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Is 2011 just the year for sequals? (film!)

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SkatingSam22 View Drop Down

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  Quote SkatingSam22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Is 2011 just the year for sequals? (film!)
    Posted: 17 Feb 2011 at 12:51
2011 has more sequels than any other year

Wed Feb 16 02:32PM
by Martin Howden

James Cameron recently bemoaned the state of Hollywood blockbusters – claiming that the story was no longer the most important factor when it comes to big studio films. Pointing to movie versions of board games like 'Battleship' as proof that brand awareness seems to be more prominent than plot these days.

A quick glance at 2011's release schedule would seem to back up Cameron's claim, with a whopping 28 sequels (or prequels) coming out this year – the most follow-ups on the big screen ever. Considering only ten sequels were seen in cinemas in 2001, it's clear that Hollywood favours continuations more than ever.

So is it a sign that the film industry has run out of ideas or should we judge sequels on their own merits? One of the most celebrated films of last year was Pixar's 'Toy Story 3' – a series that seems to get better with each movie, and as a result is Oscar nominated in the Best Film category at this year’s Academy Awards.

Films that are getting a first follow-up in 2011 include 'Cars', 'Diary of A Wimpy Kid', 'Happy Feet', 'Hoodwinked', 'Kung Fu Panda' and the innuendo laden 'Piranha 3DD'. While 'The Hangover Part II' was not a sequel studio bosses would have initially predicted, the first film's massive success ensured a further instalment. 'Sherlock Holmes' was always earmarked for a franchise, box office permitting. Luckily for Warner Bros, it was a hit – hence 'Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows' being released later this year.

Not all sequels are following the blueprint that made the original such a success, however. When Yahoo! Movies visited the set of 'Johnny English Reborn', Rowan Atkinson was quick to stress that they wanted to improve on the original, pointing out that there was just too much slapstick and not enough danger in the first film.

Indeed, cast and crew of the third instalment of 'Transformers' are desperate to highlight the flaws of the bloated second part, insisting that the forthcoming 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' is a huge improvement.

Other films getting a third part in 2011 are: 'Alvin and the Chipmunks', ‘Paranormal Activity' and new entries in the 'Big Mommas' and 'Madea' series.

While not much is expected quality wise from these films, sequels don't have to be inferior to the original – with the 'Twilight' and 'Harry Potter' series generally viewed as an improvement with each movie. The fourth 'Twilight' film is released this year, while the upcoming final 'Harry Potter' outing will be the eighth!

As well as 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part One', other films getting a fourth chapter are 'Mission Impossible', 'Pirates of the Caribbean', ‘Spy Kids' and 'Scream'.

While the blueprint for sequels is, it seems, to be bigger and louder than the previous one, 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' is cutting out the padding, focusing entirely on the Jack Sparrow character and cutting down the costs significantly in the process. Think of it as a credit crunch summer blockbuster. More focus and less ‘throwing things on the screen in the hope that it will stick’ will surely breathe new life into the franchise.

And new life is certainly what the bosses of 'Scream 4' and 'Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol' will be hoping for, with new characters included in the hope they can keep the franchise going for years to come.

Other sequels include 'The Muppets', 'Rise of the Apes', 'Winnie The Pooh' and new adventures for 'Fast and Furious' and 'Final Destination' – both spawning a fifth movie.

There are also a couple of prequels in 'X-Men: First Class' and 'The Thing' – as well as a 'Shrek' spin-off movie: 'Puss in Boots'.

And if they don't work out, there's no shortage of future franchises in the making as forthcoming new superhero films like 'Captain America', 'Green Lantern' and 'Thor' reach the screens. Only time (and probably box-office takings) will tell if seemingly stand alone summer blockbusters like 'Cowboys & Aliens' and J.J Abrams' mysterious 'Super 8' spawn sequels too.

So is there a sequel overload? A quick look at the success of recent films like 'Black Swan' and 'The King's Speech' prove that there are still great story-based films being made without a number next to the title despite James Cameron’s recent claims.

What do you think?
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James View Drop Down
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  Quote James Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2011 at 20:14
James Cameron is wrong. Granted, I love all the special effects and CGI but Transformers 2 alone proves that he's talking rubbish. That film was one of the biggest disappointments ever. I seriously loved the first one.

Transformers 2 aside, I'm happy to see that studios are getting their acts together when it comes to sequels -- a lot of them are just money-making exercises, a quick buck off the back of a successful film with no attention paid to anything other than hype. One sequel I really hope goes ahead is Cloverfield 2; I've been excited about that ever since I saw the first one. It's good to know there's a prequel to The Thing -- that's one of my favourite horror movies ever.

I'm not so sure about Sherlock Holmes though. The first one was just ok. That might be down to it being directed by Guy Ritchie, I don't really rate him as a director and certainly not when it comes to movies like Sherlock Holmes. It just got a massive shrug from me.
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