…on the 3rd day of Castmas the Chrazzas gave to me…
As referenced recently in our Tag Team Review of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest there are often trilogies in movie land that you wish just hadn’t happened. What start off as brilliant individual films soon become tarnished by tired and uninspiring sequels to the extent that you want to grab those responsible for their production, take them by the collar, shake them senseless and shout NO! at them until they repent for their crimes.
These then are five of what I consider to be the worst offenders; but this list is by no means extensive so sound off with your own most loathed in the comments below.
1. The Matrix
Okay so let’s get the elephant out the corner and name and shame perhaps the worst perpetrator of the needless trilogy. Not days after the first film was released, it was confirmed that a second and third had been commissioned. Fast forward four years later and the back to back releases of the second and third took everything that made the first film great and sucked the joy out of them – add in the preposterous nonsensical musings of the architect and other Matrix inhabitants and you’ve got the perfect recipe for the some of the most disappointing sequels ever created. If I concentrate hard enough on pretending the second and third don’t exist, then the first on its own is still good enough to squeeze its way into my all time top ten. Shame then that I can’t hold that concentration for long.
2. Ocean’s Eleven
As we all know, the number of stars you have in a film is inversely proportional to how good it is, so on paper the sheer star power involved in this movie must equal disaster right? Wrong! Ocean’s Eleven mesmerised audiences with its super stylised form which ran through this movie at all levels; from the dialogue to the costumes to the soundtrack to everything in between. Hollywood favourites lined up around the block to fill out this superstar cast led superbly by Clooney, Pitt and Damon and despite the superstar weight of those involved, everyone gets their moment in the spotlight.
As is usual in Sequeltown, iterations two and three tried to do everything bigger and better than in the first; but when the premise of the original is as ridiculous as it was in Ocean’s Eleven, that doesn’t really leave you anywhere special to go. What we were left with then was sequels by the numbers, and it became clear quite quickly that the writers struggled to think of anything interesting for the majority of Ocean’s original crew to do in them, let alone the titular twelfth and thirteenth. Whilst the third was certainly more akin to the first than the second, it was still a long way behind its progenitor and the time you’d waste on watching it would be much better spent sat in a dark room listening to the first’s superb soundtrack, dreaming of being as cool and as suave as Danny Ocean.
3. Rush hour
Whatever happened to the buddy cop movie? If ever proof was needed that buddy cop movies are great, especially those that start out with mismatched partner situations, you need look no further than Rush Hour. Pairing up Jackie Chan with (whatever happened to…) Chris Tucker was an inspired move that allowed the perfect mix between mouth off comedy and tight martial arts action sequences.
Unfortunately the change in scenery in the second and third instalments couldn’t hide the fact that they retread on ground well worn by the first; going as far to rehash tired action sequences as well as somewhat forcibly creating contention between Tucker and Chan’s characters that could easily be glossed over before both films come to a close. What’s more I’m fairly certain that at the time of watching the third not only didn’t I find it funny or entertaining anymore, worryingly it also seemed to quite racist as well, painting extremely negative and caricatured portraits of the Chinese, African Americans and the French.
Rumours abound that the old gang might be getting back together for a fourth instalment; please god let it not be true! If only to make sure I don’t have to take Rush Hour off this list…
4. American Pie
Not satisfied with simply being the movie that launched a thousand imitators as well as popularising a well known pornographic acronym; American Pie also made household names of Sean William Scott, Eugene Levy, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Biggs, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari and er… Chris Klein.
American Pie was, and still is in many respects, the perfect teen comedy; perhaps best known for its great mix of comedy (ranging from gross out to pure embarrassment,) the real centre of this movie was its heart and how relatable its four leads were – qualities that make it just as watchable now as it was eleven years ago upon its release. Shame then that the sequels latched on to the former trait and simply forgot the latter – resulting in movies that, whilst entertaining in places, were entirely forgettable in the long run.
Let’s not even mention the American Pie Presents movies, (which fortunately fall outside of the trilogy belonging to the original’s main characters) which further sully the original’s name with every iteration.
5. Austin Powers
This is by far the most painful for me in the list – when I was sixteen I used to stay in every other Saturday and watch this film with my Mum. Wow, that last statement makes me sound like a complete loser. But it’s okay because Jackie Madden is awesome! Anyway back on track; the film that reintroduced us to Mike Myers was as ridiculously quotable as it was both a perfect riff on James Bond films and a light social commentary on the changes in society since the sixties. Shame then that the second and third iterations took all the best jokes from the first and repeated them ad nauseum, as well as throwing in some ridiculously needless (and in some cases just plain offensive) characters. The cop out ending of the third (a direct lift from numerous other films, most notably Get Shorty) was the final nail that shut up my Austin Powers coffin.
Three down and nine to go! We’ll be back tomorrow at ten AM sharp when Chris W gets to sit down with some very special guests.