The Chinese calendar says that 2003 is the year of the Ram, but the Hollywood calendar says it's the year of the sequel.
As has been shown many times over in the last several years, Hollywood is determined to pump out as much of the same old same old as they possibly can. Never before has this been as apparent as it is this upcoming year in cinema, where more sequels will see release than in any other previous calendar year. Roughly two dozen sequels will see theatrical release in the upcoming year. That's a lot, folks. So here in the earlygoings of the year, We've decided to take a look at what to expect from some of the higher-profile followup offerings this year, and let you know what we think you should see and what you should avoid. Without further adieu, here they are: Please welcome the 2003 Sequels!
THE MATRIX RELOADED THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS
Well, I'm probably not the one to write about these movies, because much like with the Beastie Boys, I'm the only person in the world who just doesn't get the appeal of THE MATRIX. I just found the first one to be a convoluted mess of a movie; all style, no substance. I just didn't feel it was breaking any new ground either: I've seen Hong Kong action movies before, I don't need to superimpose Keanu Reeves saying "whoa" into them to make them any better. So chances are, I'll skip the Matrix dual-sequel assault overkill and save my money for better things, like:
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING
This is more like it. THE TWO TOWERS rocked my balls off, and you can read all about that here if you haven't already. And I have a feeling that this film, the finale in the Tolkien trilogy, will be even better. From all I'm hearing, the battle scenes in this sequel will blow away the final battle scene from the last one, something that will indeed be an accomplishment in itself. Plus, the whole giant spider thing that was cut from part 2 (which Peter Jackson swears has nothing to do with the giant spiders in EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS and the last HARRY POTTER film) will be in it. Oh yeah, I'll be there opening night, 27-sided dice or no.
T3: DAY OF THE MACHINES
No thanks. I mean, this would have been welcome eight years ago, before Ah-nuld became more of a joke than he already was after KINDERGARTEN COP, but now that he's in the latter half of his 50s, I'm thinking notsomuch. Oh, also, the lack of James Cameron tells me to stay away too. Oh, and I can't even begin to tell you how much stupid stereotypical "hip-with-the-times" Hollywood bullshit went in to the decision to make the TerminaTRIX the new baddie, but it reeks of retardivity. Hey, remember when Arnold was the cold-blooded killing machine? Yeah, those were the days.
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS
Y'know, I never bothered with the first one, because, well, it looked like the worst movie on Earth. That is, of course, until the release of XXX a year or so later. Anyway, what it all comes down to is that Vin Diesel is a giant tool and the fact that he is a box office draw is proof that the terrorists have already won. The sequel, however, does have two things going for it: One, the presence of director John Singleton, and the lack of Vin Diesel. Still, I probably won't see it, but at least they tried, y'know?
The first X-MEN film was quite passable. It wasn't perfect by any means, and could have stood for some improvement in some key areas, but it held up as a better adaptation of the comic than I ever thought I'd see in my lifetime. I'm a little disappointed in the lack of new characters in the followup. It seems that Nightcrawler is the only major character not in the previous one, and it's uncertain just how much they'll be using Iceman, Pyro, Shadowcat, Colossus, and Jubilee, all of whom appeared in the last one as students of Mutant Academy. Still, I'll see this one for sure, and you should too.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE
While the last one was a suprisingly fun movie, I don't know just how excited I am for a sequel. I mean, there's no Bill Murray in this one, which definitely drops it some points. And the twin spawn of the devil himself, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, are in this as well. Looks like I'll be renting this one if anything.
Both of the American Pie movies have been suprisingly funny and rewatchable and did very well at the box office, so I guess it was a given that a third installment would eventually be released. There's not much known about this movie other than the fact that it revolves around the marriage of Jim and Michelle. I'm sure it will be okay, but I'm so over the what-can-go-wrong-before-the-wedding comedy genre right now I can't say I'm very excited about it.
People tell me SHANGHAI NOON was good, but I'll just take their word on it. Unless by some bizarre twist of fate whereupon I happen to see it against my own will before the sequel is out of theaters and I'm actually halfway impressed, I'll go see the sequel. If not, well, Owen Wilson is due for a good movie sometime soon, right? Please?
LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER - CRADLE OF LIFE MORTAL KOMBAT 3: DOMINATION
I'm prejudiced against video game movies. Sue me. Needless to say, I more than likely will pass on these as a result. TOMB RAIDER does get the treatment of Jan DeBont, but he made one good movie once (SPEED) and a whole bunch of shite since (including SPEED 2). Not even Angelina Jolie in tight clothes really compel me to see it. MORTAL KOMBAT may not even be theatrical as far as I know, but I do know it will suck donkeynuts.
SPY KIDS 3 ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO
Okay, Mr. Rodriguez, intervention time. We come to you as friends, as confidants, as concerned filmwatchers. We just ask you to stop. You made EL MARIACHI, fercryinoutloud. I mean, what a bold little movie! What promise and invention you once showed! I mean, how neat was your portion of FOUR ROOMS? And sure, you needed to get your foot in the door in Hollywood by whoring yourself out with stuff like DESPERADO and THE FACULTY, and I know you meant well with FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, but this whole SPY KIDS thing, it's gotta go. And really, what is it that leads anyone to believe there's anything in this world to necessitate the sequel to DESPERADO, which we're trying to forget was sort of a sequel to EL MARIACHI? We beg of you, Robert. If you can't make anything good, don't make anything at all.
LEGALLY BLONDE 2: RED, WHITE, AND BLONDE
Okay, I can kind of see why the first one was a big hit and all. Reese Witherspoon is talented and charming, and can easily carry material she's far too good for to watchable levels. As far as a sequel goes, file this under "unnecessary". I saw the first one due to the whole having to watch certain things with the then-ladyfriend, and it wasn't nearly as mortifying as I had expected, but it left me with no desire to ever see it again, much less a sequel.
I hear the original is funny stuff. Seems like kind of quick turnaround for a sequel, but the previous one was a big suprise hit so I guess they felt it necessary to churn out another pretty quick. I'll try to catch the first one on DVD soon and see if it drives me to see the followup. Maybe.
BAD BOYS II
Will, Will, Will. You know better. We know you do. I mean, sure, you still churn out your share of crap like MIB II and WILD WILD WEST every now and again, but didn't that Oscar nomination for ALI and those critical nods for BAGGER VANCE teach you anything? I mean, did you owe a debt to the slip-sliding-into-hell Martin Lawrence and/or the dick-flick-hack-of-hacks Michael Bay? I mean, I know you've got better films in you, so where are they?
JUNGLE BOOK 2
I'm really getting irked with this whole Disney sequels trend that's been going on for the past several years. So far, Disney has managed to eke out sequels to THE LION KING, ALADDIN, THE LITTLE MERMAID, POCAHONTAS, LADY AND THE TRAMP, PETER PAN, CINDERELLA, HUNCHBACK, and more that have yet to be released. I mean, it's one thing when you make a sequel to A GOOFY MOVIE or TOY STORY, because that's your intellectual property, but these others aren't your stories to be writing sequels to. And people wonder why I wish voodoo spells unto Michael Eisner. I mean, Walt Disney was a communist and all, but you're still raping his good name, Mike.
SCARY MOVIE 3: EPISODE I - LORD OF THE BROOMS
Okay, los Wayans, step away from the camera. This time, you've taken it too far. I mean, do you really see the irony of this all? You made a parody of a parody, that's fine. Then you made a sequel to the parody of the parody, and that was just uncalled for. But really, how much does the horse need to beaten before you can bury it, guys? Wait, news flash: This isn't even in the hands of the Wayans. Nope, it gets WORSE, folks. Guess who wrote the screenplay and is executive producing? Your buddy and mine, Kevin Smith. I shit you not. Yes, continuing down his path to bing recognized as an industry punchline, the once-heralded creator of CLERKS and CHASING AMY is now picking up the scraps that the f'n WAYANS BROTHERS left behind. Pathetic. To make matters worse, take a look at who's directing it: Jerry Zucker, the man responsible for such comedy classics as THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE, AIRPLANE! and TOP SECRET!. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. And if all this isn't enough, what the hell is up with that title? Not only is it a wreck of the English language that nobody's gonna ever want to fully say, but it sure doesn't sound like it's spoofing any scary movies either.
MEET THE FOCKERS
I'm not even sure if this thing's gonna get out of the gate, although it's still slated to hit by the end of 2003. Apparently they're having trouble securing crucial cast members. Who knows? All I know is that the first one was a lot better than I'd ever expected it to be, and I was pleasantly suprised when I heard the news of a sequel. However, the longer time goes without hearing much good, the less I look forward to it. We shall see.
THE WHOLE TEN YARDS
Okay, the trend with the bad sequel names has got to stop. This is the last one I'm mentioning on the list, but the puns that are being tossed around here are getting to the point where they don't make any sense. Okay, ANALYZE THAT was a pretty decent response to ANALYZE THIS, but THE WHOLE TEN YARDS just means nothing. You see, the nine yards thing is an expression, and that's why the title works, but this is nonsense. Oh, yeah, and I never even caught the original, so I'm sure that'll apply with this one as well.
Well, there you have it. Twenty high-profile sequels currently slated for a 2003 release. That's insane. So feel free to heed my advice and recommendations. Or don't. I haven't seen any of them yet, so your guess is as good as mine. Maybe, if we're all lucky, the whole thing will blow up in the studios' faces and many of these sequels will bomb miserably, and they can start putting out original material again. I mean, some sequels are necessary, some are complimentary, and some are just a waste of time; but overall, I'd like to see some new material come down the pike every so often.