Please stop making sequels

Blade Runner screenshot which is awesome

Just recently Blade Runner, Independence Day, Prometheus, and Avatar have all been lined up for sequels. Of the four two are great and two fetid clouds of arse steam, but all were super popular. Am I alone in hoping for something new every once in a while?

All the films did well at the box office (except Blade Runner, but it has enough of a cult following now to erase that memory), so naturally, it seems, the film studios want to recreate that and rake in even more cash by foisting a slightly different version of the same film on what they obviously think is an idiotic audience with no attention span. Prometheus was already a prequel so the production company should probably be careful because it sounds like they’re messing with the fabric of space time in a manner that Brian Cox would not approve of.

It’s such a well worn formula now that it’s almost tiring; if a films does well in cinemas you know a sequel will be announced within a couple of months. You’re guaranteed another dose of exactly the same thing all over again in 12 months time, give or take. It makes business sense, but what’s good for business generally means a shitty deal for the consumer. Films are no different; if they’ve made one movie with fast cars and people punching each other and it’s done well then they’re probably going to make another seven. You thought all the car driving and punching was over, but no, there’s more! More Vin Diesel “acting”, more CGI explosions and more witty one liners that don’t stand up to scrutiny when tested for sense or relevance.

Great I suppose if you like to multitask when you watch a film; you can paint your nails, check your emails, fill out your tax return or build a flatpack wardrobe. All these things are frowned on in the cinema though, so best to wait for the DVD if your prime motivation for watching a film is just as background noise for your actual life. If you miss explosion number twelve never fear; another one will coming up in a little over three minutes. But if you actually like films and watch them to get something out of them other than a dose of mental valium to dull the screeching of your boring yet terrifying existence, sequels are generally a waste of time.

Given the amount of people who harbour a secret dream of being a screenwriter, there must be plenty of new screenplays, new ideas and new approaches floating around waiting for someone to give them a chance. Of course there are still great and exciting new films being made but the majority of the bigger studios are happy to repeat the same formula over and over again until they run out directors and actors willing to go along with the madness.

Of course, when a smaller studio stumbles onto something great, then the big studios are first in line to jump on the bandwagon, grapple the controls away and repeatedly ram the whole thing headfirst into a brick wall until it’s ruined and only identifiable by its dental records (not that bandwagons have dental records; they’re well known for their lackadaisical approach to oral hygiene).

Unless the sequel is part of the original story, like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, I don’t want to see it. If the original was a stand alone story that was good, then the sequel, or prequel, is never going to be as good. The expectation of the first film will always make whatever comes after it seem like an anticlimax, no matter how good it is. Much better surely to put all your time, effort and finances into making something new and original and exciting, rather than rehashing old ground constantly.

I won’t be rushing down to the cinema to grab my tickets when Avatar 214: Even More Revenge of Lanky Blue Aliens comes out. But hopefully I’ll be dead by then anyway, so that’s something to look forward to.

If you liked this why not read my blog on experimentation in films, or whether the movie is ever better than the novel. Plus, follow me on Twitter @SallyWJones.

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