Movie sequels can be an inexcusable blight on humanity, evidenced well enough by such memorable infestations as The Neverending Story II, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Godfather II (LOL JUST KIDDING ABOUT THAT LAST ONE. I'm a deeply funny person.)
Because of boredom, I've noticed online talk of certain sequels becoming louder and louder, and I would like to add a howl to that din -- a howl of anguish. For these sequels must never be made, despite popular demand. We must find a way to stop them.
Spirited Away 2
Western mainstream has always had an uncertain relationship with anime. The problems usually stem from producers resolutely associating the word "animation" with the words "is for kids". But as anyone who's seen Persepolis or Watership Down knows, animated films can be serious, emotive, engaging, important, and very much adult. The one problem with this mounting realisation is that if it reaches a zenith, it's going to be all about money. (Naturally.) Hence, desperate sequels.
Arguably at the centre of the mainstream anime world is Hayao Miyazaki, and the internets are taking about a Spirited Away sequel.
This mustn't happen. We must stop it! Even if it means stunting the progress of mainstream anime and pretending we don't take this magnificent, incomparable film seriously.
But if a savvy executive mines Spirited Away for sequel potential, they will -- unfortunately -- strike gold. It's as if the film was made for a sequel (which it wasn't). Our protagonist discovers an astonishing, magical and sometimes terrifying new world, and then... she leaves that world to its devices.
The spirit world featured in the film has more layers than a transfinite mega-trifle. While Chihiro goes on her own adventure, we're given the distinct impression that other characters -- from Haku to Yubaba to No-Face -- have their own histories, goals, and missions. We don't even get to see what they are.
So it must be tempting to want a sequel of Spirited Away. But the film is just so perfect. It can't be touched. And a sequel would mean touching it.
(Incidentally, I wrote a Bang2Write article on Hayou Miyuzaki and anime a while back: click to read.)
Men in Black 4
Consensus (and canon) says to pretend that Men in Black 2 never happened, but we're still calling the most recent installment "Men in Black 3". I really enjoyed it -- great fun, indulgent plot, killer bad guy. It's a delight that Jemaine Clement has been discovered since the Conchords.
But, sadly for the Men in Black franchise, immature people sometimes grow up. Against their will (always). Like Bob Mortimer, Steve Coogan -- even John Cleese. Know what I mean? They seem sort of... tired of being silly -- it doesn't really work for them anymore. And it's the same with Will Smith.
I mean, sure he's a serious actor, but he also knew exactly when to be silly -- Men in Black being a perfect example. But he couldn't quite pull it off in Men in Black 3, meaning that Men in Black 4 would likely feature a tired, muffled Will Smith with a bad back and a forced smile.
Besides, when a movie series becomes too self-referential it's a sign that it's time to pack up and go home. Like with Skyfall... but let's not talk about that.
Oh God, why did I even watch the Twilight films? They were weird, ugly, posey, and so souless and shallow that the real nightmare is knowing there are many teenagers who actually relate to those characters.
The first Twilight film, however, was fairly good. It featured the addictive, failsafe magic of paranormal freakery rearing its head in the ordinary world. But each sequel got progressively worse until we were left with the almighty conclusion to the series -- Breaking Dawn Part II, a story about literally nothing whatsoever. But I have to agree with what everyone's saying: at least this means that Twilight is over. Finally.
Wrong! There's demand for a sequel. Major demand. It's such a rich world, after all. A world in which literally everyone has a boyfriend or girlfriend, and all the characters walk around and... well, walk around. They just sort of exist. Damn, the Twilight films are so... flaccid.
It's vital that the Twilight films find their way to the back of teenagers' shelves, jammed between The Lion King, Mean Girls and a dogeared copy of Fifty Shades, so Twihards finally have some room to look for a love story with some actual substance -- fictional or otherwise.
Pirates of the Caribbean 5
You know when rumours of a new film fly around and people get overjoyed or overwhiny, and speculation about directors and actors grow, and the rumour seem close to becoming reality -- before finally crashing in a heap of shattered dreams and broken promises? (The Red Dwarf movie springs to mind; and about a thousand and one Pegg/Frost/Wright productions.) Let's hope that's what's happening with Pirates of the Caribbean 5.
I enjoyed the first trilogy -- it was difficult not to. It was bright, loud, energetic, and there was always something happening. And complaining about Orlando Bloom's breathy po-facedness or Keira Knightley's gnashing chompers or the disrespectful misuse of the brilliant Jonathan Pryce was all part of the fun.
But Pirates of the Caribbean 5 wouldn't be a sequel to that original trilogy -- it would be a sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean 4. Which was absolute pap. To my bored and boring surprise, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 was unoriginal, dreary, dry and disenchanting. If that was the first in the new trilogy, what will the middle installment be like? In almost all film trilogies, middle installments are famously the worst of the three. Which is a shame, because you'd think a middle installment would be the meat of the sandwich. Or the cheese. Or the crisps. Or the curling brown lettuce. (The fridge is running low and you're insane if you think I can be bothered to go shopping.)
127 Hours 2
Actually, forget it -- they should make a sequel to 127 Hours. Called, of course, 128 Hours. I have an idea for it:
James Franco goes on an arctic expedition and licks an iceburg, thereby accidentally sticking his tongue to it. He's glued there, tongue on iceburg, for 128 hours until desperation sets in and he cuts off his tongue with a library card.