Saturday, February 11, 2012
My second tour of midnights has gotten me thinking about sequels. The second time around for a movie, album, book and video game very rarely achieves the success of the first. Since I am in the very beginning of my midnight patrol sequel, it is too early to tell if it will be with the common fate of the sequel (think bad) or the more rare but possible “good” to "great" outcome. The following are a series of sequels; some the beloved younger brother (EB) but most the despised next door neighbor (DNDN).
Equal or Better (EB)
Star Wars…Empire Strikes Back
Wow a great adventure movie with a happy ending followed by a great dark movie with the big reveal. What can I say that has not already been said.
The Matrix…The Matrix Reloaded
Right after the first movie I left the theater thinking, “I don’t know what that was but boy was it cool.” The second movie got lost in its own internal rules and attempt to come up with a relevant plot line that matched the promise of the first. It didn’t. On a side note this may be one of the times that a serviceable movie that could have stood on its own was a victim of the brilliance of the movie that came before.
The First Run…The Current Run
I love Doctor Who. When it was announced that they were going to start producing the series again, I thought there is no way it will be anywhere close to where they had it with Tom Baker. Eccleston and Rose were not all that bad but did not equal the greatest episodes from the first run. Then they found Tennant and he and Rose were everything that Doctor Who should be. Then they find this Smith guy and it can’t possibly be as good but Amy Pond comes with him and it has me thinking it may just be as good as the Baker years (and if I have been drinking I may even admit that it could possibly be better).
Battlestar Galactica…Galactica 1980
Space battles, the enemies were cool looking red eye sweeping around Cyclops’s shinny metal head, cool nicknames (Boomer), good looking women (I was just starting to find that species interesting), mission to save their race from extinction, a robot that looked like my dog…Lorne Green! Just to be followed up by dudes hanging around earth for no particular reason with no special effects budget. I was young but not stupid enough to follow the second series.
All Creatures Great and Small…All Things Bright and Beautiful (James Herriot).
Two books that where a match for each other. Warm, witty, English, was the reason I tried to name my oldest Tristan and was accepted into the University of Illinois Veterinary program.
The Eye of the World…The Great Hunt (Robert Jordan)
The classic tale retold many different times. Jordan had a village boy who was not important, found to have special powers and needed to save the world but now has to run to stay alive till he can save the world. The first book was well paced, the characters felt and acted real and according to the rules that Jordan had set up. Just flat out fun. Then he got mired in this huge plot line with too many people, too many things to do and too many loose ends. Each book, after the first, got longer and the characters did less, even worse the characters became stereotypes of themselves and started acting outside of cause and effect. Disappointing.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture…Star Trek (2009)
Love me some Star Trek. I even like the first movie even though they went dark and arty. But the reboot caught it just right. Adventure, friendship, humor, the created a world where you would have loved to have actually been with them there participating in it all.
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark…Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom. The first movie is an adventure with humor and a plot line that keeps you guessing. It is in my top five all time. The second is a ride at the local amusement park, it just moves from point A to Point B looking to give you a thrill but not looking for a reason to care. It is another reason to keep Lucas doing nothing other than supervise special effects.
Cheers…Fraiser. One is a fun buddy comedy about the times and trials of a group of misfit friends from working class backgrounds. Fraiser is about the times and trials of a group of family members and friends who are misfits, generally from a upper class background. They were excellent.
X-Files…Millennium. X-Files was great gothic mystery theater with a conspiracy overlay. Did Fox Muller’s sister really get taken by aliens or was it the government or a secret third party. Just who was that smoking man anyway? Was that a werewolf? Millennium, first it was about tracking down serial killers at the end of the age. Then it was a conspiracy theory tied to the end of the age, then it was about…wait I quit caring and turned it off.
Shadowrun: Never Deal with a Dragon…Choose your Enemies Carefully. This was my first foray into the world of cyberpunk. I loved it and when it brought in fantasy elements into the story line in the second book it got even better.
Ian Fleming-Man with the Golden Gun and Jonathan Cape-Colonel Sun. I loved reading James Bond Novels growing up. He was cool, he got the ladies, he was gritty, he was deadly and he saved the world, every time. When Fleming passed away they handed the torch to Cape who sent Bond on a bland parody of everything Ian had created.
ACDC Bon Scott…ACDC Brian Jones. What is there really to say. Highway to Hell was followed up by Back in Black. 32 years later and both songs are in my MP3 player.
Van Hallen Sammy Hagar…Van Hallen Gary Cherone. I thought that no one could replace David Lee Roth but Sammy stepped in and held his own with some of their best songs. As comic book guy would not say, “Best transition ever!” Then they tried it again with Gary and promptly blew up. They sounded old, weren’t relevant, didn’t seem to be having a good time and sounded terrible to boot.
Resident Evil…Resident Evil 2. Fantastic. It brought me into the world of horror survival games that I have never left. Then they took everything that captivated me and moved it out of a home and into the city of Raccoon. There were more than a few nights that turned unexpectedly into days playing those two games.
Shadowman…Shadowman 2. The first game created a mythos that was unique and unexpected. The serial killers as bosses was genius. It was also very hard. There were many times were I had to back track for thirty minutes to find the place or device or item I missed. The second game was whipped out, bland game, with no story line, pointless quests and too easy. Well it was too easy till you got to the final boss who was way, way, way, way too hard. A total waste of time.
I could have spent twenty pages on this so I just decided to stop here. I will probably come back to it since the topic is full of examples. As much as I have days of midnights left.
And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.