Sequels: Part 2
Last week I wrote about the curse of the lazy sequel, the sequel that exists only to make money, not to make enjoyable cinema. This week, what makes a great sequel? To me, a great sequels ‘expands’ on the original, it takes familiar characters, themes, even settings and heads off in a different direction, rather than just the same direction again. A great sequel will delve deeper, hopefully be emotional richer, or in the case of The Fast & The Furious, just be much much dafter. No other franchise plays as fast and loose with the concept of sequels than Vin Diesel & co. Have the third film set after the 5th in the timeline? No problem. Hated villain becomes valued ally just one film later? Why not? I’m not sure I’ll be as enthusiastic by the time Fast & Furious 13 trundles around, but for now each film outdoes the one before, another sign of great sequels. See also the Mission Impossible series, other than a stylistic mis-step with the second film, the series has gone from strength to strength, the stunts get bigger and better, new characters and settings are introduced, but the theme remains the same, Ethan Hunt saves the world, thanks, Ethan. Animation has provided rich ground for sequels, both Kung Fu Panda and Ice Age managed great second films, but ran out of steam as time went by, unlike Toy Story, where the third instalment achieved a greater emotional depth and poignancy than anyone would have thought possible. As my own children leave home, I may need a little time before I watch Andy pack up his toys and drive off again.
So, Vin Diesel, Ethan, Woody and Buzz, you all have something in common, you achieved greatness once, then went and did it again, and again. Now just make sure you know when to stop!
By Michael Hudson
From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer