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Discussion: Sequels and Prequels

Billie's recent review of The Matrix inspired a great discussion question from super-awesome-fabulous reader KAM: Which sequels or prequels surpass the originals? And which sequels or prequels should never have been made? We're turning that all-important question over to you, readers, in this week's discussion thread.

The challenge are obvious: List sequels and/or prequels that do or don't suck, and complain or praise like crazy. And while we're all generally a kindly bunch, let's remember to avoid getting all het up if someone hates your favorites.

In the spirit of something I'm sure we can all agree on, I'll get the ball rolling with the first Most Awful Thing Ever I thought of: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's so bad that I just pretend it doesn't exist. Like narwhals.


  1. Fun topic..Aliens is very good, the other two sequels, not so much..we'll see how the prequel fares.
    I kinda wish the Matrix sequels never happened..the first movie is the best.
    Superman 2 improves on the original..Ursa was a fun villain and Zod the best supervillain ever. Plus doomed romance, what's not to like?
    The third Godfather movie didn't appeal to anyone did it?

  2. Sorry, Anna. I loved the third Godfather, although I am well aware that I am in the minority. I also thought that Godfather II was better than the original, again well aware that I am in the minority.

    Hated the second and fourth Indiana Jones, but loved the first and third.

    The three Star Wars prequels just got progressively worse. Although in the first three, each was good in its own way.

    And don't laugh at me, but my favourite of the three is Toy Story 3.

  3. I agree with you Josie about the 4th Indy movie. I liked seeing Harrison Ford again as Indy but that plotline was part crap and part WTH was Lucas smoking. I really wish the earlier story rumors about the search for Atlantis had come to fruition and the possible introduction of Indy's brother played by Tom Selleck, both of which I think would have been better ideas than aliens and Mutt.

    Chris, I used to not like the second Indy movie, but upon rewatching, I've grown to like it. Weird. I still like the 1st and 3rd the best and the 2nd movie with its flaws is still much better than what Lucas came up with for the 4th movie, though I also kinda of wonder if the whole aliens thing was Spielberg's influence. :)

    Also in regards to the Star Wars Prequels, will never ever like them due to three words...Jar Jar Binks. Love the original episodes IV-VI, even though I wish Lucas had gone with his original idea of Wookies in ROJ instead of using Ewoks. And when I say the original episodes of IV-VI, I mean just that, not Lucas' craptastic reimaginings that were the "special editions". Making Greedo shoot first can only be expressed as AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!! The whole coolness factor of Han Solo in that scene is him shooting Greedo first and it fits his character.

    I really wish Lucas had spent the time he "wasted :)" on the prequels and special edition "editing" on making the sequels episodes VII-IX and made them based on the Timothy Zahn trilogy.

    Anna, I actually liked Alien: Resurrection, not as good as Aliens, but decent I thought. Much better than Alien3, though other of my friends say people don't appreciate what Fincher brought to the Alien franchise with the third movie. I always answer "you mean putting me to sleep". :)

    In regards to the Matrix, I view the Matrix on its own as a great movie. And I view the sequels as something separate, as expansions on the Matrix universe, rather than direct sequels. There like all the other extras you get if you buy the Ultimate Matrix Experience DVD set, which I did. :D

    As for sequels/prequels that worked. Army of Darkness was a great sequel. "Shop Smart, shop S-mart" "Gimme some sugar baby" "This is my Boomstick!" I love the LOTR trilogy, my favorite being the Two Towers. I just love how much Peter Jackson put into making those movies. I like the Lethal Weapon series, great buddy-buddy cop movies.

    I can probably think of some more that I like and those that I didn't, but I'd probably be typing all day if I did that...:)

  4. Should we really count LOTR? To me, that was really one long story told in three parts, rather than an additional adventure in the same universe with the same characters. Kind of like the Harry Potter series. It definitely had distinct parts, but also felt like one long story, rather than the more traditional sequel/prequel structure.

    The hubby would certainly agree with Army of Darkness being superior to the first two Evil Dead movies. It's one of his favorite movies ever, so definitely a worthy sequel.

    I agree with many of the choices noted above, especially Aliens and The Empire Strikes Back. I'm also quite fond of The Last Crusade.

    I would add The Road Warrior and The Karate Kid: Part II (but not Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome or KK: Part III). Definitely cases where the first sequel was better than or at least equal to the original, but the third went to the well once too often.

    What about television spin-offs? Do they count as sequels of a sort? If so, I nominate Angel and Frasier, very worthy series in their own rights. Next Generation and Deep Space Nine were also good successor series. Joey, on the other hand ...

  5. Jess, in regards to LOTR and Harry Potter, I can see your point but along those same line of thinking, you could also view Star Wars the same way. It's basically if you look at it a coming of age storyline of Luke Skywalker transforming from an unknown farm boy to a Jedi Knight and leader of the Rebellion set against the backdrop of a civil war within an evil empire.

    Hmmm...tv spin-offs as sequels, I guess you could consider them that way. Though spin-offs tend to be focused on one of the popular characters of a show getting their own show, so is it really a sequel? Just like you could consider US Marshalls a sequel to The Fugitive even though it should more correctly be considered a spin-off of the Tommy Lee Jones character.

  6. Lord of the Rings is one movie.

    While the Harry Potter movies have an overarching theme and plots that continue throughout, they have primary plots which resolve at the conclusion of each film.

    LotR, however, is all one plot and one story without in-story breaks separating plot points.

    There's a reason they filmed it all at once. Just because the released it in parts doesn't make the latter two parts sequels.

  7. Second Terminator movie was a great sequel, third and fourth was bad.

  8. I agree with almost all the comments here. My criterion has always been: did the subsequent movie (or television show) enhance or sully the original material?

    The Star Wars prequels didn't just sully the original -- they raped them and cut off their ears (anyone watching the Borgias?). The 4th Indy movie was just terrible (I try to pretend it didn't happen, that the series ended with 3). Ditto many other bad sequels, including everything after Terminator 2 but not counting the tv series, which I consider a separate endeavor.

    Would we count Serenity? I thought it wrapped up the loose ends of the tv series well and was a really solid, well-crafted film.


  9. Agreed about Lord of the Rings-it's one whole story divided into three great parts. Also agreed about the Star Wars prequels..lousy stuff.
    Serenity should count and is great. The second Men in black is pretty lousy where the first was fun. Will see about part three.

  10. I agree with pretty much all of these, but I have to add two more (both superhero movies): Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight. Fingers crossed that Dark Knight Rises is the best of the lot!

  11. Well it's Christopher Nolan and Batman, so my feelings on the third and final movie is In Nolan I Trust. :)

  12. Agreed! I've never seen a Nolan movie I didn't love, so my hopes are sky-high for DKR. It's gonna be exciting!

  13. Oh and as for bad sequels..almost all the Highlander ones..Endgame is ok..but the rest..not a patch on the first movie. Or the tv series.

  14. Anna, I agree on the Highlander sequels. Liked the tv series.

    The second Highlander movie was especially bad because of how convoluted it made the mythology of the Immortals. It was much more interesting to just have this race of immortals living among us that did battle to determine the one as established in the first movie.

    But nope, you add in the second movie and now these mysterious Immortals are actually aliens from another planet who were exiled to Earth. On their planet they're mortal, unless they happen to be exiled to our planet when they become immortal, until there is only one and he turns mortal again, unless another immortal from his home world arrives and he kills the immortal and thus becomes immortal again, and etc. etc. blah, blah, blah.

    Really, was it really necessary to make them aliens? And the subsequent movies just got weirder and made things more confusing. :)

    And joy of joys (massive sarcasm intended), they're remaking the the first movie with Ryan Reynolds as Connor. And although I like the actor, I don't think it's a good fit or moret to the point it makes you go WTF?! Then again, I don't think they should be remaking the movie in the first place.

    I could be wrong, I've seen the trailer for the Total Recall and it looks pretty decent.

  15. X-Men 2 is far better than X-Men 1 (and X Men 1 is a perfectly decent film), indeed no.2 is one of my favourite films of all time and the standard by which all other comic book/superhero films are judged. In the 9 years since it was released (! - wow I'm feeling old) I can count the number of better superhero films on one hand.

    Then the series went completely off the rails with Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is so bad I think we all deserve a personal apology for it existing.

    As I said in the Matrix thread I've got a real soft spot for Revolutions: it's not as good as the original Matrix but it's a decent enough film with some lovely moments - Trinity's speech about how she was prepared to give up everything, the stuff in the real world - and it's just let down by that ghastly ending.


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