As much as Hollywood loves to franchise anything successful, not every movie needs or even calls out for a sequel. This week’s Roundtable isn’t just about bad sequels, necessarily, but specifically about sequels that have no reason to exist at all.
Thought it was a staple of early 1990s cable TV, and I obligingly watched it as a kid, I hold no affection in my heart for ‘Caddyshack II’. It has to be one of the least necessary films in existence. The original ‘Caddyshack‘ is a certified comedy classic. Filmed in the heyday of ‘Saturday Night Live’ with all of that show’s best actors (or, at least the ones who weren’t in ‘Animal House’), ‘Caddyshack’ helped usher in a new comedy era in 1980. But then eight years later, the sequel that no one asked for was released. Sure, Chevy Chase was back for a bit of the film. And the fight against snobby country clubbers is always fun. But replacing Bill Murray with Dan Aykroyd was poor, and Jackie Mason’s humor never really translated well to the big screen. The entire film reeks of being an uninspired cash-grab.
M. Enois Duarte
In the entire history of unnecessary sequels, ‘S. Darko‘, Fox’s lame attempt to capitalize on the cult popularity of Richard Kelly’s ‘Donnie Darko‘, should rank at the very top of the list for the absolute worst. Publicly denounced by Kelly, who had no involvement with the production, the plot picks up seven years after the events of its predecessor and follows Donnie’s sister, Samantha (Daveigh Chase), who’s tormented with terrifying visions similar to Donnie’s. The story is a confusing, muddled mess littered with enough plot holes to turn the whole fiasco into Swiss cheese. It’s a complete waste of time and should be avoided at all costs.
I watched and enjoyed ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado‘, but it’s very much an unnecessary sequel. Decent script, decent acting, etc. But even if it’s of the same world as the first film, it’s very obvious by the end that the story is being sacrificed, not just for the sake of this sequel but for potential further sequels. The ending makes the film feel even more like a direct-to-video type of sequel. I wonder who will be on-board for the next ‘Sicario’?
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
Eager to stripmine its deep cinematic legacy for some quick direct-to-video cash, Disney spent a decade churning out one forgettable, low-budget sequel after another. Chances are you had no idea that dreck like ‘Cinderella II: Dreams Come True’ or ‘The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea’ even existed. Beyond being completely unnecessary from a narrative standpoint, these lazy, simplistic “cheapquels” often completely misunderstood the original movies and savaged beloved characters in the process.
Sometimes the schadenfreude proved too much to resist, so I’ve suffered through a handful of these over the years. Far and away my least favorite is ‘The Fox and the Hound II‘, although I guess it’s technically a mid-quel rather than a sequel since it takes place when Tod and Copper are still pups. You’ve all watched the bittersweet original about the clash between an enduring friendship and societal demands, right? Wouldn’t it have been so much better if Copper had joined a band of country-singin’ stray dogs instead? Yup, thrill to a bunch of chicken-fried musical numbers with puppies wiggling their butts, the tonal whiplash of sugary slapstick and a mean-spirited streak, Copper letting his newfound stardom going to his head (poor Tod!!!), and generally desperate pandering towards its pint-sized audience. Woof.
William Friedkin’s ‘The French Connection‘ is a legitimately great movie that simply did not need another chapter. Although the film ends on a deliberately anticlimactic note, it’s a very fitting conclusion to the story. That should have been the end of it. However, after the movie made a lot of money, won a bunch of Oscars, and made Gene Hackman a big star, the studio couldn’t resist capitalizing on all of that.
Four years later, ‘French Connection II‘ came along and, save for Hackman, was devoid of nearly all the qualities that made the original such a standout. Because Friedkin had the good sense to stay away, the normally-reliable John Frankenheimer was brought in to replace him, but was provided little to work with. Gone is any pretense of being based on a true story, or any attempt to replicate the first movie’s gritty street-level authenticity. Instead, we get a poor script and merely workmanlike direction shot on obvious studio sets. Aside from the foul language, the sequel looks and feels like a bad TV movie. It has none of the original’s jangly tension or exhilarating style. While it’s not a terrible movie, it is a terrible sequel that shouldn’t have been made.
Setting aside movies that were obviously designed to be franchised (‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Hunger Games’, etc.), what are your picks for the most pointless, unnecessary sequels?