Silver Chips Online

Second isn't always the best

Hits and misses in the sequel arena

By Bridget Egan, Online Art Editor
April 26, 2006
Regularly Hollywood releases fantastic and successful films, and when they do release a box office winner, it is almost guaranteed that a sequel will be made, regardless of whether the film needs one. While many famous sequels and series have been created, most notably the "Star Wars" films, there also have been flops. Flops so terrible that words cannot describe the horrible quality. Fortunately, with this handy guide people can avoid those flops and focus on sequels of considerably better quality.

All good things come in pairs

Many fans of the original "Shrek" expected a poorly written sequel that would reiterate what happened in the first film. But they were pleasantly surprised to find that the second film was perhaps better than the first, with a fantastic soundtrack and hysterical jokes.

Two other very successful sequels include "Spiderman 2" and "X-Men 2," both based on Marvel comics. Perhaps these sequels were a success because the comics offered plots that had already been previously used and would not seem unrealistic to the audience. Because of the success of the first two X-Men films a third and final installment is slated to be released in late May.

Crash and burn

With so many successful sequels it is inevitable that some sequels will not be nearly as good. One such example is "The Mummy Returns" (2001) and the companion movie "The Scorpion King" (2002). While "The Mummy" (1999) was entertaining, it was only that. There was very little potential for another film, yet two followed, both terrible.

Currently plans are being made for a fourth "Indiana Jones" film starring Harrison Ford. The potential success of this is wildly disputed, many fans feel that Ford, at 63, is far to old to be in an action movie. Others feel that it is a fantastic idea, allowing Indie one last chance to prove his worth and get the girl.

The crowd eagerly awaits...

After paying money to see movies like "The Scorpion King," many people wonder why producers insist on making bad sequels to movies that weren't that good in the first place. Producers should instead choose movies that did well and then base their decision off those movies.

One film that many people hopefully await is a sequel to "Serenity," which was a moderately popular movie based on a failed FOX television show, "Firefly." Fans of the movie and show alike recognize that many loose ends have yet to be tied up. While rumors fill the net about a sequel it seems improbable because two of the nine main characters died in "Serenity." However, Joss Whedon, the creator of "Firefly," has done the seemingly impossible before, so anything is a possibility.

Messing with the classics

Equally as popular as producing sequels to successful movies is remaking popular older films such as "The Italian Job," "12 Angry Men" and "Doctor Zhivago." While these remakes have better quality of cinematography, some believe that classics ought to be left alone and not redone.

An advantage does exist when remaking classics; current technology offers many opportunities for effects that did not previously exist. Additionally they provide the opportunity for newer actors and actresses to star in movies that have potential to be popular. Another advantage to remaking movies is things that were not socially acceptable or factually accurate when the movie was originally made are often not taboo now. One example of this is the 1997 remake of "12 Angry Men" which was made in 1957, featured a jury with a diverse collection of jurors as opposed to the all white jury in its older counterpart. Having a diverse jury added an additional level of complexity to the already intense film, making it even better.

1+1= Sequels to television shows?

In addition to producers making sequels for the big screen, many sequels have been made for the small screen: television. While avid fans of these shows may like the spin-offs, others may feel that it is a waste of precious airtime.

The most notable of television sequels are the various spin-offs of "Law and Order" which began in 1990 and still continues to be a popular show. Spin-offs of the show include "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" which both follow the similar style of catching criminals and then trying them. While these shows are popular, with "Law and Order: SVU" commonly winning its Tuesday 10 P.M. time slot, the show has skeletons in the closet, with a fourth spin-off "Law and Order: Trial by Jury" that lasted only 13 episodes. Additionally, in recent years the series has suffered as more popular shows like "Desperate Housewives" have become competition.

Other noteworthy spin-offs include the various "Crime Scene Investigation" shows and "Star Trek" series, which have also enjoyed popular ratings. While avid fans may not like it when producers redo the classics, their popularity is incontestable.

Just like cigarettes some movies should come with a warning along the lines of, "Watching this film will be detrimental to your health." Fortunately, enough good films have been released that it should not be hard to avoid the bad ones.

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