Edward: So now that Blade Runner 2 looks to be underway, I’m looking back and noticing that one of the other current trends in Hollywood is to make sequels to films that have remained “stand alone” films for over a decade. It seems like another attempt to make unnecessary sequels, since the original works were complete in their own right, and that studios are desperately trying to cash in on anything they can make a franchise out of. Some other recent examples are Dumb and Dumber To and Scream 4. What are your thoughts?
Chris: That’s a great discussion question. I have mixed feelings on long-awaited sequels. Some are great, and even expected because they’re part of a franchise. For example, I think everyone wants to see Star Wars Episode 7, which is a sequel to Return of The Jedi, but since it’s part of an expected franchise, perhaps this analogy doesn’t count. In terms of movies like Blade Runner, I guess that would go under the category of “Sequel nobody was really expecting”. It’s a mixed bag for me. Being able to visit characters like Rick Deckard and Ellen Ripley again sounds really exciting. But as we know, sequels often don’t live up to the original. Than there’s the question of “Why did they wait so long to make this.” Actors like Harrison Ford don’t get many starring roles these days because of their age. So, reprising characters like Deckard is a way for him to get back in the spotlight. Is it a cash grab? Yeah. They know fans of these original properties will go watch them. I’m not ashamed to say, I will. Or perhaps I should be ashamed? Haha.
James: I think long awaited sequels need to to be approached with a great deal of caution and care. I think that some film “universes” lend themselves more readily to being made into a sequel than others. Movies like Alien is the type of world that I think has absolute treasure troves of untapped potential. Blade Runner is something that I’m less sold on. As for the long wait in returning to the world…I think doing so counts almost invariable as a stroke against the concept since if it was such a fabulous idea, why hadn’t anyone hit on it a decade earlier? In some instances, it may be okay, depending on how it’s approached, as with Star Wars and Alien. The universe is certainly large enough to include much later additions, but again, doing so can be extremely difficult and it has to be done with care to ensure that it’s worthy of its predecessors. The problem with doing them so far apart is that much of that original creative flair may well have left the people attached which is a huge gamble when revisiting old territory. Indiana Jones is a great example. It ‘could’ have worked but as it was done, just didn’t. Everyone on board, both in front and behind the screen just seemed tired. I’d say that 9 times out of 10, the sole motivating factor is the cash,and that’s very much the case in Star Wars and Alien. Since Chappie, I have NO confidence in Blomkamp any more. Which could be good….fewer expectations to satisfy. lol. But seriously, damn. Disappointed!
Edward: I’m pretty much okay with any sequel no matter how long it takes for them to make it, as long as it’s good. If an author decides to write a sequel to a novel many years down the road, fans tend to be a lot more excited about it. With a movie though, it seems like there is a set amount of time that fans will accept a sequel before they start to lose interest. Case in point this year was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. It was released nine years after Sin City, and its dismal performance at the box office showed that people really didn’t care to watch the same film again so far after; it seemed like a desperate attempt to revive an old property. Had that movie been released in 2007 or 2006, I think it would have done a lot better. It also didn’t help that it was a bad movie. With Blade Runner 2, I’d be okay with a good sequel, but given how the original is a masterpiece of science fiction, I doubt any sequel will be able to live up to it. So why even bother?
Lorin: I almost never look forward to sequels because there have been too many disappointments. I loved The Matrix and I even enjoyed The Matrix Reloaded but the last one was awful. It didn’t seem necessary to split one story into two films. I wonder if that was a cash grab. I do love Keanu Reeves’s work and especially his newest film John Wick. I’m already anticipating the sequel but I’m already wondering if it will be as good.
Chris: I only enjoyed the first Matrix I’m afraid. I think the concept is pretty cool in the first film, but the sequels just seemed like one fight scene after another, and the Bullet Time special effects were quite overused if I may say so.I agree with the Indiana Jones analogy. While I enjoyed Indy 4, they waited too long to make the sequel. They could have easily popped out a few sequels in the 90’s when Ford was in his prime but they didn’t. I’m not trying to sound ageist but you do have to take age into consideration when you wait too long. I mean, as far as I know Ford still wants to do Indy 5 and he’s almost 74. Indy is such a physical role you have to wonder if he’s up for it.
And I’m not looking forward to Alien 5 now. Get another director!