So last entry I lamented the trend of unnecessary sequels. Well, going down the rabbit hole that is the interwebs, I bring you a further lament on the trend of unnecessary sequels, in three parts. Also, I need more eggnog.
The Unnecessary Sequel to the Unnecessary Sequel – Or perhaps I should say the “unnecessary sequel to the unnecessary reboot/reinterpretation.” A few years ago, Tim Burton teamed up with Johnny Depp on a project that would earn both of them (and Tim Burton’s long-time partner Helena Bonham Carter) another paycheck. Said project was Alice in Wonderland, or as the Nostalgia Critic more aptly titled the film, “Grown-up Alice Returns to Underland.” It was full of the kind of dark imagery Burton is known for, and sadly for the lack of inspiration Burton is lately known for. It was also unnecessarily released in 3D. I didn’t think the movie had made a lot of money and it certainly didn’t earn any particular critical or popular acclaim (at a mere 52% freshness rating, which I agree with), and yet there is a sequel to be released next year.
The Unnecessary Sequel to the Predictably Disappointing Reboot – The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise certainly has staying power. I suppose it was inevitable after the success of Transformers that Michael Bay would be called upon to reboot another ’80 favorite. Granted, he had very little to do with making the movie, but so many of his trademarks are there that it doesn’t matter. It was not good. The movie embraced neither the grittiness of the original comic nor the outright insanity of the cartoon/toy franchise. The CG turtles were ugly, the story was bland, the back story overly complicated, and there was entirely too much April O’Neill. Look, I liked her fine but in the show she was the most reckless reporter since Lois Lane and served more as a plot device than a character.
And yet there is a sequel. The trailer shows an alien invasion so I assume Dimension X is being brought into the story, Bebop and Rocksteady (who look much better than the turtles), a scientist I’m guessing is Baxter Stockman (pre-body horror transformation), and Casey Jones. There even appears to be some humor, but I’m not fooled by trailers anymore. The trailer for the last “Transformers” movie prominently featured the Dinobots, and who doesn’t love the Dinobots, but I wasn’t fooled, and they were only in the movie for about five minutes or so. Also, the tone of the alien invasion felt way too serious and I am so not wanting to see a romance between Casey Jones and April. I’d rather Casey just kept his mask on the entire time and stuck to doing what he does best – beating things up with a hockey stick and badassness.
The Unnecessary Sequel to the Years-old Blockbuster – Once upon a time, in the dark days of the 1990s, Jeff Goldblum was probably a bigger star than Will Smith. I know, weird world. This was also before CGI had made it so easy to blow up every major landmark in the entire world. What should have been a fairly generic and forgettable alien invasion film hit the big screen and somehow made all the money (in 1990s dollars anyway) and made Will Smith the king of catchphrases (“Welcome to Earth!”). This movie was called Independence Day. It was an odd mix of horrific (millions of people unquestionably died) and comedy (see the aforementioned catchphrases) with ridiculously clichéd moments and plotholes large enough for a spaceship to crash through, and yet it worked. It was a huge hit and thoroughly enjoyable summer blockbuster.
Some twenty-odd years later there is now a sequel coming out called Independence Day: Resurgence. The plot still looks fairly generic (aliens return for revenge) and Will Smith is nowhere to be seen, although several other actors appear to be reprising their roles. Did the original movie need a sequel? Eh, I could make the argument that if one had been released a few years after the original it might have made some sense. But this movie is aimed at a demographic that includes people younger than the original movie!
*Sigh* I’m gonna need a lot more eggnog this season…