Well read-head: Too much of a good thing
My old neighbour once sent her husband out to rent a video for them to watch together. He returned with a film called ‘One Tough Bastard’.
After wondering how much longer their marriage would last, my mind turned to a loftier question: what would you title the sequel to ‘One Tough Bastard’? Would it be ‘One Tougher Bastard’? ‘Two Tough Bastards’? ‘One Tough Bastard and a Baby’? Sadly, there is no such sequel. Apparently when you’ve conquered the summit of film achievement, there’s nothing more to say.
There are a lot of pitfalls in the movie-making business. Agreeing to make or star in a sequel is surely one of the biggest.
Two very high profile film sequels are due for release in Australia shortly: the creatively-titled ‘Sex and the City 2’ and ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ which is the sequel to ‘Wall Street’.
I’ve not seen many sequels that I’ve liked as much as, or better than, the original.
Of course there are exceptions. I’ve heard many film buffs say they think ‘Aliens’ is better than ‘Alien’.
A lot of people were partial to ‘Rocky III’ over ‘Rocky’ or ‘Rocky II’. But I suspect such examples are few and far between.
Could it be because a lot of good film ideas are only worth the original ninety or so minutes?
For example, I found ‘Meet the Parents’ very amusing. But I hardly cracked a smile during ‘Meet the Fokkers’. To me, the joke had been exhausted.
‘Zoolander’ was funny. Would ‘Zoolander II’ really add anything? [I just shared that thought with my producer and she snorted and said ‘You’d break your neck to go and see it.’ And she says she’s read there IS a ‘Zoolander’ sequel in the pipeline, although a quick google search turned this up.
Undoubtedly Ben Stiller and Robert de Niro made the GDP of a small country by signing up for a sequel to ‘Meet the Parents’.
Michael Douglas has probably made the GDP of a continent to reprise his Gordon Gekko role in ‘Money Never Sleeps’. And the ‘Sex and the City’ girls can certainly keep themselves in Manolo Blahniks in perpetuity.
Despite my low expectations for sequels, I’ll certainly be among the first to plonk down my $15 to see both SATC2 and ‘Money Never Sleeps’. Why? I guess like any movie fan, I’m a sucker to spend a few more hours with characters I liked and thought I’d never see again.
I guess that’s what the film studios bank on. And yes, of course I’ll go and see ‘Zoolander II’ if it ever comes out – although as my colleague Annabel Crabb has noted, we get our ‘Blue Steel’ fix from the Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop.
What do you think? Does a bad sequel detract anything from a good original? What are examples of films where you prefer the sequel? And is there anything wrong with making a sequel and flogging a popular franchise purely to rake in cash?
Here are this fortnight’s ten interesting things to read, watch or listen to:
1. ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival; check out The Telegraph’s review. ‘Sex and the City 2’ opens next weekend in the US so there are no reviews yet. As for the first film, Anthony Lane’s review for The New Yorker is, as always, well worth your time.
2. Entertainment Weekly catalogues the 25 worst sequels ever made.
3. Check out this gallery of some brilliant photographic work from the unrest in Bangkok (thanks @nadine_lee on twitter)
4. During the recent British election, The Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker had to host some live television. He discovered that coping with the nerves requires the ‘ice-blooded, psychotic personality of a long-range military sniper’.
5. Speaking of the British election, when it comes to David Cameron and Nick Clegg, who is the most posh?
6. If you fancy yourself as an intellect, see how you’d fare at the entrance exam for All Souls College, Oxford.
7. Did the stress of raising an autistic child turn a mother into a murderer and is her status as a wealthy New York socialite counting against her in the justice system?
9. The Smithsonian Institution catalogues the ten most disturbing scientific discoveries of all time.
10. During the past fortnight, some of the most interesting political analysis about Kevin Rudd’s polls woes was contained in this article by Jack the Insider for The Australian.
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