A Dreamer Walking


Posted in Personal Philosophy by Jacob on May 5, 2010

What do I think of Sequels?

That is actually a question I have been trying to answer for a few weeks now. I started thinking about it while watching the Pirates of the Caribbean “Trilogy”. I really liked the first Pirates movie, the other two left me extremely disappointed. The writers freely admitted that they were not planning for sequels when writing the first Pirates movie, they really tied things up thinking that was the only story for Pirates of the Caribbean that they were going to tell. The reason they made the next two films was because the first movie was extremely popular and the higher ups (executives) knew they could get a easy profit from sequels.

Sequels can be a success but only if you are making the sequels for the right reasons. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise did not seem to have a good enough reason for making a sequel. The real story seemed to already be told in the first movie. “Do I have another story to tell with these characters?”, should be the question we, as filmmakers, should ask ourselves before embarking on a sequel. Because Hollywood is a business first, the question often asked is “Can we make more money with this franchise?”, if the answer is “yes”, then no matter if they have a good story or not, they will try to make another movie.

Sequels have been given a bad rap because most of them have business men in the forefront of getting them made, rather then actual artists. When you start to put actual artists, who have good stories to tell, in charge of  sequels (or any film for that matter), you begin to see some powerful results.

Good Directors know that story is the key to making a film a success. Look at Christopher Nolan and what he has done with the Batman franchise. Christopher is the co-writer and Director of both Batman Begins and Batman Dark Knight. With both of the movies the executives for Warner Bros (the business men) allowed Christopher and his team to have creative control and the time that they needed to make the movie good. Christopher did not tie things up in the first movie, instead Christopher left more room for his characters to explore in the second film. Christopher made it clear that he would not make a sequel unless he had a story, so Warner Bros waited for him and his writers to create one. Because they were willing to wait, and because Christopher  had creative control, the Batman franchise made a magnificent sequel that has been hailed by fan and critic alike, as being just as good if not better the first movie.

The key to good movies is story, you must have a story that you are dieing to tell if you are going to make a film. Sequels are no exception, there have been very creative people who I think have made very bad sequels because they were not putting story first. Look at the Indiana Jones franchise as an example. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are some extremely creative people who were the reason the Indiana Jones franchise was such a success in the 1980’s. I personally think that the Indiana Jones movie made in 2008, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was a huge disappointment and it was not nearly as popular public wise. I felt that they relied on old tricks, we saw most of what Indiana did in the fourth movie somewhere in the last three movies. There was nothing more that they seemed to want to say about Indiana Jones, that they had not already said before.

Spielberg’s, Lucas’s, and Harrison’s (actor who played Indiana Jones) greatest reasons to make the fourth movie, was because they had a huge amount of pressure from fans and because they wanted to get the old Indiana Jones team back together. Neither one of these reasons are good enough to make a sequel.

There never seemed to be the idea that there was another story to tell. Steven and Lucas had a very hard time creating the fourth story, they freely admitted that they did not really have one in mind when committing to the fourth movie. Even though their reasons for making a fourth movie were admirable, they were not good enough. The Indiana Jones legacy will suffer because they allowed a less creative sequel into the franchise.

I think the main reason why most sequels are worse then the first, is because the executives/business men, with little to no creative upbringing, start to control the franchise. We do not see as much control in the original story, because most executives realize they know very little about creativity. But, if a film is a success, the business men in charge think all they need to do is give the audience the same kind of thing except “BIGGER AND BETTER”, thus they throw more money at the franchise while giving them limited freedom and limited time to get the movie done. However, extremely creative people can also make bad sequels if they forget about the main reason for making film.

Story is what needs to lead every film. Sequels must be made because there is another story to be told. Sadly, because Hollywood is a business, concentrated mainly on popularity and profit, story will often be abused. When story is abused, the Hollywood business loses out on popularity and profit. The best business move for Hollywood to make, is giving the creative license to the artist and the artist using that license to make the story become the best it could be.

Good Stories = Good sequels

2 Responses

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  1. minnow said, on May 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    You mean: Good Stories=Good Sequels. The first results in the second. You’ve got a great idea here and defend it well. I also think you might need to find a different work from franchise but maybe I’m the one who doesn’t understand what that word means as it relates to film.

  2. striker49 said, on May 6, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Well it is sort of a simple solution to express. I mostly wanted to point out some of the problems with sequels. I do not know a better word then “franchise”. I have heard many movies that consist of a lot of sequels, refereed to as franchises. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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