Not Another One: A Commentary on Sequels

We all know about this and have experienced to some degree. I think I started realizing it when I was a teenager. There are a lot of sequels being made in Hollywood. And a lot of them suck, even if the original film was somewhat good. I have decided to tell all my faithful Squids what I think of sequels. The good, the bad, the ugly.

First off, I recognize two different types of movie sequels: there is the first kind, The Intended Sequels, or sequels that have been planned to be created as the first one is being made. These are usually films based off of series of books like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. However, even if the first book from a series is interpreted into a movie, that does not necessarily mean the sequels will be produced. That factor always depends on whether or not the original made enough money. Remember Eragon? God awful movie that was basically Star Wars with Dragons. It was adapted from a trilogy. Where are the film sequels? They are non-existent because Eragon the film sucked despite the presence of Jeremy Irons and did not satisfy the studio’s bottom line. So the sequels got the axe. Which brings us to our next kind of sequel: the Non-Intended Sequels.

Non-Intended Sequels are sequels that are not planned during the creation of the first film. Maybe it’s being thought of, and ideas are getting thrown around, but nothing definitive occurs until the original is released. If it makes enough money, the sequel is created. If not, no harm done and the original movie may stand alone.

While money is a factor in both types, it is my opinion that it has much more sway in the Non-Intended group, and because of this, the movies are more about money than quality. See, Hollywood knows that if a bunch of people went to see the first one they will go see the second one. So it doesn’t matter as much if it is a good movie. This is why we have what I like to call the Sloppy Sequel Syndrome. The following sequels suffer from SSS: The Hangover, Legally Blonde, Shrek, Ocean’s Eleven, Iron Man, Transformers (but I’m not sure if this one really counts because the original sucked just as badly) Pirates of the Caribbean, and Ice Age. This does not nearly cover them all. Please comment on the sequels you hate! Symptoms of watching movies with SSS may include frustration, disillusionment, hysteria, constipation, anorexia, depression, and in most cases, suicide.

I like to think however that Intended Sequels are more likely of higher quality. This is not always true. Consider X-Men, for example, and the most recent Chronicles of Narnia. I believe however that since the sequels are planned from the beginning the film makers are thinking less about money and are more occupied with getting a true adaptation of the book and making sure fans are satisfied. These are some films with more satisfying sequels: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars (the original trilogy, not the more recent crap) and the Bourne Identity movies.

So now when you go to a movie theater and see a trailer for the tenth Transformers (sadly, you know it’s going to happen) and you think, “Why is another one being made?” Now you know why. Money. It has nothing to do with quality, which is why so many sequels suck. While I do believe in capitalism to a degree, it is not very conducive to art. When you have an American population that is more willing to see robots doing water ballet than a movie with an actual story, what is of quality and what is popular is usually not the same thing. It is the sad tragedy of the movie making business. This is why I’m a cynic. I foresee many a horrible sequel in filmmaking future. Tres tres triste.