Today I’m going to talk about sequels. Are there many sequel movies that you think were just as good as the original film? Usually there is a big build up for an original film but subsequent films don’t get the pubilicity they need to make a successful follow up. There are of course some exceptions to the norm and I shall list a few of my favourites here in today’s blog.
First up, Aliens. The original Ridley Scott film Alien was good and it was certainly original, but I actually think that the sequel is a much better film for entertainment value. The suspense is still there. There is a bigger cast ensemble aswell and the producers really pulled out the stops in this installment of the franchise. There is much more action rather than build up and this adds to the enjoyment of the film on the whole.
James Cameron managed to keep the tense build up in certain parts of the movie, but instead of ending that build up with a lone kill on the side of the Alien, the release was usually a massive shoot out with casualties on either side. Of course the best part of the film is the final battle which is, lets face it, a great catfight. And who can forget the classic line “get away from her, you BITCH!” The original movie had the Alien bursting through John Hurt’s chest moment, but personally I enjoy the second film much more. I think this choice will be the controversial one of my blog today. Alien took more money than Aliens, but it was released a full 7 years previously.
My next selection would be Toy Story 2 and 3. Personally I prefer the original movie because it was so groundbreaking, but having said that the two sequels have been equally as enjoyable to watch and my son likes them also. One of the things that I liked about these follow up movies is that the whole cast returned for another outing in TS2 and only one of two were absent in the 3rd movie. This is always a remedy for an excellent sequel.
There were a few nice additions to TS2 and 3. The effects obviously got better, but they managed to maintain the look of the film and make it very consistent and look the same even though the technology used was more advanced. Some really good actors were also added like Kelsey Grammer and Joan Cusack. The excellent blooper reels were also a great treat! These movies are just as good as the originals.
Next today will be the National Treasure movies. I really liked these two films. The first was something we hadn’t really seen since Indiana Jones, and for any fan of mystery movies with clues that lead you on a journey, then these flicks are for you. The original was a commercial success, grossing well over 3 times its budget worldwide. And so 3 years later a sequel was released called Book Of Secrets.
I really enjoyed the original movie as it was like Indiana Jones in its style, but was obviously taking itself much less seriously. Having said that, I prefer the sequel. Its a much more enjoyable watch set in more locations than just the US and who can forget the delightful scene in Buckingham Palace when Nicolas Cage’s character takes it out on the security guard played by Edward Woodward’s son Peter. I love this line aswell – “Just a nip. Popped down to the pub for a pint. Bit of all right. Going to arrest a man for that? Going to detain a blighter for enjoying his whiskey?” – the way Cage delivers it is just so funny. Unfortunately the movie wasn’t as successful as its original counterpart, but I prefer it and it has done enough to earn another sequel in 2014 which I hope will be equally as much fun.
Lastly, I will list probably one of the best know sequels ever made and arguably the greatest. The Empire Strikes Back. Lets face it, as sci-fi movies go, this has to be the best ever made. Star Wars: A New Hope was an all time great movie, but who would have thought it could be beaten just 3 years later. The full cast had returned (although they were contracted for all 3 movies), the story is just much better and you already know the characters. It also goes more into the dark side of The Force which to me is the much more appealing end of the story.
The special effects had come on a little bit, but were essentially the same look as the first movie. What I enjoy the most about this movie is that it isn’t the happy ending that everyone always expects from Hollywood. The story is left on a huge cliffhanger having just been given the most disturbing information about the 2 main characters, simply something that was not expected at the time. Unfortunately, George Lucas couldn’t repeat the success of The Empire Strikes Back with the fans for a number of reasons – Ewoks, Jar Jar Binks, CGI Yoda etc etc – but we can always just ignore those movies and watch The Empire Strikes Back over and over again. Hmm, what a good idea…bye for now, the popcorn is ready!