Monday, March 17, 2008

Movie Sequels That Are Better Than the Originals

The main problem most film sequels have is their attempt to recapture the success of the original by replicating its cast, story, etc. The best sequels avoid that trap by going off in their own directions, or by expanding on what made the original so popular. Here is a list of what I think are the best improve on their predecessors:
  1. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 — Now don't get me wrong: I loved The Blair Witch Project. But unfortunately most of its success, in addition to a very effective fear approach, was due to the "this really happened" marketing gimmick. Instead of trying to catch lightning in a bottle again, director Joe Berlinger and his co-screenwriter Dick Beebe created an original story of the effects the first movie had on a group of young filmgoers.

  2. Superman II — The original Superman is a classic, but it is primarily devoted to what comics aficionados call "the origin story": where Superman comes from, the people in his life, his super powers, etc. Where Superman II takes off (pun intended) is by expanding on three fringe characters seen only in the beginning of the first movie. Giving Superman three villains (four if you count Gene Hackman's return as Lex Luthor, though he is mostly relegated to the sidelines) to fight ratchets up the suspense level. And allowing for more humor (related to the three aliens' unfamiliarity with Earth customs) simply makes for a more entertaining film.
(More to come, including Aliens, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, and Toy Story 2.)

By the way, I believe I am the only person I know who does not believe that The Godfather II is better than The Godfather. The continuation of the Michael Corleone story is much welcomed, but the Young Vito clips are just boring and unnecessary.

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