on. ;-)

But seriously, it always boggled my mind that they never did an Indiana Jones movie set in World War II. I mean, he obviously doesn't like the Nazis, and I'm sure he wouldn't have been a big fan of ruthless Japanese imperialists either, so why not set up something on that basis, if you were going to do a fourth movie at all? I don't get it.

tryanmax said...

No, no, no! You've got it all wrong. My comment had nothing to do with my latent sexism and everything to do with my latent antisemitism. Sheesh!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, We got sued by the Justice Department, Film Division. ;)

That's a good point really that World War II would have been great setting against which to set an Indiana Jones film. I suspect they set Skull in the 1950s though because Harrison Ford was getting old and because they wanted to give him a son so they could keep the series going -- which wouldn't have worked if they set it only 5-10 years after the first three.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm glad to hear it. Sexism is bad, but antisemitism is Obamatastic these days... just go look at any lefty website.

BevfromNYC said...

Tryanmax - Oh, well then, as Andrew points out, that's okay.

Anyway, I understand that Harrison Ford is the consummate Indiana, but they could have gotten someone else to take over so they wouldn't have to fast forward to his son. Btw, Indy even HAVING a son goes against the adventurer/hero archetype. But changing actors worked for the Bond serials mostly. And what character is more iconic that Bond and what actor is more recognized at Bond than Sean Connery?

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav - Be very wary of kittens hidden behind doors...just sayin'.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I agree completely. I love Harrison Ford as Indi, but enough time had passed that they could have gotten away with a new guy. People would have been upset at first, but the actor could have won them over with a good performance -- and then they would have had a Bond-like franchise.

And I agree that the idea of the superhero having a son just seems wrong. I had the same problem with Star Trek II -- it just wasn't right for Kirk to have a son.... especially a whiny wimp.

tryanmax said...

Okay then, let's go off on another tangent. Who would you cast as a replacement for Indie? I'm having trouble thinking of present-day actors that could fit the role. All I can come up with is Nathan Fillion.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I thought about that question too and I think there's a problem. That problem is that Hollywood has lately been fascinated with pretty-boys who couldn't play this kind of role. I don't know many young actors who could do this. How about Aaron Eckhart?

tryanmax said...

Andrew, that's a good pick. I agree, I can't think of anyone on the so-called 'A' list. Something like that could really make a career for an unknown. Hey, I could lose a few pounds and move to California!

BevfromNYC said...

Sean Bean...I know he's British, but he has the rugged, manly-man-ness to be an adventurer/hero/professor.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I like Sean Bean, he would be a good choice -- although he would have to prove he could do the humor. But I could definitely support Sean Bean.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Good luck with the move! LOL!

I suspect that ultimately, picking an unknown would be best to replace Ford because whoever takes the role would need to sell the role. And showing up as "the guy who played...." might hinder that. This would be a difficult assignment.

ScottDS said...

Re: sequels and serials, even Spielberg says (in one of the retrospective documentaries in the Jurassic Park Blu-Ray set) that he considers The Lost World his first true sequel and that the Indy films are serials.

There's one film I forgot to mention in my (already long) answer: Mission: Impossible: II. I recently watched it again and, oh boy, what a freaking mess. I've read there's a longer cut out there somewhere but the film we got appears to have been cut to the point of incoherence. The villain is bland beyond belief, Tom Cruise and the female lead have next to no chemistry, Ving Rhames is used only as comic relief, and it's obvious the film was written around pre-arranged action set pieces that the filmmakers wanted.

I can't blame John Woo for feeling hampered by the US studio system.

(Having said that, the new M:I film is a lot of fun!)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I thought MI was really good. I enjoyed it a lot. MI-2 pretty much killed my enthusiasm for the series.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Sorry, I missed your comment. I have to say that I actually thought the first Brady Bunch movie was brilliant and truly loved the series.

ScottDS said...

I am a huge fan of the first M:I film, even though it was a bit convoluted. I borrowed the novelization from the school library and after reading it, the film actually made more sense! And that CIA break-in scene is still being parodied today.

I also enjoyed the third film but I have to say Ghost Protocol is just a blast. Stupid, noisy, flashy... but all in the best possible way.* I look forward to whatever live-action film Brad Bird does next.

(*I know we complain about stupid, noisy, and flashy a lot around here but it's like anything else: there's a right way and a wrong way of doing it.)

Individualist said...

Wow Andrew

It did not seem to you to be somehow moking the old series by trying to make them look like weirdos for not having spikes in their head and listening to grunge metal.

I dunno maybe its me

Individualist said...

On Crystal Skull

Shouldn't Indi and his father be immoprtal at that point because they drank form the grail cup

maybe I m issed something

AndrewPrice said...

I thought the most ingenious thing in MI-1 was when it went absolutely silent in the computer room. That was a brilliant use of sound (or non-sound) to heighten suspense. You could literally hear everyone in the theater sucking in their breath when I saw it.

I agree there are good big shiny things and bad big shiny things. And sometimes it's good when a film is just fun even if it is mindless.

I haven't seen the new one, but I figure I'll check it out at some point.

I don't now Brad Bird, but I am a fan of his brother "Big"'s work in public television. ;)

T-Rav said...

Indi, they didn't become immortal because the power of the Grail only extended to the Great Seal in the entry room. That's why when Elsa crossed it holding the cup, everything went to heck--that's a no-no. And earlier in the movie, they mentioned that the knight's brothers had spent 150 years or something in that place, but died after they left. So immortality would only have worked had they stayed within that boundary.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Actually, I think the exact opposite message was intended. It's the outside world which is shown as crappy (in fact, the "horror" of the modern world is very much overstated to make it all seem worse). The outside/modern world is shown as an unhappy place of drugs, gangs, and sexual perversion as normal.

But the Brady world is shown as a near-paradice. And no matter what obstacles they encounter, the Bradys keep finding ways to succeed. Then, slowly, the outside world comes to see their way as better -- note all the conversions by the end of the film when people who originally said nasty things about them came to defend them and join them.

Check it out again and I think you'll see that the "good guys" are the Bradys (even if they are presented comically) and the things the film tells you to reject are all the modern characters.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think you're right. But if you think about it, that's a pretty lousy version of immortality. It's really not much of a prize. In fact, it seems like the kind of prize that only someone who was terrified of death would want -- not anyone who enjoyed life.

T-Rav said...

Bev, the kittens (and the Justice Department) should be more wary of my dastardly booby-traps. ;-)

In reality, you know that James Bond would have to have about thirty or forty kids scattered all over the globe, and would be suffering from about five different forms of venereal disease. But of course it's a movie and we don't think of him that way. Same goes for Indiana Jones. I don't guess Mutt Williams or whatever he was called was so bad, in and of himself, but the very idea of Indy as a family man just isn't right somehow.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Brad Bird comes from the world of animation... he (co-)wrote and directed The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. M:I:Ghost Protocol is his first live-action film.

And I'm also a huge fan of The Brady Bunch films. I even enjoy the second one even though it's pretty much more of the same.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I thought the second one was good, but wasn't much more than more of the same. But I did think the first one was brilliant on many, many levels. It's actually at or near the top of my list of favorite "reboots" from television to film.

tryanmax said...

Returning to animation, I can’t believe I didn’t name Cars 2. What a pile! The first was just a charming little kids’ story. The sequel ruined everything by trying to go blockbuster, ignoring most of the original characters, and jamming in an alt-fuel message. As a fan of the original with a little boy who loves Mater, I felt very cheated.

AndrewPrice said...

I had a hard time watching Cars. It felt the same to me as Robots -- very generic movie. I haven't seen Cars 2 because I wasn't even interested in the concept, but hearing about the politics just added to my disinterest.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I guess it would be something only a devoutly religious person could do. The knight believed it was duty to protect the Grail until a successor arrived, and whether he truly enjoyed being immortal or not, that was his job to do. Besides, I think immortality anywhere would eventually become unbearable to most people.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

You mentioned Ghostbusters II earlier and I have to say, I've always liked the film. I absolutely love Peter MacNicol's character ("Vy am I drippings vith goo?") and the whole movie is worth it for the courtroom scene. And the evil Vigo painting is very effective - the film was released when I was 6 and it scared the hell out of me for years.

However, looking back at it now, some flaws stick out: the film seems a bit rushed at times, some effects shots are less than perfect, and it kinda bothers me that they change the Ghostbusters logo in the film. As poster art, I get it... but it makes absolutely no sense for the "No Ghosts" logo to be flashing the "two" sign in the film itself.

There are also chunks of narrative that were cut out, including a Louis/Slimer subplot, a longer scene with "Evil Ray," and a cameo by Eugene Levy as Louis' cousin Sherman (!).

At this point, I'd be surprised if we ever get a third film. Reportedly, Bill Murray tore the script to shreds and sent the shreds back to the studio.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I don't dislike Ghostbusters II at all. As far as "more of the same" sequels go, I think it's top notch. It not only managed to recapture the original chemistry of the film, but it effectively added new parts (like the Rick Moranis and Anne Potts love story). It's not as tight as the original, but sequels rarely are.

Interestingly, I know a lot of people don't like it because it's darker than the first one and some people actually think it's too scary, but I think that helped the film because it kept everything from becoming too fluffy.

On the third, I'm honestly glad if Murray stopped it. A third sequel now would be pretty horrid. That said, I'm sure they're salivating to get their hands on this property and exploit the heck out of it. I actually thought they had finally agreed?

P.S. Eugene Levy would have ruined the film just by being seen on camera.

ScottDS said...

I forgot, you're not a Levy fan (even of his SCTV stuff?). :-)

I think you're right - the second film is a little scarier... the villain is scarier, the music score is scarier...

I actually went to the real "art museum"... the building is the National Museum of the American Indian at 1 Bowling Green. And I have seen the real firehouse. I didn't go in but I could see through the open doors a Ghostbusters sign on the wall.

As for a third film, I would just hate to see them cater to today's audience with a different (read: less subtle) brand of humor. I did, however, read an awesome plot idea written by a fan involving the NY phone system and the guys discover it's the nervous system for some supereme being.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, when I'm appointed dictator, one of my first acts will be to have him digitally removed from all films in which he's appeared.

It definitely is a scarier film, but I think it works. If they had kept it lighter, then I think it would have felt like a faded copy of the original, but by making it darker they actually gave it its own purpose and some depth, which made the film stand alone. In fact, I think the real key is that once you get past the introduction where they try to link the two films, then it goes into an independent story and it stops doing things like referring back to the original. That gives it credibility as its own film.

Compare that with other sequels which are not only the exact same story all over again, but constantly make references to the prior film and keep going back to the well throughout the film by introducing prior characters and giving them all some scene -- and doing this spread throughout the film. Those films feel like they aren't secure enough in themselves to stand alone.

On III, that's an interesting idea for a third film, but I would honestly hate to see what they would come up with to pander to modern audiences.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. On that point, I finally saw Money Never Sleeps and I was really disappointed. And I think the reason the film fails is that it's a victim of it's time -- it's full of mindless, undirected hate.

Cheryl said...

Legally Blonde 2 - Red, White & Blonde.

Horrible!

AndrewPrice said...

Cheryl, I've never seen the sequel, but I did like the original a lot! :)

Tennessee Jed said...

Lots of great comments today. Sorry I missed so much of it. Lady Vols did beat Vandy btw.

AndrewPrice said...

That's ok, Jed. Glad your team won

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I just stumbled upon this infographic in my search for BH links:

I think it's appropriate! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's funny!

rlaWTX said...

The Star Wars prequels.
Crystal Skull is an excellent suggestion. I have only seen parts of the Spidey movies that followed the first one. I wasn't too fond of the Peter Parker they created in #1.
I really liked the newest M:I. and they set it up for sequels... but I liked the Renner character, so that's all good with me.

My grandmother thinks "Scarlett" the book is a crime against humanity. I didn't think it was that bad - but (don't tell Bev this part) I strongly dislike GWTW. Anyway, when you have to have a contest to find a writer to "finish" another author's concept, then I think you are probably going in a bad direction...

someone mentioned that Feival was a cliche - I don't think that he (plucky immigrant) was as cliched in the 80s when the movie came out - it seems that that is more modern trope. Or maybe I was just young enough to like it when it came out (some-where out there...)

I looked up E Levy - I don't like him either...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, "crime against humanity" -- LOL!

I think it's always a bad idea when another writer is brought in to continue a series or revive a series after the original author dies. It's really rare that they can re-capture what made the original work so great, they too often end up trying to answer questions that shouldn't be answered, and they typically end up writing a bad sequel where they just expand a bit on everyone's lives.

Glad to hear you're on the E. Levy bandwagon! :)

You make a good point about Fievel, by the way, that sometimes these things aren't cliches because they come before they become a cliche. I don't know if that's the case with Fievel as I haven't seen it. But it's very possible that it came before people would have seen it as a cliche.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent discussion!

Lessee, I guess I'll go with Escape From LA since all the good ones (bad ones?) are already taken (not that there isn't plenty to choose from).

I don't really mind rehashing the same plot all that much IF everything else is just as good as the original (assuming the original IS good, that is and I liked EFNY).

"And I agree that the idea of the superhero having a son just seems wrong."

I don't agree. Look at Charlie Chan for instance. :^)

I think it comes down to whether or not the writing, acting and directing is good.

Same goes true for other things such as marriage.
Worked well in the Thin Man series/sequels plus he had a son AND a dog.

Of course, in these cases, Crystal Bore and Star Trek 2 and 3 I concur.
Unfortunately, they did it all wrong.

I actually liked LeBouf in Live Free Or Die Hard so I know the kid has talent but his part in Crystal Commies was idiotic at best, but then so was everyone elses.

Incidently, ever since Harrison Ford went over the rainbow I can't think of one good, memorable role he has taken, which is sad.

As for a new Indy, I like both those suggestions and will even throw in Timothy Oliphant or Hugh Jackman.

However, I fear they did so much damage with Crystal Boogaloo it will be a long time, if ever, before we see a reboot of Indy.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Here's a list of flicks I hope never have sequels (for obvious reasons):

Groundhog Day (Again)
Saving Private Ryan (again)
E.T. (This time it's out for blood!)
Schindlers (other) list
Saw 25 (because really, can there ever be enough mindless torture porn)
Star Wars (the extermination of Jar Jar Binks) (Okay, I might actually watch that one).

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

If I were king of the world only Dan Nolan (or a director thats just as good) will be allowed to make sequels.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I really like Timothy Oliphant, I just haven't cared much for his movies. I'd love to see him in something "better." :)

All genuine heroes have dogs... often dachshunds! ;)

I agree with you about EFL.A.. The original was great but the follow up was a confused mess with all kinds of stupid, pointless politics thrown in. Donald Pleasance was great as the President, Cliff Robertson was horrible.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Nice list. I hope none of them have sequels as well, but I suspect we will get reboots at some point.

I agree with you about Nolan, but sadly sequels tend to be handed to hacks who apparently are instructed: "don't do anything rash or creative." It's like trained monkey cinema.

rlaWTX said...

Oliphant as Indi has potential... (Justified is back tomorrow!)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I haven't seen that yet, but I hear good things.

Eric P said...

So many great suggestions above, adding Caddyshack 2, Blues Brothers 2000 and Eddie and the Cruisers 2.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Wow, I forgot about Blues Brothers 2... what an atrocity!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye! Justified is one of the few shows I look forward to.

"Brad Bird comes from the world of animation... he (co-)wrote and directed The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. M:I:Ghost Protocol is his first live-action film."

That's quite a resume! I haven't seen the newest MI but those are all solidly good films that Bird worked on.

I would think that anyone who can do well with animation can do well with regular films.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I think Caddyshack II is a stupid movie but there is one thing in it I love: Dan Aykroyd's shell-shocked veteran character, who is basically a rip-off of Bill Murray's character in the first film. I actually like the scenes with him and Robert Stack.

"In future conversations, you will refer to me as... uh, Mr. Sanderson and I will refer to you as... uh, Mrs. Esterhouse. Goodbye, Mrs. Esterhouse."

I even referenced this film in a sketch writing class I took in NY and the teacher got it!

As for Blues Brothers 2000, John Landis has admitted that they basically whored themselves out to make the film and that it was only Aykroyd's passion for the music that willed the film into existence. The soundtrack is excellent but the film itself comes off as cheap, sterile, too ridiculous to take seriously (not that the first film was 100% realistic!), and Landis circa 1998 wasn't the same director he was 18 years earlier.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Landis did really change a good deal, didn't he? I can't blame them for cashing in, but they at least should have written a competent film. I was barely able to watch Blues Brothers 2 and I have zero desire to ever see it again. It was just horrible.

Outlaw13 said...

Porky's 2: The Next Day

Meatballs 2

Caddyshack 2 (the worst of the bunch)

They all were missing members of the cast that made the first ones original and funny...and oh yeah, they sucked.

Iron Eagle 2 was horrible, the Iron Eagle was bad as well so it didn't have far to fall. If they ever make Zookeeper 2: Zookeepier...that will suck as well because South Park said it would.

Mycroft said...

3 words:

Conan the Destroyer

AndrewPrice said...

Mycroft, Yeah, that one stank. On it's own, it's probably not a horrible film, but compared to the first one it was putrid.

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