Hello readers, I am a long-time fan of this site but a first time blogger so forgive me if I may seem out of place. I am a big fan of debating and also analysing movies so I thought I’d come up with debating certain factors in the film industry. What I tend to do is argue both FOR and AGAINST what it is I am debating. There is no right or wrong answer it is just an overview and I am up for discussions. Please do I enjoy a good conversation on these topics but I am not looking for a fight or to disprove anyone it is just for fun. So, let’s get started.
The good thing about a sequel is that it gets to expand the simple storyline or theme of the original; let's take Alien for example. In the first one we see how a crew discover an ancient alien ship that has crash landed and how an alien life form they come across gestates inside someone and after birth goes on to kill the crew with acid for blood and a crazy 'tongue-puncher' as I call it. Now the sequel Aliens takes this life form and expands it into massive infestation amongst a colony of hundreds of people. This expands the idea of the original because it looks into exactly how deadly it is for these creatures to populate and more into their qualities against technology with their biological adapting skills. It also uncovers how the alien life cycle with a Queen Alien laying these eggs (which was created by James Cameron himself). The sequel also takes a horror icon and places it into an action situation with soldiers armed to the teeth and exploring the true extent of these creatures' merciless nature, thus emphasising the seriousness to destroy the Alien in the first film. This is an example of how sequels allow a basic idea of the original to expand and create a bigger or even new situation.
Sometimes the sequel sticks to a kind of routine or schedule as its predecessor which surprisingly can sometimes work well as it can use the ideas that did not find a place in the storyline before or if there was no room for it, such as Home Alone and Ghostbusters. Both sequels stick to a near-enough repeat of the previous but with some differences. In Ghostbusters we witness how they establish the team, go through a Montague of ghost-capturing and then face the 'final boss level' in which they face a giant threat to the world (in which the loved one is in peril) and then they save the day. The sequel was basically the same storyline except we see the team get back into business after a slump, the loved one now has a baby and in the end the Ghostbusters adds a new member. In Home Alone the boy makes his home a defended fortress using tools and homely equipment to fend off the burglars. The sequel takes the same idea except it places the character alone in New York in a relative’s empty building where there is more industrial improvising and the burglars are now after charity money. Predator 2 can also be brought into account. In the first film we see an alien hunt top hardcore commandos for sport in a vast tropical jungle with his fancy shoulder-mounted gun. For the sequel they place the same type of antagonist into an urban environment with a variety of cops, gangs and even a capture team set out to capture it. This allowed us to view the skills of a hunter in a different variety with new kinds of prey and also allowed the film makers to expand the variety of weaponry for the Predator to use (slicing net, telescopic spear, death boomerang etc). Like the other films mentioned this sequel follows the same structure as the first film but again this does not appear repetitive because we are in a new environment with different characters to study and follow, the situation has a different set up with an investigation style and not straight up shoot 'em up and the build-up of a team searching and prepping up to actually capture the Predator was a new set up altogether.
As repetative as these sequels may sound they actually prove to be very successful. Sometimes it’s safer to play off the same guidelines as the first film as long as there are some added features and differences such as extra characters, a different theme or perhaps an increase in the meaning of the story (home alone expanded by making charity money for a children's hospital put under threat and Ghostbusters expanded by having not only a loved woman under threat but also her infant who is obviously more innocent and oblivious to the situation as well as more vulnerable). This may sound like a rather cheap method by placing all hope of success and publicity into what made the original so adored, but if this is done with the same respect and delicacy that went into the previous film then this should prove to be a big pay-off.
What sequels can also help out with is redemption. Sometimes if a film makes a name for itself but just didn’t reach the wow factor sometimes a sequel can allow new ideas and different methods to be used. Just like Batman Begins. Don’t get me wrong I love this film but I do hear a lot of criticism over the fact that once the film looked into depth the story of how exactly Bruce Wayne became Batman and the means to acquire his tools and weaponry, the film started slumping slightly with too quick a glance over Scarecrow and the plot to destroy Gotham. Whilst I still enjoy the film I do see people’s points of view over this. So with the arrival of The Dark Knight Chris Nolan was able to expand his vision of the comic hero and dive into the depths of Bruce handling his responsibility as a hero, the effects of his lifestyle and of course the most memorable performance from Heath Ledger as Joker (may he rest in peace). A sequel can use its predecessor as a stepping stone to shoot to the top with success. Whilst Batman Begins is 50/50 with some people it helped establish the invention of a modern storyline and once it got everyone’s attention it helped boost the reputation of its sequel as soon as the trailers hit the screen. This sequel may just have saved a franchise that could have been overlooked by modern society and remain in the history books as just an attempt of a modern recreation.
Although there are quite a selection of successful sequels let's face it...the majority of them are pathetic. This just slaps the audience in the face with lack of quality in an effort to get extra cash for the makers whether if the characters have no relation to the predecessors BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T EVEN GET THE SAME BLOODY ACTORS or because the story contradicts itself and what a better example for the story failure than Highlander. The first was incredible, it had immortals fight to the death (watch it if that just didn't make sense) with sword fights and it had Sean Connery (gasp). The famous phrase from this is "the can be only one"...if only they had stuck with that. Its sequel failed big time because it decided to spoil the mystery of nature and superstition with sci fi since the immortals are aliens banished to Earth to live as immortals. The motivation of the villain makes no sense since he wanted to kill the Highlander but instead of waiting for old age to kick in he jumps in which makes him immortal, yeah smart move. Then that bombshell had a sequel that decided to kick the second film in the ass by declaring that the origins of the immortals were 'unknown'. What? Did the film makers just completely forget its own history when they wrote this or did they just decide to toy with the second movie by siding up with the first one? This trilogy is an example of how sequels completely muck up the original by spoiling the theme of medieval superstition with complete futuristic sci fi...and then denying that? It just stretches the story ridiculously and unnecessarily.
Bad sequels sometimes don't even connect to the original because it has its own setting as an individual film but the story may be too similar so they felt they had to name it a title, whilst Highlander fell into this category so can Home Alone 3. Honestly this film just destroyed the Home Alone franchise. It literally had nothing less to do with the earlier films and just turned it into the amateurish kiddy film the first films were genius enough to avoid. Really the first two might have sounded poorly to anyone but when you watched it suited anyone, it had ridiculous humour but you still enjoyed it and you were impressed with how maturely they handled the story. In the third it just threw in silly face making, stupid screaming of shock and surprise and threw in cheesy lines of insult or sign of triumph as well has childish sound effects. This isn't the worst film around, it wasn't too bad but as a continuation of the first two it was just so insulting, but not nearly as insulting as when they decided to make Home Alone 4. This film actually joins the first two with some of the same characters and continuing from them...badly. None of the characters are played by any of the original actors, the dialogue and humour seems to be made for children under 12 and overall...it was just pointless, it was just for someone to make money out of because they could not be bothered putting any effort into it as the successful first two. Just the fact that the first two films were made and humorous to any audience and then the sequels after just severely downgraded to kids is an example of how sequels can fail. It just shows that after the first two films went through such effort to be successful and hysterical with great acting, good imagination and a mature response to the situation they completely lost any means of effort and just made the next two for kids because they're easiest to entertain with funny noises and faces. The biggest category I can think of in the film franchise that almost predictably fails instantly with sequels is horror. Whilst the genius of Alien took an icon and mastered it into different situation and ideas many others just simply repeat themselves. Such as Hostel, they are the exact same ideas and stories just with twitches of a difference. In the first it's guys, second women, third guys but in VEEEGAAAAS. Whilst locations and people change everything else remains the same. Characters; want to party and score. Story; people get abducted and tortured. If you saw the first one you've seen them all. Whilst these sequels fail as they refuse to add anything new others fail because they changed the style or ideas of the original and just screwed with it big time. 28 Days Later; a 'rage' virus turns people into raging maniacs who only desires are to kill anyone they see. The film was shot with such a realistic feel it's almost as tense with a sense of personal experience as a POV shooting such as Cloverfield but with the clever edge of cinematic shooting. Music did not fill the film with how the characters felt or what the situation was, there was hardly music in it but when it did play it was so personal it was like reading the minds of the characters but allowing the audience to translate this into their own meanings. Even the music didn’t sound as typical as music you would hear from a band or typical exciting film moment it's almost like background music for adverts or a pub. However the sequel changed everything that made this movie unique and just made it a typical movie. Whilst I admit the music still maintained some character from the first, everything was ruined. Too much music was put in to fill the atmosphere so nothing really felt personal, the camera shooting looked so typical and what the first film succeeded in where other horrors failed was tell a good story without the typical stupidity. 28 Weeks Later was full of morons with poor security allowing the infection not only to find a host but spread further into the population with it's pathetic quarantine plan and the entire understanding of the virus felt so disconnected with Robert Carlisle (whom I have no complaint with as an actor by the way) when he is infected. It's as if he maintains some of his memory and possibly acknowledges what he is doing at times. The first was original and had a unique style to it; its sequel just became a typical horror with panic and stupid plots. The things I pick up most from bad sequels is that they're just cheap and quick ways to gain money because if you slap the title of a popular film onto another film then people will automatically pay to see it because they're expecting something just as good.
So there’s my debate on Sequels, are they worth? That’s up to you to decide, after all there is no right answer.
I apologise if this may have dragged on but like I said I enjoy discussing and analysing.
So please get back to me on this folks, comments and opinions will be greatly appreciated and yes I do plan on writing more blogs on the film industry when I can. Thank you very much.
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