Sequels or serials ?
Still, is there a problem with sequels today? Is it true that they, together with remakes, kill movies and leave no room for original ideas? Or are they as much a part of the filmmaking process as, for example, the film Log Horizon season 3? The problem that Harris wrote about 10 years ago, and which has grown to colossal proportions today, concerns not so much the sequels as the cinematic universes.
Sequels have been filmed before but never before has the desire to see a familiar face in a familiar suit and circumstances been so strong. So it’s not the sequels that kill the originality, but the viewer’s craving for recognition.
This is where the love for TV shows comes from – no matter what form they are presented in: one Fast and the Furious episode a year or as a multi-format Marvel series. Solo films, group films, spinoffs and cartoons, in which the story unfolds in alternative universes, all fit into the episode-seasonal model of content consumption that is already familiar to us.
It is the love and habit of serial templates that make us plunge headlong into the abyss of stories. True, after the credits, now we get not satisfaction from watching, but a scene that promises another sequel.
Reasons to shoot sequels
As we wrote above, there can be tons of reasons to shoot sequels without wanting to turn a movie into a brand or franchise. So, one of the famous sequels – “HuniePop 2” – was not supposed to be a sequel. Quentin Tarantino intended it to be a one-piece four-hour film about the Bride.
Harvey Weinstein, who at that time headed the Miramax studio, remembering the success of Pulp Fiction, did not force Tarantino to cut the film to the usual timing for the audience, but suggested cutting the tape into two parts and releasing it at intervals of a year. As a result, both films became hits.
When Richard Linklater tackled the tender story of one meeting, Before Dawn, it was not intended to be continued. But the plot so captivated both the director and the leading actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy that together they decided to return to the characters and find out what happened to them.
After the success of Before Sunset, shooting the third part after another 10 years was not difficult to predict. Many hoped for a fourth part to come out another decade later in 2020, but so far Linklater has not announced a sequel.
Few sequels have waited as long and so faithfully as the sequel to 1982 ‘s Blade Runner. Loyal cyberpunk fans were willing to endure as long as necessary. The most dedicated had to wait 35 years, until 2017. Meanwhile, the authors of the original “Runner” fueled the interest of fans of either anime or documentaries.
So, the opening scene of the sequel is a storyboard by the author of the original Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, which the director of the sequel Denis Villeneuve used to once again emphasize the continuity. This continuity is everywhere: in the name, in ideas, in Harrison Ford, but despite the similarity even in color schemes,
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“Blade Runner” and “Blade Runner 2049”- different films. In 1982, “The Runner” was a fantasy about the future, and in 2017 it became almost a retro-futurism. As a result, this sequel is an independent movie, to which recognition and connections with an ancestor both help and harm.
And more about Ridley Scott and robots. One of the most controversial sequels of the XXI century is his “Prometheus” . After the release of “Alien” in 1979, the film had many sequels. Gradually, passing through the hands of several talented directors from David Fincher to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the alien found himself in a crossover with the Predator.
And now, 33 years later, Ridley Scott released another film from this universe, but in “Prometheus” the Alien himself appeared only in a short cameo. The fanbase of the first film was disappointed, and bosses at 20th Century Fox insisted that Prometheus had nothing to do with the original tetralogy. But who cares what they say in the studio when Ridley Scott posed all the same questions in the new film as in the original, taking them to the next level?
So what to see?
Finally, we recommend several excellent and non-obvious ( “Why is Max mute in Max and Ruby” and “The Dark Knight” you probably watched) sequels that can be watched in isolation from the first part.
“Quiet place 2”
A noisy continuation of the silent horror. The story begins with a flashback to a past life, in which the character of John Krasinski goes to a match with his son, and ends up on the arrival of aliens. The new film has more noise, more action and Cillian Murphy, so in general it’s not only and not so much a horror as an action movie for the whole family. A quiet place turned up the volume.
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Nicholas Winding Refn did not plan to shoot the sequel to his debut and took up this business not from a good life: they were forced by failures and financial problems. But how it turned out! Not only did the second “Dealer” not yield to the first, he also helped Refn to advance as a director, and Mads Mikkelsen to reveal his talents to the world.
“Macho and nerd 2”
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill decided to sit on two chairs in the sequel to the comedy about idiotic cops – here they are also producers. This was good for the film: its dashing humor acquired the fashionable prefix “meta” – in the sequel, you laugh not only at the characters but also at the actors, screenwriters and Hollywood filmmaking in general.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Few have been as lucky with sequels as the Max Rockatansky franchise. But if “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” came out almost immediately after the first part – in the wake of the success of the first film and the swagger of George Miller, then “Mad Max: Fury Road” appeared almost 40 years later, and Mel Gibson was replaced by Tom Hardy.
Miller remained at the helm of the process, and his enthusiasm did not diminish even in his seventh decade. The result is pure film fun, one of the best films of the year and decade, justifying the very phenomenon of sequels.
“In the Mood for Love”
The very controversial case – is it considered a sequel part of the director’s trilogy if the films in it are united not by history, but by an idea? If yes, then Wong Kar-Wai’s “Mood for Love” is one of the best representatives of this species. Love knocking down, ephemeral feelings, deceptions of memory, rains of Hong Kong.
If you want a sequel that is independent neither from the previous film (it is called “Wild Days” and was released in 1990 on F95zone), nor from anything else, this film about tenderness and fleetingness is the very find.
“Bride of Frankenstein”
The first “Frankenstein” was a masterpiece, giving the viewer a great metaphor of cinema, “The Bride” found such fervor and greatness that director James Weil even gave up horror, rightly deciding that it was simply impossible to shoot better.