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Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes 
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Post Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
I've been thinking about remakes, sequels, and prequels lately. Prequels are, in my opinion, almost always artistically wanting. The key to any story is urgency -- there must be a reason for the story to be told, other than profit -- and almost by definition that won't happen with a prequel. If the story was so important, it would have been THE story, not the desultory follow-up. Often they even are worse than "unnecessary" -- they spell out what didn't need to be spelled out, making the original less interesting in the process. Take the Star Wars prequels. I suppose there might be some people who feel that they add some depth, but to me they make the original series worse. So prequels, I feel confident saying, are the least of the three.

So then, what's worse, remakes or sequels? In terms of artistic quality, it absolutely has to be remakes. After all, there are some great sequels out there. Aliens is a stellar film, as is Terminator 2, and (in many people's estimation, but not mine) The Godfather II. Toy Stories 2 and 3 are worthy films, particularly the latter. There are stories that deserve a second chapter, even if they are in the minority, and cinema is better for them. By contrast, remakes almost never add anything worthwhile to the original, unless they drastically revamp it the point of being a new story altogether (e.g. Carpenter's The Thing). The 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a good remake -- it's fairly similar to the original, but with some new wrinkles for a new age that help it to stand alone. But it is certainly the exception.

So why do I think sequels are worse than remakes? Because remakes don't taint the brilliance of the original film. In fact, they elevate it. Because the remake is usually done by entirely different people (excepting the occasional cameo) it is easy to divorce the shitty remake from the brilliant original. All Gus Van Sant's Psycho does is showcase how brilliant the original really is. All Jackie Earle Haley can do is make you wish for Robert Englund. By contrast, sequels have the power to destroy how brilliant the original was. Look at the Rocky movies. The first Rocky movie was a damn fine film, and it was a *film*. The sequels, with their increasing fatuousness, made Rocky into a franchise of stupidity, and make people forget that the original was a rather gritty film. The same argument could be made with Jaws, or Halloween (though, hey, remakes there too!), or almost any great film that unfortunately was given a follow-up with a "2" after it. The fact that the same actors and often same production team are involved doesn't allow us to divorce the sequels from the original the way we can do with remakes. Terminator 3 is clearly "canon" if Arnold is on board.

So, in summation, sequels are often better, but they're detrimental to the original in a way that remakes rarely are.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:52 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Personally i'd much rather watch the Star Wars prequels then Return Of The Jedi any day.

As for Body Snatchers, I prefer both the 1993 and 2007 versions over the 78 one. Also I thought Haley was great as Freddy Krueger, it was nice to a more serious take on the character.

I don't usually find sequels detrimental to the original, as most of the sequels I hate are to films that I didn't particularly like to begin with, like the Saw and Paranormal Activity series. Though one sequel that never should've been greenlit is Basic Instinct 2, I don't think too many people were asking for a sequel to the original.

Part V was the only Rocky sequel I really didn't like, and even that one could've worse, as the original script had Rocky losing the street fight to Tommy and dying at the end, thank fuck the execs said no to that! That would've been a horrible way to end the series.


Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:11 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Pretty much agree here. However I would say that fairly recent western remakes are superior to their originals versions--True Grit and 3:10 to Yuma.

So glad you brought up remakes; there is certainly a lot of drama in this area of filmdom. It's hard to deny that people get pretty offended when the word "remake" starts to circle around one of their favorite films. For instance, when Fincher's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was announced diehard loyalists of the original were pretty damn upset. This was film in particular was a huge turning point of my view towards remakes. I saw Finchers remake, tried really hard not to like it, and eventually gave up my false hatred of a film that was just simply a (pretty solid) new take on a great film. With that said, the topics of remakes as a whole open some interesting questions of acceptance. When a foreign film is announced to be remade for the American market, people get pretty upset-- (kinda like the case with GWTDT). The idea of foreign films getting redressed as new American made versions is kinda annoying, but it seems that time plays a pretty big factor in things as well. The GWTDT hadn't even been out a year and a half and it was already getting remade. Sam Raimi's Spiderman was rebooted ten years later. I think the time between originals and remakes kinda gets under peoples skin, I know it does mine. Does a film that isn't even properly aged deserved to be remade? Is it warranted?

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:12 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
I think the main reason is that remakes give the filmmakers freedom to branch out or tweak and have their own stamps on the new version, whereas almost all of sequels MUST be constrained by their own past and characters continuity, so it's harder for creativity.


Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:56 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Well one can divide sequels roughly into two categories: A) the same story all over again B) a different story with a different arc (as opposed to the same story disguised as a different story).

The B route is not necessarily better than the A route, when the sequel feels forced and unnecessary. Back to the Future II was such an unnecessary mess. Die Hard II is a great example how to go route A, bigger and louder and throwing the last bit of dignity the first one had (which I happen to like apart from the issues which have been discussed to death).

Of course Aliens and Terminator 2 are two excellent examples (if not THE go-to examples) of route B.

Now for remakes: I think if they are intended to be an upgrade/version for a new generation or the usual US-verision of foreign movies, they very often leave the original untarnished. The only problem I have is that the target audience will perhaps never see the original.

Two (perhaps small) examples, by coincidence both featuring Richared Gere.

"Intersection" definitely is a rather weak movie. The original: "Les Choses de la Vie" (1970) is from a different time and has a different pacing. Definitely better even if not a great movie. The complete climactic sequence remains by far the most interesting part on many levels.

They say "Breathless" is actually an improvement over the original "À bout de souffle" (1960).

I can't say anything about the originals of "Sommersby" and "Unfaithful". Haven't seen the originals, just the remakes. I find Sommersby quite good. Richard Gere seems to have a thing for renakes of French movies....


Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:53 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Sequels are indeed more dangerous, since they expose the flaws of the original. Every movie has flaws, truly, but there are reasons why some flaws can be ignored. But a sequel will bring them out again, making them harder to ignore altogether.


Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:26 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
JackBurns wrote:
Pretty much agree here. However I would say that fairly recent western remakes are superior to their originals versions--True Grit and 3:10 to Yuma.

So glad you brought up remakes; there is certainly a lot of drama in this area of filmdom. It's hard to deny that people get pretty offended when the word "remake" starts to circle around one of their favorite films. For instance, when Fincher's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was announced diehard loyalists of the original were pretty damn upset. This was film in particular was a huge turning point of my view towards remakes. I saw Finchers remake, tried really hard not to like it, and eventually gave up my false hatred of a film that was just simply a (pretty solid) new take on a great film. With that said, the topics of remakes as a whole open some interesting questions of acceptance. When a foreign film is announced to be remade for the American market, people get pretty upset-- (kinda like the case with GWTDT). The idea of foreign films getting redressed as new American made versions is kinda annoying, but it seems that time plays a pretty big factor in things as well. The GWTDT hadn't even been out a year and a half and it was already getting remade. Sam Raimi's Spiderman was rebooted ten years later. I think the time between originals and remakes kinda gets under peoples skin, I know it does mine. Does a film that isn't even properly aged deserved to be remade? Is it warranted?


I think you have to make a distinction between remakes of original films and re-imaginings of original source material. Each of the films you mentioned are adaptations of books.

I guess you could argue that film remakes are using films as source material, but I do think that some distinction should be made.


Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:47 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Adaptations, sequels, prequels, remakes, and tie-ins are all presented for us to take or leave. We alone are the ultimate arbiters of which tales do or don't fit into our personal editions of these fictional universes. All it takes is an application of willpower.

I'm reminded of the famous quote by James Cain: "People tell me, 'Don't you care what Hollywood has done to your book?' I tell them, 'They haven't done anything to my book. It's right there on the shelf.'"

And there's another quote by Alan Moore. This is in reference to DC Comics labeling some stories as "imaginary", meaning that they don't occur in continuity. Wrote Moore, "Imaginary stories... aren't they all?"

I realize this is an awfully intimidating conference of responsibility upon the view, but really, you're not wrong for exercising your veto power if you reject a movie that just plain doesn't work for you. This does mean you have to grin and bear it when the consequences of that particular entry play out in future editions that you might have a more favorable opinion of, but once again, all it takes is an application of willpower.

-

As for the particular allegation made by this thread, it is a tiresome sequel/remake to all the other online topics that complain and make crass generalizations about sequels and remakes.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:53 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
I thought about this last year when I was reading about Joseph Campbell and his theories on mythology.

For instance, The Matrix. It might be an extreme example, but the reason the sequels are so unnecessary or just plain bad is that the character arc or mythology is completed in the first film – and whether we consciously recognise this or not, we are aware that anything that comes after this point is extraneous.

A simple remake can stick to the original character arc/mythology and decorate the fringes, whereas a sequel faces the very real possibility of being redundant before it has even begun.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:59 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Ken wrote:

-

As for the particular allegation made by this thread, it is a tiresome sequel/remake to all the other online topics that complain and make crass generalizations about sequels and remakes.


I don't know if you're just messing/trying to be clever, but I don't like this comment. There's nothing crass at all about this this thread, and I think my point is somewhat of an interesting one. I'm not saying that all remakes and sequels are bad, I'm thinking about what effect such follow-up films have on the legacy of the original and how it differs with each.

Now since i got upset you'll no doubt say that you were just kidding, I should take a joke, etc, but I don't like your negativity. Particularly when I don't see you making many new threads around here.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:32 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
I just made a new one the other day that nobody but me has been posting in. Suck my fumes, Teach.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:34 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Threeperf35 wrote:
Well one can divide sequels roughly into two categories: A) the same story all over again B) a different story with a different arc (as opposed to the same story disguised as a different story).

The B route is not necessarily better than the A route, when the sequel feels forced and unnecessary. Back to the Future II was such an unnecessary mess. Die Hard II is a great example how to go route A, bigger and louder and throwing the last bit of dignity the first one had (which I happen to like apart from the issues which have been discussed to death).

Of course Aliens and Terminator 2 are two excellent examples (if not THE go-to examples) of route B.

Now for remakes: I think if they are intended to be an upgrade/version for a new generation or the usual US-verision of foreign movies, they very often leave the original untarnished. The only problem I have is that the target audience will perhaps never see the original.

Two (perhaps small) examples, by coincidence both featuring Richared Gere.

"Intersection" definitely is a rather weak movie. The original: "Les Choses de la Vie" (1970) is from a different time and has a different pacing. Definitely better even if not a great movie. The complete climactic sequence remains by far the most interesting part on many levels.

They say "Breathless" is actually an improvement over the original "À bout de souffle" (1960).

I can't say anything about the originals of "Sommersby" and "Unfaithful". Haven't seen the originals, just the remakes. I find Sommersby quite good. Richard Gere seems to have a thing for renakes of French movies....

I thought BTTF 2 and Die hard 2 were both worthy sequels, from my experiences, watching remakes usually makes me want to check out the original(which was the case with the remakes of The Hitcher and Assault On Precinct 13)


Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:39 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Ken wrote:
I just made a new one the other day that nobody but me has been posting in. Suck my fumes, Teach.


Yes, a thread about you watching films that none of us have seen starring an actor who few of us have heard of.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:54 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Vexer wrote:
watching remakes usually makes me want to check out the original(which was the case with the remakes of The Hitcher and Assault On Precinct 13)


Agreed. Which goes to my point that remakes are less detrimental in many ways.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:56 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
JackBurns wrote:
Pretty much agree here. However I would say that fairly recent western remakes are superior to their originals versions--True Grit and 3:10 to Yuma.

So glad you brought up remakes; there is certainly a lot of drama in this area of filmdom. It's hard to deny that people get pretty offended when the word "remake" starts to circle around one of their favorite films. For instance, when Fincher's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was announced diehard loyalists of the original were pretty damn upset. This was film in particular was a huge turning point of my view towards remakes. I saw Finchers remake, tried really hard not to like it, and eventually gave up my false hatred of a film that was just simply a (pretty solid) new take on a great film. With that said, the topics of remakes as a whole open some interesting questions of acceptance. When a foreign film is announced to be remade for the American market, people get pretty upset-- (kinda like the case with GWTDT). The idea of foreign films getting redressed as new American made versions is kinda annoying, but it seems that time plays a pretty big factor in things as well. The GWTDT hadn't even been out a year and a half and it was already getting remade. Sam Raimi's Spiderman was rebooted ten years later. I think the time between originals and remakes kinda gets under peoples skin, I know it does mine. Does a film that isn't even properly aged deserved to be remade? Is it warranted?


Like your thoughts here, and agree with both your western examples.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:58 am
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
JamesKunz wrote:
Yes, a thread about you watching films that none of us have seen starring an actor who few of us have heard of.

1. One might interpret it as an opportunity for even the most learned of movie buffs here to learn something new, or, at the very least...
2. An opportunity to discuss why an actor like Kelly, who was very talented at what he did and had a prominent role early in his career, ultimately didn't make it.
3. A topic is what you make of it. You decide your own level of involvement. You can't complain about a lack of activity if you only make time for threads that create the perfect storm.
4. Perhaps my thread was less accessible than this one, but it's also a well that hasn't been drawn from nearly as often.


Sorry, that last one was actually a little barbed. I don't like being the serious business guy. But hell, your Serious Hat is on, so I guess mine is, too.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:30 pm
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Yes, a thread about you watching films that none of us have seen starring an actor who few of us have heard of.

1. One might interpret it as an opportunity for even the most learned of movie buffs here to learn something new, or, at the very least...
2. An opportunity to discuss why an actor like Kelly, who was very talented at what he did and had a prominent role early in his career, ultimately didn't make it.
3. A topic is what you make of it. You decide your own level of involvement. You can't complain about a lack of activity if you only make time for threads that create the perfect storm.
4. Perhaps my thread was less accessible than this one, but it's also a well that hasn't been drawn from nearly as often.


Sorry, that last one was actually a little barbed. I don't like being the serious business guy. But hell, your Serious Hat is on, so I guess mine is, too.


If you can show me a previous thread that discusses this topic from this angle, that's fine. I don't remember one. And even if there is one, the forum membership has changed significantly since I started bumming around this place in 2009: it's hard to make a redundant thread.

The points you make about your Kelly thread are well-taken, but here's the problem. That's the first spark from you in 6 months. You're one of the brightest voices here and yet you don't make new threads. You don't contribute new ideas. I went back into the "View My Posts" log and the last Ken thread I found was from January 28th. And what was this gem of penetrating insight? "Star Wars Episode VII: Not Speculation. Not Kidding." The last one before that? "Movie Themes Played on Floppy Disk Drives." Real conversation-provoking stuff.

I really like this forum but I'm conscious of the fact that it's a shell of its former self. Not many people contribute their thoughts and ideas. So when I try to start a conversation, something you largely refuse to do, and you come by and dump on it...well I just don't know why you would do that.

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Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:55 pm
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
I may have posted this opinion before, but part of the problem with remakes, IMO, is that they often choose to remake the wrong films. My thought is, don't remake good movies, remake movies with good ideas that were poorly executed. If you're remaking a good movie, even if the remake is good, what's the point? (Beyond the obvious commercial reasons, of course.) OTOH, if you remake a movie that could have been a lot better than it was, you have an opportunity to do it right and not screw it up.

I do agree with the premise that bad remakes don't tarnish the original in the way that bad sequels can.


Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:10 pm
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
dps wrote:
I may have posted this opinion before, but part of the problem with remakes, IMO, is that they often choose to remake the wrong films. My thought is, don't remake good movies, remake movies with good ideas that were poorly executed. If you're remaking a good movie, even if the remake is good, what's the point? (Beyond the obvious commercial reasons, of course.) OTOH, if you remake a movie that could have been a lot better than it was, you have an opportunity to do it right and not screw it up.

I do agree with the premise that bad remakes don't tarnish the original in the way that bad sequels can.

Well whether the original film was "good" or not is a matter of opinion, a lot of people love the original Dawn Of The Dead but it was just average for me and I felt the remake was a considerable improvement. One example of a film with a good idea that was very poorly executed is Oldboy, there's plenty of room for Spike Lee to improve on that film.


Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:29 pm
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Post Re: Why sequels are (paradoxically) worse than remakes
Vexer wrote:
dps wrote:
I may have posted this opinion before, but part of the problem with remakes, IMO, is that they often choose to remake the wrong films. My thought is, don't remake good movies, remake movies with good ideas that were poorly executed. If you're remaking a good movie, even if the remake is good, what's the point? (Beyond the obvious commercial reasons, of course.) OTOH, if you remake a movie that could have been a lot better than it was, you have an opportunity to do it right and not screw it up.

I do agree with the premise that bad remakes don't tarnish the original in the way that bad sequels can.

Well whether the original film was "good" or not is a matter of opinion, a lot of people love the original Dawn Of The Dead but it was just average for me and I felt the remake was a considerable improvement. One example of a film with a good idea that was very poorly executed is Oldboy, there's plenty of room for Spike Lee to improve on that film.


Yes, that's an obvious problem with my idea--whether the original was "good" or a "good concept poorly executed" or just a based on a bad concept to start with is pretty subjective. But on most films, there is probably a general consensus.


Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:34 pm
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