10 sequels that tarnished the brilliance of the original

You would be hard pushed these days to go a week without hearing about, or seeing, a movie sequel being stuffed down your throat. The desire to turn movie’s into franchises, money making juggernauts, means that integrity and genuine creativity goes right out the window. To stick our finger up to lazy film making, here’s our top 10 sequels, to brilliant films, that didn’t really need to be made.

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1) The Matrix Reloaded (& Revolutions) – When The Matrix was released in 1999 is was so god-damn good, so unbelievably cool, so original and well made, it collectively blew the minds of everyone who saw it. When we found out it was a trilogy, we were excited. Giddy some might say. Then we watched the sequels and it all started going a bit wrong. What had begun as clever became slightly confused, and what had been original felt stale by the third film. It wasn’t that The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded were bad, the special effects and action sequences were first rate, it was that the idea from the original Matrix was lost. Rules that had been created were broken and by the end no one had a clue who or what the fuck Neo was. I’m still not sure to be honest…

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2) The Hangover 2 – The Hangover franchise has garnered a lot of criticism over the past few years for it’s undeniably awful sequels, but we really have to remember that the original was pretty darn funny. The jokes were fresh, story well put together and Zach Galifianakis was new, exciting and not the most annoying man on earth. Cue a totally unnecessary and lazy sequel and all the credibility for the original goes out the window. Boring, unfunny, annoying and shit; the most heinous of mercenary film making.

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3) Star Wars Prequels – Fuck you, George. I hope you and Jar Jar Bollocks find a small hole to crawl into where you can waste away and hopefully no one will ever remember you existed. You proved that the magic of Star Wars was due to the collective thinking of a larger team, and if it had been down to you we may not have even had the original films. Given sole creative control you royally fucked it up.

Check out what George Lucas didn’t actually said in 2011:

“I took a lot of crap for Jar Jar Binks, But let me say here once and for all: He was the best damn character in any of the six movies. He was by far my favorite. He was funny, he was kind and moral and he ended up playing a pivotal role in setting the course of the Emperor’s actions in motion. If not for him, the story would’ve gone nowhere. Nowhere.”  You’re still a hack director, George.

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4) Men in Black 2 – Now, unlike some of the other stinkers on this list, Men in Black 2 wasn’t wholly horrific. There were some new aliens, some cool new weapons, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were in it…. It was just so distinctly average, and compared to the original it was bad. Men in Black was action-packed, scary (yes that cockroach guy was terrifying), funny and it was a delight to watch. Left at just one film Men in Black would be a cult classic. As it is we’ve had another two, over-egged the pudding and what could have been a single delight has been replicated and killed. R.I.P M.I.B.

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5) Kronk’s New Groove – Now Emperors New Groove is by far my favourite Disney film. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you are doing and go and watch it right now. This is a film that pitched the humour so perfectly it appealed to adults and children, so it pains me to have to include the straight to DVD follow up in this list. However, not as much as it pained me to have to see my favourite characters wheeled out to try and milk some of the success from the first movie. Patrick Warburton is a genius voice actor and, arguably, Kronk made the original film, but the sequel goes to show you can have too much of a good thing. When the comic relief becomes the film, then the jokes quickly dry up.

This looks nothing like the original. WTF is up with his hair?
This looks nothing like the original. WTF is up with his hair?

6) Son of the Mask – The gif is back, but there really in only one way to express how I feel about Son of the Mask.

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Can anyone in L.A let us know if you have got out alive?
Can anyone in L.A let us know if you have got out alive?

7)  Escape from L.A. – Escape from New York has a classic, 1980s sci-fi premise; in near-future 1997, New York has become so overrun with crime that it has been turned into a maximum security prison. When the President’s plane crashes in Manhattan, the only person that can save him from a heinous buggering is convicted burglar, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell). Directed by John Carpenter, this seminal piece of science fiction delivers thrills, one-liners and a Die Hard-esque tone. Escape from L.A. doesn’t have half the heart & soul of the original despite being directed by Carpenter, which is a shame because Plissken is a badass.

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8)  [Insert Genre] Movie – I’m taking genre liberties here (I’m so postmodern) and am going to consider Scream (which is one of the best horror films ever made) the mothership to the scores of terrible ‘parody’ movies that have come out since; Scary Movie started the ball rolling, then we got [in no particular order] Date Movie, Scary Movie 2, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Scary Movie 3, Not Another Teen Movie, Meet the Spartans, Scary Movie 4, Superhero Movie and Scary Movie 5. If you, or anyone you know, were involved at any level of production on any of these movies, hang your head in shame. Parodies are great…when they are done like Airplane or Blazing Saddles.

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9)  Saw 2-1000 – [music] Duh duh DUH, duh duh duh duh duh DUH duh duh! Saw was awesome. Regardless of the acting, which at some points was pretty melodramatic, the twist at the end of the first movie was EPIC. The first time I…saw…it, my jaw hit the floor. Then I see’d Saw 2 and it was no way near as good, despite having some pretty good gore. Then the rest of the franchise came out, and by this point I was indifferent to the imagery, jaded if you will, and the films never really recovered. Saw 3 was probably the best out of the rest in my opinion, but Saw was the movie which, if you haven’t, you all have to see.

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10)  Transformers 1-4 – Bla, bla, anti-Bay circlejerk, bla bla. That’s what is often spouted online but without much to back it up. However, the affection I have for the original Transformers cartoon from the 80s is huge. I own the series’ on DVD, have still got my favourite figurines, and that’s why I cannot understand how the Transformers movies have done so well. Originally concepted as a way to sell Hasbro toys, the cartoon had an 80s innocence. It was good vs evil, a true 80s narrative. Cars, planes, trucks and robots, maybe with a white conservative Christian subtext, but who cares? It didn’t work on me anyway, and I just loved the battles and one liners. Then I saw the first Transformers movie and my heart collapsed in on itself. I’m sure there are some idiots out there that enjoyed these movies, but when you go from selling toys to a sexist, machinist wankfest, you know your childhood has been pillaged and left to burn inside a bum’s rusty bin.

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10 childhood VHS tapes that got worn out from repeated viewings

Ah the humble VHS how you are gone but not forgotten. In a time before Itunes, torrents and the cocky DVD all we had to rely on against the mundane predictability of terrestrial TV was our trusty video cabinet. Harking back to a simpler time, here’s our stroll down memory lane with a look at some of the video’s we kept on coming back to as wee children.

1) Ghostbusters 2: IH

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‘Doe.’

‘Ray.’

Egon.

The dialogue in this movie is superb. The acting is bang on. The special effects are still great. I watched it again at the beginning of this week and it still makes me laugh out loud. There are also a few decent scares. If you haven’t seen this movie, where have you been and what is your problem?

2) The Mask: LJ

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The film that made Jim Carrey’s name in Hollywood was a staple of any child’s video collection. The film is bizarre, sexy, funny, exciting and as a kid I bloody loved it. Also the special effects in this film are mind blowing. How they got Cameron Diaz’s boobs to look that big is still a mystery to me.

3) Labyrinth: IH

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Ain’t got no problem…

‘You remind me of the babe.’

And that’s all I’d need to say to you to kick off what is, arguably, the best back-and-forth between a Goblin and his minions in cinema history. Jim Henson lit up my childhood with this movie; it’s complete with awesome puppets, catchy music and a really fantastical story, and for that I am truly grateful.

4) Peter Pan: LJ

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A Disney classic and a firm favourite of mine as a youngster. Peter Pan has been re-spun in many forms over the years, but this 1953 Disney animation has an air of nostalgia, character and beauty that is hard to beat.

5) Beetlejuice: IH

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My pursuit to be scared shitless started early, and my love of Beetlejuice is evidence of that. Tim Burton’s most original work was one of my absolute favourites from a very young age. It all gets very weird very quickly, and the final marriage scene has one of the oddest uses of the Banana Boat Song I’ve ever seen.

Daaaay-O!

6) Annie: LJ

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The 1982 adaptation of the Broadway hit Annie was a hugely loved in my household. Despite criticism at the time that the movie did an injustice to the original stage production, as a child, and blossoming musical fanatic, Annie had it all. The songs were catchy, sets impressive and ending satisfyingly schmaltzy.

7) Aladdin: IH

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Is Aladdin the best Disney film ever? I’m sure both of us would argue for and against this statement, but it was certainly the best Disney film featuring a flying carpet. Regardless, it’s still a firm favourite, and I even perfected Abu’s voice as a tribute.

8) Look Who’s Talking: LJ

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Bruce Willis as baby. What’s not to like? With Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and lots of singing sperm, Look Who’s Talking had charm in abundance. As well as a banging 80’s soundtrack, genuinely sweet love story, oh and did I mention Bruce Willis as a baby? This film rules. We’ll pretend the third film with the talking dogs never happened..

9) Legend: IH

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Legend is one of my go-to movies if I want that nostalgic feeling, and probably more so than any of my choices on this list. Directed by Ridley Scott, Legend is an adult kids film, much like a lot of films from the period. They really do not make them like this anymore. What do kids nowadays have…Jack The Giant Slayer? It’s doesn’t have a patch on Legend.

10) Star Wars: LJ

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Too young to have seen the Star Wars films first time around I remember going to get them in the cinema when they were re-released and then subsequently getting the wonderful gold and silver VHS box set one Christmas. I don’t need to remind anyone just how good these films are but they are SO damn good. Cult classics and some of the best characters ever created on film.

So, here are our 10 (5 each) movies. What movies did you wear out as a kid? Saturdays are never going to be as good as they were when you were 5. All day VHS sessions seem a millennium ago…

Red Letter Media Star Wars Reviews

 

If you have a spare couple of hours and hate the Star Wars prequels please check out Red Letter Media’s reviews. They are shit the bed amazing. Funny, intelligent, compelling, well thought out and more than a little weird, these are must see viewing for anyone with a love of sci-fi and a sense of humour. I have linked the first one to get you started… you can find the full video’s here:

http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/