Hollywood is always desperate for ideas. So when something works once, they are bound to do it again. Every couple of years a movie comes out that knocks it out of the park, and then Hollywood wrings what we liked from it into a rash of lesser products. Sometimes that means blatant rip-offs. After Jaws, we had Orca and Tentacles (a killer octopus movie). After E.T: Extra Terrestrial, we had Mac and Me. Jurassic Park sparked a wave of dino-pics: We’re Back, Theodore Rex. Robert Downey Jr. as a superhero was once unconventional. It worked. Now we have a string of odd personas suiting up: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, Paul Rudd. And I’m sure there are more trends out there that I’m not thinking about. More commonly you have the disappointing sequel film. These come a dime a dozen. Every year, bad sequel after bad sequel. Here’s a quick list of things that stood out in sequels I might have otherwise liked had it not been for that one thing. Therefore this list excludes things like, say, bat nipples in Batman and Robin, since even minus that over-the-top heinous detail, it would have still been an atrocious movie.
- Spider-Man 3-Peter Parker has the emotions of a fifteen year old girl
Peter Parker was always an emotional superhero. He cried when his Uncle Ben died (understandable). He fights with his best friend. He has a will they, or won’t they thing going with Mary Jane. A lot of Sam Raimi’s saga was the stuff of t.v soap operas. I happen to be a fan, but when in the third installment, Mary Jane breaks up with him, and he starts bawling, I no longer could stand behind him. It’s embarrassing.
2. The Mummy Returns-The Scorpion King CGI
Heavily dependent on special effects, the Brendan Fraser led franchise of Mummy films was incredibly successful, and boasted, at the time at least, an impressive array of visual spectacle. It’s hard to remember how the second film in the series played when I first saw it on the big screen. Now, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, in his first role, appears in the end sequence, computer rendered, the visuals are laughable. They would be at home in a Playstation 1 video game. Seeing as the climax of the film is built on his, intended to be, terrifying presence, the resulting picture feels anti-climactic. The third Mummy picked up on that note of awfulness and carried it through an entire film.
3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull-Aliens (Spielberg couldn’t help himself)
Huge fan of Indiana Jones. A bit of an offbeat choice, but Temple of Doom is my favorite of the series. In fact, it is probably my favorite action film period. The first three are all great though, so I was on board for a fourth adventure 20 plus years later. Instead of Nazis, Indy is racing against the Reds in the 1950s. I was basically on board with that. The film was too reliant on CGI. That’s a major flaw, to be sure. But what really threw me, was the end of the journey. Aliens. The crystal skull belongs to an alien civilization with advanced knowledge. I would not have chosen that as the catalyst for an Indy adventure. The Bermuda Triangle. Atlantis. Those would have been interesting. Aliens just felt like a different movie.
4. The Hangover Part 2-Deja vu
We think we want the exact same thing from a sequel that we got from the first one, but that’s not exactly true. When confronted with a sequel that rehashed its winning plot in a new location, I was bitterly disappointed. The element of surprise from the first Hangover was gone by the second.
5. The Godfather part III-Sofia Coppola’s a director, not an actress
I like Sofia Coppola’s directing efforts: Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Suicides especially. I’m looking forward to her remake of the Clint Eastwood classic, The Beguiled. I’m glad she found something that she’s good at, because acting was not it. I don’t know who’s to blame for hiring her for the job. Did her dad, the director, force her to take the role? Does being a parent really give you that big of a blind spot to your kid’s performance? She ruins every scene that she’s in. She makes her scenes hilarious no matter how serious they were intended. It doesn’t help that she’s working with Al Pacino, a great. Apparently, Winona Ryder almost played the part. At this point, all we can do is imagine how much better it would have been.
6. Star Wars episode 3: Revenge of the Sith-Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Okay, I love this movie. I love all Star Wars movies. No matter how bad the dialogue is. Episode 2 was especially unfortunate in its dialogue. Episode 3 had a chance to shut up all the old-school Star Wars fans/whiners who lamented the direction of the prequel films. Sure, it still had its laughable quotes. Super cheesy moments. But It almost made it to the end of the film without a moment as cheesy as NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!