Friday, June 17, 2016

Come Again?

Hollywood spends a lot on sequels because they're the surest thing there is, but many have disappointed at the box office this year.  I say who needs 'em?  A good picture has a story that's complete in itself--if there's more to tell, you should have put it in there to begin with.

This doesn't apply, I suppose, to character who go on regular adventures--James Bond, Indiana Jones, Captain America, etc.  But most movies have an arc where the protagaonist has a challenge and overcomes it, changing in the process.  After the change, what's the point of another movie--will the character change yet again?

Which is why so many sequels are disappointing.  Anyway, that's what I was thinking while watching one of those disappointing sequels, Now You See Me 2.

The first film was a surprise hit because it had such a good concept: four magicians, talented but not stars, come together (at the bequest of a mysterious magic society--my least favorite part of the movie) to fight the powerful through ever more elaborate magic shows.  They're Robin Hoods, stealing ill-gotten gains from the rich and returning the money to the poor, all while the establishment is on their trail.

So that's the fun.  We meet them, they get together, learn to pool their efforts, pull off some stunts, beat the bad guys, and the mystery of what was all behind it is revealed in the end.  The story is told. It's done.  The film was no classic, but it had a reason for being.  The sequel exists for one reason only.

Even worse, and this happens in a lot of sequels--Ghostbusters 2, The Matrix Reloaded come to mind--in the original, they're underdogs who triumph.  Which means, to get the story up and running in the new movie, they have to be brought low again, so they can rise once more.  Before the sequel, when the audience thought of them, they could remember a satisfactory ending with our heroes permanently in triumph mode.  It's both artificial and no fun to see them pointlessly failing again just so they can get back to where they were.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Agree completely. But there are also serials, stories told over a number of films, just too long to tell in one sitting. The Harry Potter franchise is like that, with several of the films clearly ending in cliff-hangers where the heroes are more or less defeated. And of course we now live in the age of TV dramas where every season is one long arc.

But the list of regrettable sequels to good films is long. Jaws 2, Grease 2, Jurassic Park 2, Caddyshack 2, to name a few more.

7:41 AM, June 17, 2016  

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