What’s worse than a bad movie?
A bad sequel.
Sequels are usually a fan’s best friend because when it comes to an awesome movie, we as fans always crave for more, whether or not the film is open-ended. And movie makers, as movie makers, want to make more awesome movies to make people happy, and bring in big bucks while they’re at it.
But, sometimes, sequels can be a nightmare. No one intended such sequels to be bad, so what do sequel makers do wrong? Setting the usual movie mistakes aside (like bad script, bad acting, etc.), here are the common mistakes:
#5 Lack of Originality
I think this is the most obvious mistake of all: making a sequel that echoes the first movie a tad bit too much. Although it is a good thing to stay faithful to the original film, almost retelling it can get boring. Like what they did with Bring It On Again. The characters are new, the setting is new, the cheerleading routines are new, but the story’s is almost exactly the same and the approach is the same.
I must point out, though that the third Bring It On movie was pretty good, even considering the fact that the story is the same. What made it different is that the conflicts are different, the feel is different, and… it’s basically a whole new movie altogether, at the same time following the legacy of the first film.
The Next Karate Kid can be another example. Although Pat Morita stayed as Mr. Miyagi, they put in a new kid who isn’t that interesting of a character at all. It became sort of a remake of Karate Kid, just less convincing and more boring.
#4 New pair-ups
Spending one whole movie developing a pair-up, and then suddenly saying that the couple’s not together in the sequel is plain stupid. Like in Speed 2: Cruise Control, the audience is surprised when Annie (Sandra Bullock) has a new boyfriend when in the first movie, Speed, she and Jack (Keanu Reeves) were established to be perfect partners of sorts. And also in Princess Diaries, they built up the childhood friends to couple plot for Mia (Anne Hathaway) and Michael (Robert Schawrzman), and then, in the opening scene of the sequel, Mia goes “we’re just friends now”.
Now, I understand that this might have been caused by the actors being unavailable, but I was thinking: couldn’t they have just changed the actor but kept the character? The Batman and Bond movies survived recasting, right?
#3 Overemphasizing the good things
Great movies have great things in them. It could be great characters, witty lines, cool costumes, or great sets. But if the sequel takes the good things and becomes too dependent on it, it becomes a flop.
Here’s an example: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde. People love Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon). She’s cute, there’s no denying that. She’s ditzy, and that’s what makes her cute. But in the sequel, the cuteness became annoying, and her passion for her Chihuahua became irritating. Heh. It really is bad to have too much of a good thing, isn’t it?
#2 Forgetting the good things
If overemphasizing the good parts isn’t bad enough, forgetting what made the original film great is just a crime. Yes, we believe that movies should be “made over” to some degree so that they won’t be exactly like the first movie. However, straying too far from the original concept causes disastrous effects.
One example I can think of is Batman and Robin where “witty” remarks abound, villains wear neon colors, and Gotham City is anything but gothic. Batman is supposed to be the Dark Knight. DARK. Not comedic, not shiny, and definitely not colorful, thank you very much.
Another example can be Staying Alive, the worst sequel ever, according to Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Worst Movie Sequels Ever Made list. Whereas Saturday Night Fever made disco dancing a hit, Staying Alive‘s dance numbers, complete with scantily-clad women and a sweaty John Travolta in a Tarzan-meets-Rambo costume, are just…. yuck.
#1 Not knowing when to stop
Villains emerge from hiding, and supposedly dead men suddenly come to life. Bernie (Weekend from Bernie’s) just couldn’t rest in peace, and Jason (Friday the 13th) just won’t die, and eventually ends up facing off with Freddy Krueger!
I think this is the worst mistake ever, making a sequel when it doesn’t help at all. It not only turns a sequel into a flop, but it also tarnishes the prestige of the original film.
Some movies just shouldn’t have a sequel at all, really, whether or not the audience clamors for one. Sometimes it’s better to just leave it to the imagination. Sometimes that’s what makes an awesome movie be more awesome.
So, as a fan, I implore movie makers: even though we love movie sequels, please don’t make one unless you really really really have to, else you’ll explode.
So…yey. I hope you got something from this post if you’re an aspiring filmmaker, or if you’re a fanfiction writer. Comments about my Top 5 are welcome, whether or not you agree with it.