Brian Henry Martin at the movies

Why I Hate Sequels 2

Published Thursday, 01 November 2012
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The sweeping success of Skyfall has once again proven that the sky's the limit for cinema sequels. James Bond 23 is well on its way to becoming the most successful 007 ever.

And this week it was announced by Disney, after a $4 billion deal with Lucasfilms, that there would be three new Star Wars movies.

Star Wars episode seven will be released in the cinemas in 2015, followed by eight and nine, then one new movie after that, for ever and a day. I was one of the lucky kids who first watched the original Star Wars in the cinema, now it seems, my grandchildren and great grandchildren will be doing the same. May the force (of the sequel) be with you.

Star Wars fans may be divided about this Mickey Mouse takeover, but for cinemagoers it means only one thing - more and more of the same. At the moment, there are incredibly more than one hundred film sequels in the works. So many in fact, that 2013 should really be called 2012 part 2. Next years movie line-up reads like the full time football scores; The Smurfs 2, Iron Man 3, Avatar 2, Mad Max 4, Die Hard 5, Jurassic Park 4.

With The Lord Of The Rings, The Pirates Of The Caribbean and Transformers, returnable film franchises rule the roost at the box office. Of the top ten biggest grossing films of all time, the billion dollar club, the only stand alone film without prequels or sequels is Titanic.

Along with Lucasfilm, in recent years Disney has also bought the golden geese of Pixar and Marvel. The House Of Mouse is now armed with a ready supply of sure-fire hits. And who can blame them?

Especially after the mega turkey disaster of John Carter. This Martian sci-fi fantasy adapted from a pulp fiction novel by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, was Disney's big original release of 2012. Unfortunately film freshness flopped big style and lost a whopping $200 million dollars.

There certainly will not be a John Carter 2.

The truth is that audiences love long running drama, whether it is Mad Men, Games Of Thrones or Homeland. We can't get enough of continuous story lines with our favourite characters. And what is wrong with that? Well, creativity is the first casualty of the sequel. There is no doubt that in nearly every case, each follow up diminishes the brilliance of the original. You only have to watch Taken 2 to appreciate how an inferior spin-off can become a total film car crash.

But a more devastating consequence of sequel supremacy is that the most intelligent and inventive films get bumped and in some cases, don't even get screened at all. Truly great films like The Artist, Margin Call or A Separation.

Thankfully, the current number one film in America is Argo, an original thriller from actor, director Ben Affleck. Old fashioned word of mouth and critical acclaim has helped this fresh flick reach the summit.

That is, until the next sequel comes along...

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.


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