There are sequels that have surpassed the originals as the superior masterpieces. However, those are a rarity. Will the sequel ever be consistently as good as the first, or will they continue to be the sibling that ruins the family picture?
For years, companies have been making money by tweaking a film that many either loved or hated and calling it a sequel. These after-thought movies have always been the “little brother” in the industry; the one that never lived up to its big brother’s expectations, bringing shame and dishonor to the whole family. The two biggest downfalls of sequels are that the company hopes to make more money and continue (or drag on) story lines.
Some films, although not highly praised by critics, have paved their way into the audiences’ hearts. Any film like that can be the foundation for an unoriginal duplication, created in hopes to attract the same audience and possibly make more money than before. “The Mask,” starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz, was acclaimed as one of the top comedies of the ’90s and generated $119,938,730 domestically. Its poor counterpart, “The Son of the Mask,” came 11 years later and made $102 million short of the first film.
Another group of unoriginal money-hungry sequels are horror films and animated movie sequels. Disney films in the ’90s were considered by many as one of the greatest decades for Disney movies. They are great films that were successful and loved by the public and critics alike. A well-timed, quality sequel (like Disney’s two “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3”) years later can attract an nostalgic audience.
However, new directors, casts and writers can pull and edit whatever they want from the original. In doing so, they can reuse the same (or very similar) villains and endings – which does not often make the movie better in any way. It’s just annoying and repetitive.
Time and money would be much rather spent on a brand new project, instead of reproducing the exact same film over and over again. Horror films are frequent victims of this; they generate the most sequels out of any movie genre in a hope that fans would return for the same thrill they experienced with the first one. Sequels in horror films have been uncreative added plot additions with newer and better looking actors and death scenes with added blood and gore. “The Evil Dead” franchise, which released movies in 1981, 1987 and 1992, are notorious for its blood and violence. The remake in 2012 also included scenes of gratuitous rape and death.
Which brings us to sequels’ next downfall: unwarranted continuation of the story. The only logical and necessary reason for sequels to exist is to finish telling a story that was too long for one movie. Most films deemed “classics” needed no sequel what so ever.
“Jaws” is one of the most influential films of all time. Its use of hiding the villain until the end is what influenced so many horror films to adapt that style of film making. The story ends well and does a great job of original story telling. “Jaws 2: The Revenge” was more than unnecessary. It was pathetic, useless and a shame to father Steven Spielberg and mother Universal Studios.
Some sequels have surpassed the originals as the slightly better film. However, recreating a film from a franchise in efforts to make more money and make fans happy by bringing back the same characters does no justice to the previous picture. Not to mention it serves little to no creativity for the entirety of the production company and studios.
Original films connect to and fill the hearts of many. Sequels aren’t only a waste of time and money, they are just a big slap in the face.
Ahmad Alnajjar is a sophomore in political science.