Keeping it Reel : Pointless sequels and needless remakes

If there is one thing most of us can agree on, most sequel are crap. The main reason for the majority of them being awful is because they are poorly made, have a considerably lower budget than the first, key cast members not returning (for characters that weren’t killed off) and many other reasons

Firstly, let me list some shockingly sequels that are nowhere near as good as the first film. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the film itself is actually bad, but ultimately ANY sequel will be compared to it’s original and none of the below are better than the film that they followed, and believe me, this list could be a LOT bigger

American Psycho 2

Aliens vs Predator : Requiem

Cube 2 : Hypercubecube-21

The Fly 2

Kick Ass 2

Anchorman 2

The Wolverine

Pirates of the Caribbean (all three sequels)

Saw

Batman and Robin

The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Reloaded

The Hangover 3

Honey I Blew Up The Kid

Resident Evil

Piranha 3DD (and even the first one wasn’t that good)

Ginger Snaps : Unleashed

…..let’s put it this way, I could be sat here all night writing a list of shockingly bad sequels.

As I briefly touched on earlier, there are numerous reasons why sequels are rarely at least as good as the first film in the series, in some it’s because the stars of the first one haven’t turned for whatever reason, there has been a change in directors, writing, tone, it could be anything, and it’s a shame really because most of the films listed above didn’t need to be made. Most of them followed a film that could have stood on it’s own and that’s the truly sad thing.

The problem these days is that Hollywood is all about money, it’s all about cash-grabbing. Many excellent films would have made brilliant stand alone films before they were given sequels that they didn’t need. Franchises such as The Matrix, Pirates of the Carribean and several others started off with very enjoyable films before their reputations were somewhat ruined by the sequels that followed. The reason that they were given sequels that they didn’t really need is money. The Matrix made $463 million and at the time of it’s release, which although not massive by today’s standards, was a huge amount in the 1990s.

Of course, you don’t just get cash-grabs in franchises that started off well, with Transformers being a good example. The fourth installment, Age of Extinction, received box office receipts of over $1 billion, the only film of 2014 that grossed over the billion mark. What makes this even remarkable was widely considered to be one of the worst films with a wide release in 2014. The four releases have seen total box office receipts of a mammoth £3,757,097,628, that despite two of the four films achieving ratings of less than 20% on Rotten Tomatoes and one of the others only getting 36%. The fifth and sixth installments have already been announced as well.

The last example I will give you on the subject of cash grabs is from a franchise that I have only truly liked one entry for, even so much as hating a few entries, and yet I still keep going back to watch them when they come out, the Resident Evil film franchise. I actually really liked the first film. It’s largely unrelated to the games but it is still one of my favourite zombie films and to this day, it is the ONLY film I have ever sat and watched with the commentary on. Now, the way it ended made it seem like a sequel was inevitable, and that’s fine, but the problem is that they just keep on pumping them out and they just keep getting worse and worse and worse. Fortunately the sixth one is planned to be the last one and in a way I am relieved.

Every sequel has been exceedingly poorly received by pretty much everyone and it’s not simply because they’re largely unrelated to the games, it’s because they are poorly made. Here is a run down of the four sequels so far and why they were so poor, yet still kept getting made.

Resident Evil Apocalypse

Budget : $45millionResident-evil-apocalypse-poster

Return : £129,394,837

Rotten Tomatoes Score : 21% (124 reviews)

The failed for many, many, many reasons, such as that it isn’t really that scary, is very much an action film, has an annoying child character and probably worst of all, turns Nemesis, one of the franchises’ most infamous and loved antagonists, into a fucking good guy.

At the end of the film, Nemesis, who was mutated from a guy called Matt from the first film, starts fighting the bad guys. This is the same character that would chase you relentless in the game and destroyed anything in it’s path to kill your character. He is a constant menace in the film and takes literally several battles to eventually defeat, and even in his final form, a large, ambling blob, his sole mission is to kill you.

So once you’ve turned your film’s main fearsome antagonist into a good guy, where can you possibly go from there?

It is the lowest rated out of all five films so far on Rotten Tomatoes but does surprisingly have an average rating of 6.2 on IMDB.

 

 

Resident Evil Extinction

Budget : $45millionresident_evil_extinction

Return : $147,717,837

Rotten Tomatoes Score : 22% (95 reviews)

The third installment in the franchise is one of the least interesting for me as nothing really happens. I also lost a lot of faith in the series with this entry because they effectively did whatever the film equivalent of an in-game cheat by turning Alice pretty much invincible.

The virus she was given has suddenly turned her super human and you no longer feel that she’s any real sense of danger.

Then we get onto a massive nonsense with a massive cloning operation, meaning by the end that Alice is now not only practically invincible, there are hundreds of her. Hundreds of invincible Alices and I’m supposed to still feel that there is a genuine sense of threat?

It just made a mockery of the thing and the film was filled with remarkably poor development problems. For example, when you get bit in the Resident Evil film universe, you have an hour or two before the virus kills and then reanimates you, yet the LJ character gets bitten and is still human several days later. What the hell?

Out of all five films, it’s between this and Retribution for my least favourite.

 

Resident Evil Afterlife

Budget : $60millionResident_Evil-_Afterlife

Return : $296,221,667

Rotten Tomatoes Score : 25% (95 reviews)

LOOK AT THAT FINANCIAL RETURN! Making almost five times what it cost is remarkable for any film, let alone a film that cost that much to make. It is the most profitable out of the five films so far, but that might be in part because it was the first to be released in 3D.

I’m not going to lie, out of the four sequels this is easily my favourite and the reason is that it’s the first time in the series that they actually do a few things that are similar to the computer game series. For example, the character of Chris is introduced whilst in a cage, coming from a shadowy part to come and meet Alice in a menacing a cryptic way. This is very similar to how several characters in the games are introduced, especially in some of the earlier additions of the game series.

I do also like that it finished off a lot of the nonsense that the third film introduced, such as killing all of the clones within the first scene, turning Alice human again so that she had a realistic chance of dying.

My one MAIN problem with this entry is that I felt like I was slow-motioned to death. This starts in the credits sequence when you go to Tokyo and a girl who has just been zombified is stood in the middle of a crossing when she suddenly lunges on a nearby pedestrian and bites him. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the scene because it’s shot in a very stylish way, but that whole action of her stood there, people walking by and her then going for this guy is probably only about 10 seconds worth of actual footage, but is slowed to the point where it actually takes nearly 3 minutes to show.

Resident Evil Retribution

Budget : $65millionresident-evil-retribution

Return : $240,159,257

Rotten Tomatoes Score : 31% (65 reviews)

Despite being the best rated sequel on Rotten Tomatoes, this is, in my opinion, the worst by a country mile.

It is so pointless, pathetic and lazy that it just kept on getting itself in a tangle. As I said in the mini-review of Afterlife, one of the best things that they did in that was get rid of all of the nonsense with the clones, and yet this film re-introduces the concept to an incredibly ridiculous level.

It brings back several characters from the first film, namely Rain and One, but as clones that don’t know Alice and they try and kill her, and worst of all for me, another annoying child that becomes attached to Alice and follows her around….oh, and she’s fucking deaf.

Retribution is an abomination of a sequel because it all takes place inside of a hologram environment, and introduces several characters from the games but treats them like a parody. For example, Ada Wong (the woman in the red dress in the picture) in the game is a very dangerous woman, but also has a very human element that makes her very likeable, whereas the character in the film is as exciting as an ironing board. Leon Kennedy, one of the main protagonists from the games, is relegated in this to effectively being a bland pervert, and Barry Burton is just there for no apparent reason.

 

So, along with the first film, which I haven’t reviewed, you may be wondering why films that only have an average rating of 26.4% (33% for RE and 21%, 22%, 25% and 31% respectively) keep getting made, it’s because of the finances. I mentioned in the Afterlife section about it making almost five times what it cost to actually make, and the trend of large profits was throughout the entirity of the five films.

The five films have a budget of $248 million, and made a return worldwide of £915,934,667, a return of 369%. It’s obvious from that why they keep getting made. They don’t give a shit if they made an awful film because people keep going back, myself included annoyingly.

Now, you may be wondering why I writing an article about sequels, it’s because this week the third installment in the Ghostbusters trilogy moved a step closer as the all-female cast was announced. Ghostbusters is one of my favourite franchises after growing up watching four guys running around shooting ghosts, it’s just a fun movie and the fact it has a rating of 7.8/10 on IMDB at the time of writing shows that I am not on my own with this.

What made the original two films so successful is that you could actually believe that Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis could be scientists, especially the latter, and the comedy is subtle. It’s not in your face, it’s not stupid or farcial, it’s smart comedy. Even the very dark elements of the film, such as Louis and Dana turning into demons, were highly enjoyable for people of all ages. It’s one of the few films with a PG rating that can be enjoyed by everyone. It’s got everything, comedy, horror, (mild) violence, drama, romance and a giant man made of marshmallows, what’s not to like?

I am dreading the new Ghostbusters film because I don’t think it will have the same artistic style of comedy that the original had. Now, I’ve never heard of Kate McKinnon or Leslie Jones before so I can’t fairly assess either. I have seen Kristen Wiig in a few films, namely “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “Anchorman 2” (funnily enough, another awful sequel) and her performance wasn’t memorable in either to be honest. In TSLOWM she was a bit bland and in Anchorman 2 her role was a bit stupid, but at least she has flexibility.

The reason I am dreading it can be summed in two words, Melissa McCarthy. Now, I am fairly open minded with regards to actors and actresses that are seemingly one-dimensional, afterall, later on I will be talking about a film starring an actor who has been famed for his one-dimensional acting, but for me Melissa McCarthy offers precisely fuck all in terms of genuine quality, heart or warmth in her acting “ability”. Every single joke she does revolves around her weight, and most of the trailer for “Tammy” was her trying to climb over a counter but struggling because she is fact.

She is single handedly capable of ruining the new Ghostbusters film. Don’t get me wrong, I will more than likely still go and watch it, but there is virtually no way that it is going to be better than the original films, and for those saying that it should be considered on it’s own merits, it’s impossible. For people of my generation, Ghostbusters will always have a special place in my heart and whilst I won’t claim to watch it on a regular basis, it is genuinely one of my favourite films from my youth.

So, based on that, I’m going to move on talking three other films where sequels and/or remakes are not needed, but unfortunately are probably going to have at some point for various reasons. This is not necessarily to say that the sequels/remakes will be bad, but these three films/franchises do not need another installment, but one has either been confirmed or by the sounds of it, is exceptionally likely.

American Psycho

Director : Mary Harron

Starring : Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Chloe Sevigney, Reese Witherspoon and Jared Leto.

Yes, that’s right, there has been serious talk about remaking this incredible film based off of the novel by Brett Easton Ellis. As the film that arguably launched Christian Bale into the A-List category, this 1999 flick follows businessman Patrick Bateman in the 1980s. By day he is a seemingly normal businessman, although you never see what he actually does for work, but by night he succumbs to his bloodlust and kills people in a variety of gruesome ways, including slicing someone’s head open with a swing of an axe, dropping a chainsaw onto a prostitute from the top of a stairwell and many others.

Patrick begins to descend into madness as he struggles to keep his two lives separate, especially after killing one of his co-workers, but the ending is very ambiguous as to whether Patrick just imagined everything, meaning he is either psychotic because he did all of these acts, or because he imagined doing them.

American Psycho is a triumph of cinema and is a true masterpiece of film. Christian Bale gives an Oscar worthy performance as Bateman, especially as he dances to Huey Lewis and the News whilst putting on a raincoat to murder his next victim.

The film already had a less than successful sequel starring Mila Kunis but now there has been talk in recent years or remaking this. Yes, they’re talking about remaking a film that was only made 16 years ago. If it had been a largely unknown film then I would understand (plus it give me the opportunity to review it properly and I would love to do that but can’t due to the nature of the site) why someone would want to remake it, but it’s not.

It has 299,467 votes and 1,022 reviews on IMDB (at the time of writing), and made $34.3 million at the American box office and numerous awards. Calling it an unknown film would be ridiculous, and the ONLY justification I can think of for a remake is that the film doesn’t show a few of the more controversial moments of the book (such as Patrick forcing a life rat into a woman’s vagina) and someone might want that.

Either way, a remake wouldn’t be better than the original and would therefore be pointless.

 

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The Bill and Ted franchiseBill_&_Ted

Director : Stephen Herek (EA) or Peter Hewitt (BJ)

Starring : Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves, George Carlin, Amy Stock-Poynton and William Sadler

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was followed by a Bogus Journey and that was it for the Wyld Stallions. Unlike a lot of successful franchises, they knew when to stop. Winter and Reeves were both still young go on and do other things and not be typecast, and although it was still enjoyable, Bogus Journey wasn’t quite as fun as Excellent Adventure.

The franchise follows slackers Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) as they are destined to change the world into a better place, bringing peace to the universe through rock and roll, but they don’t know this and are set to fail their high school history class. Rufus (Carlin) is sent back in time to help them pass by giving them a phone booth to learn about history first hand.

Instead of simply learning from the historical figures, Bill and Ted decide to actually bring several historical figures back to the modern day to help them. Amongst those historical figures are Billy the Kid, Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, Socrates and several others. They eventually pass their history class.

Several years after the Excellent Adventure, the duo haven’t really learned from it and are struggling to reach their potential. They soon encounter robot versions of themselves sent from the future and are quickly killed by their counterparts. They wander around in the afterlife, including trips to both heaven and hell, but with the help of the Grim Reaper (Sadler) they eventually overcome their robot counterparts and the man who sent them. After spending some time with Eddie Van Halen, Bill and Ted finally reach their potential and bring about peace.

That was a nice little ending for me, they reach their potential and effectively closed the door on anymore sequels….or so we thought.

Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey are two of my favourite films from that era of the late 80s and early 90s. It is one of the few genuinely fun movies out there that you can just sit back, relax and enjoy what you’re about to watch, especially Excellent Adventure. It is like most films from that era and celebrates it, rather than mocking it in some sense.

It is also a very rare film where Keanu Reeves doesn’t actually look like he’s not enjoying himself. Whereas Winter hasn’t really had a big on screen career at all, Reeves has been in the main stream attention on various occasions since Excellent Adventure came out, with big roles in 1991’s Point Break, 1994’s Speed, 1999’s The Matrix and several others, but he has never truly been a mega-star and therefore his returning to a franchise from early in his career wouldn’t be out of the question.

However, how likely is it that there will be a Bill and Ted 3? Well there have been numerous occasions over the last five years where Winter and Reeves have both gone on record saying that it is close, including confirmations of scripts being completed, directors being attached  and various other things. There hasn’t been any major news since late 2013 but it still seems likely that it will be going ahead at some point.

Out of the three films I am mentioning, this would probably be the one that I would most like a sequel for, but there are still a few things that make me nervous about it.

Reeves has said that the film won’t be a reboot and will be a continuation of the story of these two characters and I love that. It has also been set that it would feature a lot of the cast of both films, and probably most importantly, Reeves and Winter themselves. Reeves has said that they’re not going to mess about if it goes ahead and it will feature the characters in their 40s, but even though they’re grown up, they aren’t mentally grown up, and that’s what worries me.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind seeing 40something Bill and Ted, but the thing that really worries me is that the way the second film ended showed them both as young fathers, married to their girlfriends and considerably more mature after an 18 month spell with Eddie Van Halen and their experiences travelling through time and battling robot versions of themselves, having them as immature 40 year olds would ruin that ending in many ways because it would lose a lot of the meaning of the end to Bogus Journey.

At least it wouldn’t be a reboot.

a502ded76fa0630e0c4d79b7e4a3fb26f3aec35a

 

Fight Club

fightclub1

Director : David Fincher

Starring : Brad Pitt, Ed Norton, Helena Botham-Carter, Jared Leto and Meatloaf

David Fincher’s 1999 masterpiece based on the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk followed an unnamed narrator (Norton) as he struggles through life. One day he meets a nihilist called Tyler Durden (Pitt). Soon the two start an underground boxing club in which there of few rules (although I am breaking two currently).

The narrator soon quits his job in remarkable fashion before Fight Club turns into a movement called Project Mayhem. The goal of Project Mayhem is to destroy anything that glorifies commercialism, such as destroying a Starbucks and a piece of corporate art at the same time.

As things spiral out of control, Durden and the narrator soon come confront their issues with each other, wherein the latter realises that he and Durden are actually the same person.

Fight Club is one of my favourite films, infact it’s definitely in the top two and the only film that challenges is the aforementioned “Willow”. I often debate which of the two of them is actually my favourite film and it takes a lot for anything to even come close.

Now, I know a few of you will be saying that this film would never have a chance of having a sequel for numerous reasons, one of which is the big twist where Norton’s character has multiple personality disorder. The film, rather uniquely, closed off all storylines and seemingly left no room for a sequel, so where have I got the idea that there would be a potential sequel from?

I’m not going to lie, when I saw the headline “Fight Club 2 to arrive in 2015” in 2013, I was both really excited and dreading it at the same time. Now, the headline is in reference to Chuck Palahniuk writing a sequel to his novel, but in a generation full of films that are based on books, it seems almost inevitable that the film sequel will inevitably happen.

Pahalniuk has revealed details of the sequel and to be far, it doesn’t sound overly bad, but it doesn’t sound a lot like the first film at all and has been described as having several absurdly comical moments.

Speaking to Hustler magazine, Pahalniuk stated “”The sequel will be told from the– at first– submerged perspective of Tyler Durden as he observes the day-to-day tedium of the narrator’s life.  Because 20th Century-Fox created the convention of calling the protagonist Jack, I’m calling him Cornelius.  He’s living a compromised life with a failing marriage, unsure about his passion for his wife.  The typical midlife bullshit.  Likewise, Marla is unsatisfied and dreams of accessing the wild man she’d once fallen in love with.  She tampers with the small pharmacy of drugs that her husband needs to suppress Tyler, and– go figure– Tyler reemerges to terrorize their lives.”

I’m not sure how I feel about it to be honest, I will reserve judgement until I had read the 10-part graphic novel sequel about whether it would make a good film, but realistically “Fight Club” shouldn’t have a sequel in film form.

At least it won’t be another shit computer game based on the film.

film-fight_club-1999-tyler_durden-brad_pitt-jackets-red_leather_jacket

 

 

So after looking at three sequels or reboots that I’m not entirely sure would be a good thing, I’m going to end this article with a number, but first of all, let’s see what you think that the number is based on this question….how many films that are currently scheduled for release in 2015 (including those that have already been released) at the cinema are sequels or remakes?

The answer…..30.

Taken 3, The Woman in Black : Angel of Death, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Divergent : Insurgent, Furious 7, Paul Blarts 2, Avengers : Age of Ultron, Mad Max : Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Insidious 3, Jurassic World, Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Terminator Genisys, Minions, Mission Impossible 5, Poltergeist, Point Break, Fantastic Four, Sinister 2, Hitman : Agent 47, The Maze Runner : Scorch Trials, Hotel Transylvania 2, Paranormal Activity : The Ghost Dimension, Spectre, Hunger Games : Monkingjay – Part 2, Star Wars : The Force Awakens and Alvin and the Chipmunks 4.

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