Monday, July 16, 2012
Ask JKM a Question: #11: What sequels would I want to see?
A reader named Laurence asks:
“What movies would you like to see sequels for?”
Another great reader question, Laurence. Thank you for asking it.
In general, I believe that a movie should be a complete work of art in-and-of itself, needing no further “editions” or creative embellishment.
Yet there have been so many wonderful occasions over the decades in which sequels have enriched and deepened the universe of the original film. Without sequels, we wouldn’t have The Godfather II, The Empire Strikes Back, The Road Warrior, Aliens, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Superman II and many other authentically terrific films.
The sequels I am most interested in seeing are those ones, I guess you could say, that feature memorable and magnetic lead characters, ones who would benefit from additional cinematic “adventures.” These characters are usually larger-than-life (and a little funny…) and deserve a second bite at the apple.
I have the same caveat here that I did last week when discussing which cult TV series to un-cancel. Some of my “sequel” choices make more sense in 1979 or 1986 rather than 2012, because new lead actors would need to be cast.
At the moment, I am looking forward to Ridley Scott helmed sequels to Prometheus (2012) and his classic Blade Runner (1982) but we’re likely already getting those. This list should be devoted, instead, to the sequels we are unlikely to see.
Without further ado, I would like to see sequels to:
Big Trouble in Little China (1986). This wickedly funny and thrilling John Carpenter movie written by W.D. Richter introduced the world to a great (and highly-amusing) hero in Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton. Channeling John Wayne, Russell delivered a swaggering, brilliant performance, and the humorous (yet innately heroic) nature of Jack’s “character” made for some trenchant East vs. West comparisons, thematically. I would love the opportunity to see Jack in action again, swaggering and blundering his way to victory in another supernatural adventure that challenges Western mythology and action tropes.
Buckaroo Banzai (1984). Well, here’s another W.D. Richter-inspired choice. The original 1984 film promised a sequel involving rocker/doctor/hero Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) and his troupe of colorful sidekicks/band mates, and I’d like to see that on-screen promise delivered, even belatedly. Much like Big Trouble in Little China, there’s a tongue in cheek joy to Buckaroo Banzai that, if recaptured in a sequel, would make for a hell of an entertaining return “gig.”
Army of Darkness (1992). See a pattern emerging here? Another larger-than-life, somewhat tongue-in-cheek hero, Ash (Bruce Campbell), stars in Army of Darkness from Sam Raimi. Army of Darkness’s gonzo denouement in S-Mart, with Ash battling rabid zombies in the House Wares department, suggests that the Deadites are following this “groovy” hero on his journeys through time and space, and more adventures are to come. Twenty years later, Ash is still the King -- baby -- as far as I’m concerned, and a hero awesome enough for an additional adventure…or seven.
The Black Hole (1979). I know this film is on the remake circuit right now. But when I was a kid, I really hoped for a straight-up sequel to this Disney film. It wasn’t because the film featured a saucy and charismatic lead character, like my other choices. It was because the sci-fi film ended on a very unique cliffhanger. The heroes had passed through a black hole (escaping the forces of “spaghetti-fication,” apparently) and ended up…where? On the other side of the universe? In a different dimension? In Heaven? I would have loved to see that idea and that unknown realm explored in a sequel film. Plus, the film’s climax created a great and fearsome villain: the Reinhardt/Maximillian fusion. Just imagine that gruesome creation as the central menace in a Black Hole sequel, circa 1981.
John Carter (2012). It’s too bad that we’ll never see a sequel to this thrilling and beautifully rendered Disney film starring Taylor Kitsch. The film was poorly marketed and the target of inexplicably hostile, mean-spirited reviews. Yet it came as close to any film in years to capturing the spirit of the original Star Wars. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Mars” cycle offers the opportunity for not one sequel to this underrated film, but several. I, for one, would like to see the continuing adventures of John Carter of Mars, and feel genuinely irritated and disappointed that there will be no such opportunity, unless Carter becomes a “cult favorite”….and fast. Otherwise, I suspect this film will be remembered in the same breath as Buckaroo Banzai of Big Trouble in Little China: loved passionately by a few, forgotten by the masses…
I’m sure I’ve missed some important titles that deserve sequels too, so I hope other readers will provide their own choices. But these are the titles that I thought of immediately. My runners-up at this point might be Logan's Run (1976), Flash Gordon (1980), and a David Lynch-helmed Children of Dune.
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