movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Mon May 13 2013, 11:01am | 101 comments
This week’s question is stolen from @studioexec1:
What one sequel would you erase from cinematic history? And why?
(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)
-Terminator 3: since it completely negates everything established in T2
– Alien 3: They could have gone in so many cool directions after Aliens and they chose to mess up the ending of Aliens
– Universal Soldier – The Return (the original sequel, not the later ones): The original had at least some B-Movie charm, the sequel was the most painfull thing I saw in the cinema due to the use of heavy metal in the soundtrack blasting at full volume!
There are probably more but these just came to mind immediatly.
I’d go along with T3 and A3 (I haven’t seen any of the Unisol sequels), and add Highlander 2 (let’s trash everything from the previous film) and Die Hard 4 and 5 (3 wasn’t great, but these are just embarrassing).
Robocop 2 wasn’t particularly great either…
If we’re just going for part twos then I’d nominate Jaws 2. I may be biast (sorry!) as I loved the first one so much but the second opened the door to more cash grabbing and more cheapening of the Jaws ‘world’ I so enjoyed. I feel the same about the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise now; the first was a great popcorn romp at the time but the sequels added absolutely nothing, or even perhaps diluted the original.
If we’re talking part 3, 4, 5 of a franchise I wouldn’t even know where to start…
Never been a Jaws fan, but certainly add PotC 2 to my list – the first one was great, and pretty much complete in itself (and a real surprise from a director who’d never done anything beyond advertisements and music videos), and the sequels just felt to me like grinding on the sausage mill.
In fact I’d say that’s a warning sign: if the first film (or, in the case of Aliens, the second film) finishes the story, the sequel has to break that in some way in order to get its characters back into a perilous situation. (The Matrix 2 and 3.) Put most crudely, the happily ever after isn’t. (Speed 2 – we couldn’t get the actor, so we said that the relationship from the original film fell apart off-screen.)
Just as I have low tolerance for stories that undo themselves within the narrative – “and then he woke up and it was all a dream”, “reset button” – I have low tolerance for stories that cannibalise the emotional gains of an earlier story.
I remember being so very disappointed at Alien 3. I felt like they couldn’t possibly go wrong after an amazing first two films, the alien itself as terrifying and the hints were that it was to be set on earth (at which point the film almost writes itself!) Weaver was always a strong character and I can’t actually remember any other female action heroes at the time; they ruined her character in 3 and lazily disposing of the others off-screen was unforgivable.
Speed 2, yuk. I’d blocked that out of memory.
Definitely Alien 3. With The Thing (2011) being a close second, although it’s a prequel…still…
Glad to see all the Alien3 votes. I hated that movie with a mad passion for many reasons, including disposing of characters I was emotionally invested in (and thereby totally negating everything Ripley fought for in Aliens), Ripley almost being raped and having to be saved by a man, Ripley’s DEATH… Ugh.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom…because it sucked. It sucked in so many ways (Like racism! Whee!), but the most immediate problem for me — at that time, now I’d say the racism — was the fact that Karen Allen and her character Marion Ravenwood had been fantastic in the first, but, whoever that actor was who played the woman-who-screamed-all-the-time-and-was-annoying-as-all-getout, she pissed me off. That character was an embarrassment to all woman-kind and the actor was a traitor to her sex for agreeing to play it that way.
Ok, I just went to find out who the actor was because it is pretty damn disrespectful of me not to know even her name: Kate Capshaw.. Ms. Capshaw, you’re probably a perfectly nice person, but you have to understand that when I saw that movie back in 1984, I was constantly battling male-chauvanistic restrictions on my life and that character in an Indiana Jones movie was an insult. The Marion Ravenwood character was strong, complicated, and still definitely a woman. Women do not always have to be rescued and they certainly don’t have to actually become a liability on the adventure and I do not understand how that character was the result of watching (as the Wiki page claims) The African Queen and A Guy Named Joe. The female characters in those are not anything like what resulted on-screen. You probably should have included several Barbara Stanwyck movies in there…like Double Indemnity and Lady Burlesque. But, given how far afield the character ended up being, that probably wouldn’t have helped either.
I still think Ms. Capshaw is a traitor to her sex for playing it that way.
PS: Oh yeah, and The Two Jakes sucked, too.
To add to what’s already been told: I know it’s been done to death, but I’ll go with the Star Wars prequels. I’m kind of surprised they haven’t been mentionned yet, to be honest. Hell, depending on how I’m feeling that day, I’d even throw in Return of the Jedi, or at least the parts of it with Ewoks.
The matrix II and III.
The power of the first movie lies in assuming that reality, our reality, is a fiction. The second and third films make me feel like I’m being dragged back into the matrix.
I still like to pretend they don’t exist.
I’ve never understood why some people hate ewoks. Having said that, Jar Jar Binks should die a horrible flaming death.
Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy 2 the Rescue. I don’t think I’ve ever had my heart crushed so hard by a trailer. The box art alone made me wince every time I saw it for rent.
I’m surprised that nobody’s mentioned “The Godfather Part 3” yet. A completely unnecessary film, especially since Part 2 had concluded Michael’s character arc so perfectly. The good son who had originally started out wanting nothing to do with the family business had finally become a soulless, amoral monster who went so far as to arrange the murder of his own brother. At the end of that film, he had either killed or alienated everyone close to him and was left completely alone, which was as it should be. Coppola’s decision to redeem him in the 3rd film was a big mistake, as was the entirely tedious “Vatican conspiracy” plotline and the decision to cast his daughter Sofia (who had never professionally acted before) in a major role. He should’ve left well enough alone.
Cars 2, I don’t mind John Lasseter playing with his favourite toys but it doesn’t mean I have to watch it. And it’s message of “you’re awesome just the way you are, if people don’t like it, they should be the ones to change” is shortsighted at best, especially when given to a character like Mater, that could’ve used a few lessons on respecting other people.
Wayne’s World II. Bits of it were inspired but we didn’t need another movie of metahumor and Mike Myers grinning at the screen like he’s some ubercool genius.
I’d also eliminate Godfather Part III and replace it with a better version where Sen. MIchael Corleone (having successfully maneuvered his criminal empire into a political one) runs for the Presidency, and ends during an Inaugural swearing in where all of his enemies are ruthlessly wiped out – including a brilliantly staged execution of a rival Senator diving off the faces of Mt. Rushmore) and he takes the oath of office (with the audience realizing the dark and terrible knowledge that a President Corleone will fulfill the American Dream at all costs).
see my post elsewhere, there was a better version to complete a trilogy (trilogies for the most part work well if planned right), but it should have focused on the politics that underscored I and II and the dark mirror realization of the American Dream.
I prefer the twist in Robot Chicken where Darth Jar Jar planned it all out all along.
the only thing I hated about Alien 3 was that they killed off Dillon, who was being primed up to be the alien-hunter once Ripley sacrificed herself.
Robocop 2 had something to it – the second act bit where Robocop gets reprogrammed into a neurotic stew of “parental advisory” cliches – but the whole movie had a cheap, understaged feel once it’s all said and done.
The woman in question in Temple of Doom was Kate Capshaw, a.k.a. Mrs. Spielberg.
My wife was recently taking a class in film. During the unit on film noir, she had to write an essay about female archetypes and how they’ve changed since the original noir era. Specifically, the femme fatale / bad girl and the virgin / good girl. My wife argued that modern audiences sometimes find the idea of the Virgin to be a bit hokey and will sometimes play it for laughs. She used Willie Scott in Temple of Doom as an example of this. Her teacher tried to claim that Willie is a “bad girl”. Um, no.
Apparently Capshaw agrees with you, calling her character “not much more than a dumb, screaming blonde.”
And apparently reviewers at the time blamed her for the character as well, and were hostile to the point where she felt she had to drop out of the publicity tour. But doesn’t the blame more rightly fall on the shoulders of the screenwriters and the director? I imagine that an actor who isn’t a big star, and who doesn’t have a lot of clout, pretty much has to do what she or he is told.
I think you just answered your own question.
Highlander 2 is the first film I can recall being truly disappointed in.
Cars 2 should never have happened. I can forgive the first Cars, but going back to that well again? No way. (I don’t have high hopes for Monsters University)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Not even Short Round can make that worth existing.
The Matrix: Revolutions. Reloaded was fine up until the last 3 minutes, but Revolutions was a disaster.
I’d completely remove T3 from the timeline and jump straight to the Sarah Connor Chronicles, letting the Governator go out on a high (melting) point.
Alien3 is my vote. The big thing with the Alien movies is watching the competent woman win. They made a movie where she doesn’t win, and took back her previous win. I remember thinking when I saw the preview, boy, the audience is going to hate this.
I’d have gone with the two Matrix sequals, but MaryAnn wanted a single movie. The two Matrix ones are so bad, they make you go into your head and retroactively decide that the first movie wasn’t any good.
Alien3 is a fine, though flawed, film. And at least Ripley died a HERO. If you want to talk about a slap in the face to the character–try the movie that came after it.
The dumbest movie to ever feature the Xenomorphs. Yes, it’s even dumber than Prometheus.
The one thing that gets overlooked constantly in reviews to this steaming pile is how fucking CARTOONY the whole thing is. It has more high speed close-ups and wide angle shots than Terry Gilliam’s whole filmography combined. That scene alone where the alien punctures the back of Dan Hedeya’s head and he just a pulls a piece out of and looks at it like he’s Wile E. Coyote, had me write off the whole movie. But, that’s just tip of the iceberg.
The other thing that bugs me about this film is that every single character is an amoral piece of shit–even Ripley! At least the convicts in Alien3 were trying to atone for their past crimes even to the point of laying down their lives to get the alien in their trap. Here, everyone is a slimy opportunist. The crew of the Betty kidnap a group of people in cryosleep and sell them to the government–and never care why.
The first three films gave a sense that they were grounded in a relative reality despite it dealing with alien monsters in outer space. Death and violence was take seriously. And the fact at least a few of the characters in the first three films had a sense of honor so we cared whether they lived or died. Alien Resurrection is like the film was pitched by a couple of 14 year olds with a “wouldn’t it be cool” mindset. But, mainly its made for 14 year old mentalities.
And lastly, people rip on Alien3 because Ripley died. But, at least she died a hero. In Alien Resurrection, Ripley (or really, the Ripley-clone) is truly alien from the original protagonist. Part Xenomorph herself, she finds amusement in the pain and suffering of others (at least anyone who isn’t like her). What’s the greater slap to the face to Sigourney Weaver’s iconic character?
I will also go with Alien3 as well. The story dumped the previous characters and relationships without extending or improving the story. I also recall thinking at the time that the direction and cinematography seemed more suited to TV than to a big screen movie. I didn’t hate them movie, but was just tremendously disappointed.
I’d say Die Hard 2 was a lot worse than 3. Can’t the planes land at a different airport? Aren’t these terrorists a lot less interesting than the Grubers?
Yeah, Willie is the most fundamental problem, but there are plenty of others. The racism wasn’t even based on real stereotypes- it was completely confused and ignorant. When I saw the Indians using voodoo dolls, I had to start screaming at the screen.
The problem with Ewoks, to me, is that they’re a good idea that’s played so thoroughly for laughs that it couldn’t be taken seriously. The idea of a powerful Empire being overthrown by a technologically inferior but determined resistance is great (it was how the first movie ended, after all), but they got off too easy. Only one Ewok died, and otherwise they beat all the Imperials in a series of improbable traps. If I was going to buy the Ewoks beating the Empire, there needed to be more of a sacrifice, like the couple dozen pilots who died fighting the Death Star.
Wow, if I can only pick one. Well, I’m gonna disqualify any sequel to a film, where the original shouldn’t have happened, so bye-bye “Transformers”, “Scream”, “Rush Hour”, “Scary Movies”… and so on. As far as like, a really pointless one, “Arthur 2: On the Rocks”, comes to mind. Not that I ever finished it, but I think we’ve all kinda erased that one from our mind. I some responses for “The Godfather Part III,” I actually like that film, not as the others of course, but awfulness is greatly exaggerated. “Shrek the Third”, was dreadful, that shouldn’t have existed, that’s gotta be near the top of my list. Any “Jaws” sequel has to be mentioned. “The Hangover Part II”, made my worst films list that years, that’s up there. Yeah, I think I’m leaning towards “Shrek the Third”, being my sole choice. “Shrek 4”, was okay, but “Shrek 3”, yeah, that one, eh, boy that one, completely unwatchable, filled with cliches; I can’t even imagine one redeeming worth of it, offhand, and really is a chapter in a book, that should just be skipped.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
The Santa Clause 2
Iron Man 2
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Hangover: Part II
Capshaw wasn’t married to Spielberg in those days. He was still married to Amy Irving.
Agree that II was a horrible excuse for a flick, but it was badly written and Capshaw was PLAYING THE CHARACTER AS WRITTEN. IV was also horrible even though Karen Allen was back for part of it.
Ah, seems I had the dates mixed up. And actually, he wasn’t married to either of them during the shooting of Temple of Doom.
KotCS was exactly what it was intended to be: a nostalgia trip for the principles.
I remember reading that part of the reason her character was like that was because George Lucas was getting divorced at the time and he pushed things in that direction because it was really effecting him.
But I agree that Temple of Doom could be lifted right out of the continuity and no one would really miss it since it was a prequel anyway.
Principles, as in actors? Because there were no artistic principles at play in KotCS.
Ford-Spielberg-Lucas. The three guys who got that movie made, because it amused them to do so. I’m sure they’re all very sad that you weren’t amused as well. >.<
Oh, the thing with the ILS transmitter is completely impossible. They just don’t work that way. But, at least for me, 2 had some interesting twists, like the mission to Grenada and its consequences; 3 had some amusement value, but Irons never managed to convince me (surprising, since he’s usually a solid actor). And of course 3 got rid of Bonnie Bedelia.
Surprised not to see Th Godfather Part 3 here. A wholly unnecessary sequel that is best left alone.
He meant “principals.” Dictionary.com says that it means:
first or highest in rank, importance, value, etc.; chief; foremost.
I wasn’t going to point out the error, because then I would be one of those people, someone who goes around correcting everyone’s spelling and grammar. But honestly, it’s been driving me crazy since yesterday.
Oh, and the movie I really want to lift out of continuity is Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Ewoks pretty much did what Jar Jar did: introduce comic relief in the middle of a big battle. That pretty much undermines the dramatic tone of the battle, but it sold merchandise. Lucas apparently originally wanted to use Wookies but had to scale back on that idea. I’d have rather watched Wookies pull stormtroopers arms out of their sockets and beating them over the head with their own arms than this.
It’s been mentioned three times already in this thread.
I guess I always figured that many more Ewoks died, but they died offscreen, and that the one who died was sort of a representation of all of them.
To me, the problem with Ewoks is that they all spoke Tagalog. It kind of took me out of the film.
Yes, the script was shit, too; but, seriously, you’re saying that an actor has no power to interpret a role? Even with all that crap script, there would have been different ways to play it with respect to body language, intonation, expressiveness, and, too, plenty of actors do argue about who their character is. I gather actors like to understand motivation (aka: backstory). This all has an effect on what we see.
Yeah, they couldn’t even be bothered to be consistent with racism. It was just a grab bag of “exotic” things that make white people creeped out. At one point I remember that I was wondering why someone had tried to merge Aztecs into India.
*headdesk* Damn that movie was horrible.
Yeah, maybe, but the only Virgin who worked as a nightclub singer that comes to mind is Jeannette MacDonald in San Francisco and her Virgin status was a big part of the plot (Spenser Tracy as her Priest/Protector, Gable as her WannabeSeducer/Protector).
Otherwise, if they still wanted all that screaming AND a more believable nightclub gold-digger, they could have gone with someone channelling Joan Davis in Abbot and Costello’s Hold that Ghost if they wanted funny or Barbara Stanwyck in Lady Burlesque if they wanted drama.
(When I was a kid, I practically lived at the Richelieu Theater in SF. Double bills every weekend that changed weekly, cheap, cheap bargain matinees, lots of old, old movies. The women in the 1930’s and 1940’s had tough talking dames, some of whom still needed rescuing, who were NOT what was being used for inspiration here.)
I’d still like to ask for money back. I remember arguing with my date that I wanted to get a refund after seeing that movie. He had paid and he didn’t want to make a scene.
Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem
Even with all that crap script, there would have been different ways to play it with respect to body language, intonation, expressiveness
If I may chime in: It’s true that an actor has room to interpret the role. But it also seems to me that the final performance is put together in the editing room, with directors choosing the takes they prefer. I remember many instances where a line is delivered a certain way in the trailer, but an entirely different way in the movie itself, dramatically altering the mood of the entire scene. (Here’s a recent example.)
I don’t know what kinds of alternate performances Capshaw delivered on the set (perhaps some were more steely, less whiny?) but I’m inclined to hold Spielberg primarily responsible for choosing the performance that we see onscreen.
The task in that assignment was to look at how the archetypes are interpreted differently in modern films. Her argument is that the Virgin (which doesn’t necessarily mean literally virginal, just idealized in some way) is not a trope that gets played straight all the time. For that matter, it didn’t get played straight in film noir ever. Between the two sisters in The Big Sleep, which is the Virgin and which is the Femme Fatale? In various ways, both.
Sorry, yes, “principals”.
Well, if it’s a hated sequels thread that doesn’t end up with me defending “The Phantom Menace” (the pod race is too long, preteen Anakin was a mistake, Jar Jar makes me giggle, looks gorgeous, still a better movie than RotJ), it may as well end up with me defending “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.
I would vote for Cars 2. The most disappointing effort from Pixar ever.
As long as you stick to your principles.
The error only stood out to me because you don’t make many mistakes.
Only thanks to the edit button. >.>
The characters being amoral doesn’t make the movie dumb or bad. There are a number of good movies where the characters are not nice people.
I like most of Alien Resurrection, and thought the way Ripley’s characters was written, such that you often weren’t sure how much of her character was coming from the alien side, was intriguing. Unfortunately, it all falls down in the last half hour or so.
Comic relief isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s used by Shakespeare very effectively in all his tragedies, especially Hamlet. Too much drama can burn the audience out and/or slide over into melodrama. A comedic episode lessens tension, so it can be ratcheted up even higher afterwards.
People have already mentioned Highlander II so I’d like to put forward the crime against humanity that was Highlander: The Source. I don’t care if it was direct to TV (though it was THEATRICALLY RELEASED in a number of countries, including mine), that movie deserved to never see the light of day. To understand why, these two gentlemen put it much better than I ever could:
Gonna make a huge leap here, but looking at Capshaw’s imdb page, and trying to remember her performances in other things that I’ve seen…I think that casting choice pretty much guaranteed a light-weight. She also probably was star-struck and had no personal rock to stand on w.r.t. interpreting the character.
Me, personally, I dig in deep to things (no pun intended, given my job) and if that were my job, I’d have been fighting making the character that way.
Makes me wonder why they needed such a contrast to Marion Ravenwood…did their little boy scrotums crawl up their spines after having a real actor creating a real character instead of an annoying cutout?
Oh, I almost forgot: DIE ANOTHER DAY, AKA James Bond Turns Into Self Parody. Sure, it DID end up causing the reboot that led to the Craig films but how a franchise can go from Goldeneye to THAT is beyond me. The invisible car, Halle Berry’s as a superspy that makes “You momma” jokes, the invisible car, the lame villain, the invisible car, the nonsensical plot (why not point the giant laser STRAIGHT AT SOUTH KOREA instead of using it to clear the mines?), THE F***ING INVISIBLE CAR: all memories that will never go away.
I wasn’t saying it was bad so much for the amoral characters, per se–they just didn’t help. It’s more the cartoony nature of the film that I mentioned earlier. Also, the insanely convoluted plot doesn’t help either. All in all, A:R makes Prometheus look like 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I don’t understand the hate for Iron Man 2 – I enjoyed it.
“Perhaps the greatest flaw of Imperial hubris was underestimating alien cultures as inferior. Perhaps this is no better seen in the battle of Endor. Imperial intelligence dismissed the indigenous Ewoks as primitive, stone-age beings. They never saw the extensive military tactics from centuries of ritual inter-tribal warfare. They treated the local megafauna as a separate threat, not an evolutionary pressure to which the locals had adapted to.
“When the Imperial forces landed, superior technology and surprise were on their side, but these were not insurmountable. The Ewoks understood the threat of the invaders, allowing the tribes to unite. Ambush tactics and scouting allowed these inquisitive creatures to understand their enemy, and locate their weaknesses. Small, costly attacks allowed them to test Imperial battle tactics. Traps designed for predatory beasts were repurposed for military hardware.
“Even the Rebels failed to understand the threat of the Ewoks. They would have met the fate of any other Stormtrooper patrol, had they not somehow convinced the Ewoks of their common enemy. By the time of the Rebel assault, the Ewok tribes were already well aware of Imperial weaknesses and movements, and were quickly able to realize that the Rebels were set to eliminate potential reinforcements.
“In battle, the Ewoks quickly overcame the Imperial technological advantage by retrieving the weapons of the fallen. Rebel propaganda likes to play up the primitive nature of the Ewoks, but every stormtrooper to fall supplied the Ewoks with another blaster. With the mechanized units neutralized by traps set up for the beasts they were brought to scare. The Ewoks now had superior military intelligence, terrain familiarity, and superior numbers. Many were killed in the ensuing battle, but even without Rebel intervention, the Ewoks still would have been victorious.
“It is fortunate for the Rebels that the destruction of the Death Star would cause devestation to Endor. I can think of few things more fearsome than such a cunning and warlike race, set free with access to galactic technology”
(That’s my headcanon, at least)
“Cast a Deadly Spell” was another noir-inspired film where the virgin was status was pretty integral to the plot.
(Why have I seen this dumb film? Because I thought I half-remembered this film from TV as a kid. Watched it through and never saw the scene I remembered. Found out later that this has a sort-of sequel starring Dennis Hopper: “Witch Hunt”. That’s the one I remembered. Stupid Brain.)
It can be a good thing, but it has to be done in the right tone. Slapstick isn’t one of those tones.
Revenge of the Fallen.
Without it, Dark of the Moon doesn’t get made either. TADAAA! Twofer.
(I personally thought the first Transformers film was a perfectly serviceable alien invasion story/tech demo.)
Actually, it’s simpler than that.
They made a movie called, “Highlander”–and they had a Frenchman play the highlander.
And then they cast the world’s most famous Scottish actor–as an Egyptian.
Ditto. She was fairly new to the biz in those days, and, trust me, you do what the director tells you to do.
Major League II.
Take most of the characters from the timeless gem that is Major League, remove all traces of what made them entertaining to watch, amp up the racial stereotyping, and play out a tired, old story, and you will have a close approximation of the Major League II train wreck.
I didn’t quite hate it, but I certainly thought it was a mess of a film, though.
Rest assured, 99.9% of the blame for that steaming pile of stink rests squarely on the shoulders of the guys — Lucas, Spielberg, Kasdan — with the money and the *cough* vision. But, she’s in there, as are a lot of other people, Harrison Ford, too, could have spoken up about his character and wondered aloud (and forcefully) why Indy is attracted to this woman enough to let her get in the way when he was supposedly drawn to Marion. [Yeah, people will fuck anyone, often, but having more to do with them than that requires something more than momentary lust.]
Look, I was 18, had really, really loved Raiders of the Lost Ark, was enthralled with Marion. Because life is already hard enough, I strenuously avoided what I considered known quantities wrt movies and women that I was certain would have me pissed off. I got enough sexism in my day to day life, from men and women both and wasn’t willing to pay for it, too. At least with a book, I could shut it if it got too overwhelming and I also could get it out of a library, so I didn’t have to financially vote for Norman Mailer, for instance. (I haven’t watched the movie again…life is damn short and I can’t be bothered to waste that time. So, all of this gut reaction is my 18-year old self remembering how angry I was.) She let herself be part of that, I haven’t seen her play a role since that was an antidote nor publicly rip that role to shreds. It remains the most famous thing she’s ever done and she married the director. Eh, I’m not judging her person, I’m judging her career choices and skills.
Visuals get under one’s skin. Movies often stick with us in ways that even real life events don’t. That was a repulsive movie in so many ways especially considering what one might think one would get going into the theater based on the previous outing of Indiana Jones.
A couple of minor notes that do not, in any way, take away from your very valid personal reaction to the film:
1) You partly blame Kasdan, but according to Wikipedia and other sources, he turned down the offer to write the script, and has publicly called the movie ugly and mean-spirited. Just wanted to clear Kasdan’s name here because, back in the day, I received a college writing award with his name on it, and I felt like I should stick up for him. ;-)
2) Re Indy, Marion, and Willie: Temple of Doom is a prequel, taking place a year before the events in Raiders. As I understand it, Indy and Marion had been estranged for a long time before they met again in Raiders, so commitment or attraction to Marion would not have been a factor during Temple of Doom. (Which maybe is partly why Lucas and Spielberg wrote it that way.)
(However, the film never really emphasized the prequel aspect; it merely says “1935” at the start, as opposed to “1936” for Raiders, which most people in the theater probably wouldn’t have remembered. So I understand how people might not have picked up the timeline on first viewing; I certainly didn’t.)
Escape from LA
I actually quite liked Cars 2.
I would totally agree, but AJ Langer is a very old friend of mine from grade school. So I can’t wish any project she worked on never existed.
Also, no movie with Bruce Campbell can be all bad.*
*That’s my personal variant on Roger Ebert’s “Walsh-Stanton Rule”: No movie featuring M. Emmet Walsh or Harry Dean Stanton can be all bad. Of course, he wrote that before he saw “Wild Wild West”.
An Egyptian pretending to be Spanish, no less.
The Neverending Story 2.
The second half of the book The Neverending Story (the first movie did a reasonably good job on the first half of the book) is a surprisingly compelling tale of the benefits and costs of escapism, the corrupting nature of power, and redemption through filial love. It had a profound and profoundly positive impact on my nine-year-old self.
The movie, which adapts small portions of a couple chapters before veering off into stupid-land, is bland, venial, and cliche. In particular, the choice to make Xayide the villain (where in the book the closest thing to a villain in the second half is Bastian himself) was jaw-droppingly stupid, and the whole thing with fear of diving unbelievably banal.
I won’t even get started on the third and fourth movie…
Indeed, Temple of Doom was written by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who had previously worked on American Grafitti with Lucas.
Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows. Let’s make a movie about fans of a previous movie! Let’s completely throw out the “this is real” premise and found footage motif (admittedly, that can be overdone- are they up to four Paranormal Activities?). Let’s throw in a bunch of weird ass symbolism that doesn’t mean anything. Let’s revel in all the most obvious stereotypes of Wicca and show the creepy goth kids senselessly murdering people. Wait, the director also made those movies about the West Memphis Three? That seems a bit incongruous.
I saw it mentioned in another comment but the first thing I thought of was Highlander 2. It completely destroyed or invalidated everything about the first movie that I loved. After that, Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand. Both movies took beloved franchises and soiled them. Spider-Man 3 was a huge disappointment, but The Last Stand bothered me more. Firs they bastardized the Dark Phoenix saga, and then the death of Cyclops still pisses me off to this day. Because a) he is an integral part of the Dark Phoenix storyline, and b) He’s Professor X’s right hand man, his field sergeant, the team leader and his death is glossed over and barely mentioned. As if his passing had no effect on any of the mutants he had fought with.
Oh man, I am all riled up now…
Hate to go so recent, but A Good Day to Die Hard.
I’m gonna go in a different direction here. I’ve rarely had a bigger WTF movie moment than after watching Halloween 3.
Hey, “Wild Wild West” had Salma Hayek in a dancehall gown.
Ghostbusters 2 – I was only twelve when I watched it, but I distinctly remember loving the first one and being extremely underwhelmed and a bit sickened by the overall plot and saccharine ending of the sequel.
I’ll also toss in Men in Black 2, of which I remember nothing, Gremlins 2 (admittedly the first wasn’t exactly a masterpiece) and Bubblegum Crash (and to a lesser extent BBC 2040 as well) for inexplicably transforming the efficient, mysterious badass that is Sylia Stingray into an unstable, emotional wreck.
Caddyshack II and it’s not even close.
Star Wars: Episode I. Bonus, please get rid of the special editions. Extra effects make for a worse movie.
Batman & Robin. The ultimate nail in the coffin of one of my favorite childhood series–the original film sparked my rabid film fandom. (I wasn’t thrilled with Batman Forever, but it’s at least watchable).
The cleaned up effects in The Empire Strikes Back are actually pretty good (especially the views of Cloud City). It’s probably the one case where the special editions actually worked.
+1 on Men in Black 2. That movie was a disaster that I wish I could unsee. (The only reason I saw it to begin with is because I was a camp counselor that needed to take my kids to SOME movie and we were in a really, really small town with limited choices…) And the first one is one of my favorite movies! I’m not a big fan of sequels in general, often because they undo resolutions of story and character arcs that are satisfying and/or make sense in favor of hauling back the same characters for another go. Men in Black 2 was particularly bad about this…
Yeah, destroying and invalidating everything you love about an original film for the sake of dragging more story out of the whole thing is an offense commonly committed by sequels. Some of them I just literally have to pretend are not canon in order to make myself feel better. :-P
I know it’s not a popular opinion but I love Neverending Story 2. I watched both of them when I was a kid and loved both of them. And yes, Xayide’s roll was greatly expanded but they definitely kept in the theme of Bastian being consumed by his dark side. (And the Xayide of the book did legitimately play a role in coaxing him in that direction.) I also like that they introduced some themes in the book that the first film had pretty much neglected, like the effect of Bastian’s mother’s death on him and on his relationship with his father.
I’m not saying that it’s a great movie or even not-a-bad-movie but, the thing is, I don’t think the first one is very good either, objectively speaking. I actually don’t think it’s that great an adaptation of the first half of the book and there is so much about it that makes less sense when there isn’t the second part of Bastian actually travelling to Fantastica/Fantasia. I love both movies because I adored them in childhood (and never would have read the book at all if it hadn’t been for them) but that doesn’t mean I actually think they’re “good.” (Although I will concede that the first one is probably a little better than the second as far as story pacing etc.) The third one I never saw because it’s got nothing to do with the book at all, as far as I could tell. I didn’t even know there was a fourth one. Ugh.
There was talk a few years ago of a new adaptation of the book that would actually stick faithfully to the story–the whole story. I haven’t heard about it for a while though. I sure would love that to happen though.
I didn’t even like the second Shrek. (and I loved the first one.)
Wait, Short Round is a redeeming quality? To me, he was always just one more reason why it sucked so bad, although he wasn’t nearly as bad as Kate Capshaw shrieking everywhere. Pretty amazing that the franchise came back so hard with “Last Crusade” which was actually really good. How often does that happen?
“Too much drama” was not something Star Wars ever had to worry about. But that’s just me, the “Star Wars is only okay” person talking. :-P
Oh God, I forgot about the Indians using voodoo dolls…
Oh George Lucas, is there anything that’s not your fault?
You notice that too, huh?
1. Airplane 2: The Sequel. 2. The Blues Brothers 2000.
Totally and completely disagree. The Cloud City was nowhere not a big metropolis. The Special Editions to me are hard to watch.
Give a story space, exactly what the Bays and Bruckheimer don’t do.
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