Thursday, April 27, 2017

Not THAT Again! The Trouble with Sequels

by Stacey Fearheiley

This week's podcast was all about sequels--movie sequels-- the good, the bad and never should have been.  Eric and I talked about the ones we liked--and the ones we didn't (we're looking at you, Speed 2).  The conclusion we came to, to a great extent, was that the bottom line was the bottom line, and reason for green lights.  If the original made money, there was a really good shot at there being a follow up.  Sometimes artistry doesn't come into a lot of play (we see you, Transformers!).

I really enjoyed the "Sequel on the Spur" of the moment game Eric and I played.  We were to come up with a sequel plot line for movies that did NOT have sequels.  I gave Eric Jesus Christ Superstar, one of my all time favorite musicals.  The crucifixion not withstanding, Eric suggested that the hippies of the 70s would come back in the 80s to that same desert and create a mega church--full of hypocrisy and greed.

Eric gave me When Harry Met Sally and I took its sequel's plot down a dark path to "When Harry Divorced Sally".  I think the 21st century is hard on 20th century relationships.  But the idea of sequels being where they don't currently exist intrigued me.  What other unlikely movies could do with a sequel?  Here are a few of my choices.

First up:  Titanic....but it was a bit of a sequel in itself, as it showed the life the ingenue led through photographs and newspaper clippings.  So...pass.  Changed my mind.

Gone with the Wind is also a fave of mine and could have used one...but only with the original cast. The tries at sequels for this epic have failed miserably, not only because of storyline issues, but the chemistry between Gable, Leigh, de Haviland, Howard and MacDaniel could not be replicated with others.  So the story of the Scarlett, Rhett and Tara in the late 19th century is best left to our imaginations.

Pride and Prejudice is a fun choice. The original story has been told and re told so many times, it's hard to keep track. While I love the Lawrence Olivier version, the stylized acting (and Greer Garson being a 36 year old debutante) put it at number 2 version on my list because... COLIN FIRTH!!!

Not many take on this hefty classic to sequelize (if not a word, it should be).  It's a challenge and there is the gauntlet of fans one would have to get past.   Although I actually saw the PBS production of "Murder at Pemberly" and it was really entertaining.  By not going down the romantic story path, taking it down a different genre, the writers bypassed some of the pitfalls that trip one up when writing for well-known and beloved characters.  That said, with all the fan fiction out there re: what happened to Lizzie and Darcy, it is a wonder that more movie "sequels" for P&P haven't happened.

Forrest Gump is one that might be fun.  Enough history has passed for either Forrest or his son to have been involved in, and CGI'd into, iconic scenes.  I think there are some topics that the personality of Forrest could tackle in a way that was palatable to many viewers.  But you would need to have Tom Hanks at least involved.  Otherwise you don't have the connection...and NO ONE ELSE can play Forrest.

I will admit that these choices are specific and very much of a style.  I enjoy action movies, but most of the successful DO get a sequel.  I enjoy some costume dramas as well, but often they are tied up at the end, or some one really important dies and thus a sequel would be superfluous.  Fried Green Tomatoes was great..please don't make a sequel.  Color Purple, sequel please.

At the end I do believe that there is a place for sequels, especially those NOT created entirely for monetary purposes.  Sometimes I want to know more of what happened to my favorite characters after the epilogue.  But sometimes, I'm good.  Because sometimes continuing the story would ruin the feeling I had for the initial movie.  And I'd hate that.

So, here's to the sequels we love...and the ones we don't miss!

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