Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Sequel

Just musing here. Was Godfather Part 2 the first time Hollywood made a sequel as good or better than the original rather than being just being a cynical cash register opening exercise?

By sequal I mean a continuation rather than a series of movies with the same characters but in different and non connected situations.

I feel I've forgotten about something here but can't put my finger on it. Any help would be appreciated. I'm not talking about The Thin Man or Sherlock Holmes or Airport or Carry On films, or Bond, but more about the ''saga'' type sequal.

''Blockbuster'' films with numbers in the title seem to have started in the seventies. Damn near forty years ago. I'm racking my brains to come up with those that to me were equal to or surpassed the original, but there have been some.

I think Spiderman 2 was as good as the first. I think The Two Towers was actually better than the first. Scream 2 was pretty much just as good as the first. T2 was as good if not better than Terminator. Empire Strikes Back was as good as the first. Indiana Jones? Meh, patchy but worth seeing. Austin Powers? One movie too many but liked the first two for different reasons. Then I'm struggling.

Alien - Aliens and all that followed? Different genres. Can't compare them. Liked most of them but can't compare them to the original.

Rocky? Same story each time. A soap with fisticuffs.

Jaws? Don't get me started. Sequals to make you puke with the cheek of those making them. They give entertainment a bad name.

POTC went slightly downhill after the original but I think the original was one of the most perfectly constructed movies ever, so bettering it was not really on the cards. But who gives a shit. They still took squillions.

I started this post as I do most. Not really knowing what I was trying to say. But I think I'm trying to say that unless a sequal is as good or better than the original the audience will damn you to hell. One of the reasons you rarely see a writer of the original movie on a sequal or series of films.

Unless that writer has the clout to try to make it better. And that doesn't happen very often. LOTR and POTC apart. What does that say? Mmmmmmm don't know. Still musing.


Nathaniel said...

What is POTC?

English Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Good Dog said...

Godfather 2 and The Empire Strikes Back work simply because they are well thought out continuations of the original stories. The Two Towers... well, it’s an adaptation so the story was already there and had a little bit more going for it that a long walk east and then south.

X-Men 2 is a far better sequel/continuation. Toy Story 2? Great film, but I still prefer the original.

Maybe the problem with a lot of the films in this numbers game is there is obviously this notion that they have to be bigger to make them better – which isn’t always the case. Nice and tightly scripted originals like, for instance, The Mummy and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, or even Die Hard and The Matrix, with had a deft balance of thrills and humour, went back into the system and got spat back in our faces as horribly bloated seconds that couldn’t stand under their own weight.

Good Dog said...

Oh, and I think Paul Greengrass got it right with The Bourne Supremacy

Piers said...

Bride of Frankenstein is definitely a legitimate continuation and building upon the story set out in the first film. So I'd argue that beats Godfather 2.

It's even got a little drawing-room prequel where Mary Shelley says to her buddies "No, wait! There's more to the story. Let me tell you about it..."

mark g said...

Mad Max II?