Okay, it’s probably easy to sit here and take potshots at multi-million-dollar studio productions, but that’s okay, I’ll do it anyway. 🙂 Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star has an amusing article about the movie sequels coming out this year and some of ’em might just be good, while others are going to leave a stench in the theater.
My completely biased, unabashed selection of which is which follows…
First off, the good ones, since I might as well start out positively!
Truth be told, there are a couple that stand out as a slam-dunk to be good films if they follow in their predecessors footsteps:
National Treasure: Book of Secrets — The first was good fun, a great role for Nick Cage and had terrific production values. It stands up well to multiple viewings and has a nice sort of daVinci-Code-esque feel to it too. It’s the film we’ll use as the yardstick to measure the next Indiana Jones movie now in production.
Spiderman 3 — Well, the trailer sure looks good and it’s fun to see the evolution of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker and his internal struggles against the, um, “dark side” of superhero powers.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End — Yeah, yeah, yeah, I found the first two movies great fun, even if they’re whimsical cartoons without much meaningful storyline, and while Johnny Depp is an accomplished actor, I’ve never seen him have so much fun with a role in any of his other films.
The Bourne Ultimatum — Frankly, I thought the first two were very good, very exciting, and really somewhat the thinking man’s action film, even with the liability of Matt Damon, who isn’t really that good an actor. Even more notable is that I thought the second movie was actually better than the first. Dynamite books too, but Ludlum’s always known how to write a great spy thriller!
There are also some films on Villarreal’s list that I just know are going to stink, notably including:
Ocean’s 13 — The first was alright (though I have to say that the original Ocean’s Eleven with Frank Sinatra and the rat pack was fabulous and a darn hard act to follow. I loved the ending of the original film too), but the second installment was a self-indulgent flop and hard for me to even sit through.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — Oh man, did I miss getting a slice of the special pizza with the magic mushrooms to think that this film won’t just be a colossal bomb??
Are We Done Yet — it’s not just the story line of the original film that stunk so badly, it’s also the acting and the basic premise that “kids are cute, especially when they’re smartass monsters being sadistic to foppish adults”. Now we’re going to have a second one of these? Didn’t they learn from the painful demise of the Home Alone series?
Mr. Bean’s Holiday — Just a second! Truth be told, I really like Rowan Atkinson as a comedian, but the Bean character just can’t sustain a film and now we have to suffer through another one? What happened to his much funnier (if equally sophomoric) work in Johnny English, or his brilliant Blackadder series? No, we’re going to be forced to see him reprise a role that I never liked from the beginning.
Y’know, a film that I wish was on this list was a sequel to the fun Sahara, starring the ever-popular Matthew McConaughey and a pretty solid lineup of other actors. I mean, it’s not like Clive Cussler doesn’t have a million books out that they could tap into, but Sahara, like National Treasure, ended up a bit of a sleeper hit in the action/adventure genre. Is there one in the works?
But these are my tastes and there are lots of popular films I just dislike from the get-go, so perhaps you look at the list and have other ones jump out as being likely to be good or bad. Do share…
I’m looking forward to Harry Potter 5 but I think the movies always end up having to cover a lot of plot, and miss some of the details that the books get exactly right.
I always think of the scene in one book where Harry is doing a presentation to a group of students, and he really likes one girl in the group, so he makes eye contact with everybody in the group *except* her, commanding himself not to look at her, and I thought… yep, that was exactly what it was like in school. How could a movie ever capture a detail like that? So, if you’re only seeing the movies, you’re missing out.
Also, I don’t think the new Dumbledore is as good as the old one. Richard Harris always had a twinkle in his eye so he could say things like “If you venture there you will suffer a most horrible death” and you knew things would work out. With the new actor, when Harry looks scared, Dumbledore looks scared along with him, which is wrong for the character.
But, I’m sure I’ll still see it on opening night.
I couldn’t agree more with most of your picks. The first National Treasure was very entertainig, not a kid film, yet great for the whole family. Jason Bourne’s adventures were great in the first “Bourne” movies and the third will be even better. Spiderman 3 and Pirates 3 will both be blockbusters I’m sure. Ocean’s 12 sucked. I’m seriously surprised, however, that you don’t like the Mr. Bean character. While I agree, the previous movie was not exactly a cinematic masterpiece, I think the character is extremely funny based on the short episodes he’s known for.
I’m hoping the remake of “The Hitcher” will be good, since the original was one of my favorite thrillers. Gory, yes, but it was very suspenseful. We’ll see. I’ll give it a shot.
– Amy Gahran
I’m fired up for the Bourne Ultimatum too. Probably the best spy movie series going now, although I have yet to Casino Royale and the reviews from my friends has been that it’s awesome.
I really liked Casino Royale – they have definitely resuscitated a franchise that was too old, too tired, and too stupid for its own good. It’s gritty, though, and the new Bond is really just a thug. But it works. Recommended, just expect it to be more violent than previous Bond films.