December 20, 2004

Sequels And Remakes

Ya wanna know what really burns my ass? A flame about three feet high. No, seriously, it's sequels and remakes.

Hollywood is really good at this bullshit.

"Hey, we made a lot of money on Police Academy. Let's make about twenty sequels to it."

Why would anyone want to see a sequel to Porky's?

Short Circuit was a funny movie. Short Circuit 2 sucked.

Every now and then Hollywood does a good job on a sequel. Aliens was actually better than Alien. Alien3 sucked! Ripley just finished killing a bunch of aliens and won a cat fight with a queen alien. Now you're gonna have a bald Ripley deal with just one again? What rocket scientist came up with that idea? Alien Resurrection? Puh-lease! Give it a rest!

I'm sick of the Terminator franchise. Terminator. Good movie. Terminator 2 and Ah-nold is a good guy. Why didn't they send the super cyborg back to kill Sarah in Terminator instead of that obsolete Ah-nold model? Better yet, why didn't they send the babe cyborg from T3? C'mon. How many times can you have robots chasing humans? And if the machines could make babe robots, how did they lose the war? Get some new writers and have them develop some new plots.

Loved the Matrix. The only part of Matrix Reloaded I liked is when they are trying to get the Keymaker out. The rest of the movie sucked. I've only seen parts of Matrix Revolutions.

And remakes. Why remake a movie that was really good in the first place? The original Thomas Crown Affair was much better than the remake. If you haven't seen the original you should. And to add insult to injury, Rene Russo has ugly tits. They should have left the boobage shot out.

I haven't seen the remake of Oceans Eleven. It probably isn't as good as the original. Remakes seldom are.

It's Christmas. Is there gonna be another version of A Christmas Carol? How many versions of that are there? Jesus! Everyone knows the story. Why keep making different versions of it?

I think there are two versions of Miracle on 34th Street. We're probably due for another one. I'm surprised they haven't remade It's a Wonderful Life. I have a confession to make. I'm probably the only person in the United States who hasn't seen that film.

Now on to books. I loved Dune. The sequels sucked. Herbert hit the big time with Dune and decided to cash in by writing bullshit.

I read a real neat book by Nancy Kress called Beggars in Spain. My sister told me there were sequels. I shouldn't have read them. They sucked.

Riverworld went on and on and on and on.

The Cities in Flight series by James Blish was good except for the last one.

The Honor Harrington series by David Weber is primo. Think of a female Horatio Hornblower in the future as a starship captain.

Isaac Asimov was good on sequels. The foundation trilogy is a prime example of that. Ditto the Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun.

Speaking of Asimov, I am reading an anthology called the Science Fiction Century that has fiction by writers who are supposed to be the best science fiction writers of the 20th Century. Notable by their absence are Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clark. Huh? How can you put together a science fiction anthology of the 20th Century and not have those three in it. Nancy Kress is in it. Isaac Asimov isn't. There are other writers that I have never heard of in it. Heinlein and Clark aren't.

So let's summarize. Movie sequels usually suck. Remakes are seldom as good as the originals. Some book sequels are good. Some suck. A good stand alone novel like Dune should have remained a stand alone novel.

By the way, Lord of the Rings sucks also. I think Kim du Toit and I are the only ones who weren't able to even make it through the first book. I've seen parts of the movies. Liv Tyler is a babe. They did a good job with Golum. Frito and Dildo suck.

But that's just my opinion.

I'm seldom wrong.

Posted by denny at December 20, 2004 09:32 PM  

NO ASIMOV!!!!!?????


If it wasn't sacrilege, I would say - "BURN THAT BOOK!"

Posted by: The Moose on December 20, 2004 10:47 PM

But Terry Pratchett has been writing Discworld books for neigh on twenty years and they are still funny! It would take a Brit to call his latest, a book about resurrecting mail delivery, "Going Postal"...... Of course, he also has a vampire photographer, a werewolf on the City Watch (along with dwarves, trolls, zombies, and a golem or two).

Dune #2 was OK, the rest were stripmining the creation.

I agree A2 was better than A1, mostly because Ripley is pissed in this one, instead of just being scared in the first...

Posted by: Rick T on December 20, 2004 11:09 PM

Didn't like LOTR????


Posted by: Murray on December 21, 2004 12:34 AM

Has anyone ever read an Asimov short story called "The Last Question"? brilliant !!!

Posted by: Robert on December 21, 2004 01:02 AM

One good remake was dawn of the dead ,check out the unrated version

Posted by: Pharaoh on December 21, 2004 04:21 AM

George Clooney's Ocean's Eleven sucked major ass. The original with the Rat Pack was so much better. Ocean's Twelve looks to be even worse... if that's possible.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on December 21, 2004 06:14 AM

Probably the reason there were no Asimov, Heinlein or Clarke stories in that anthology was that the editors / publishers would have to pay more than a minimal amount for the rights.

Only case I know of in which the sequel was:

1) (Marginally) better than the original
2) Written by someone other than the author of the original, and
3) Written at least a decade after the original:

"Great Kings' War," by John Carr and Roland Green (sequel to H. Beam Piper's "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen").

Posted by: F451 on December 21, 2004 06:49 AM

I stll havent seen Its a wonderful life either. As my fav Christmas movie I like A Christmas Story Ralphie is very entertaining and who wouldn't like the leg lamp in your living room. When talking sequels you cant forget about Friday the 13th (they made like 10 of them) and Rocky.


Posted by: Greg DiCroce on December 21, 2004 07:59 AM

Wait...did I just read that Denny was AGAINST boobage in a movie? What is this world coming to???

Posted by: Al on December 21, 2004 08:16 AM

My nomination for Biggest Sequel Disparity (SUPERB original to ASS-SUCKING sequel) has to be "Blues Brothers 2000". Yeesh.

Also every Rambo movie after "First Blood".

Posted by: Bruce on December 21, 2004 09:04 AM

Smokey and the Bandit
Smokey and the Bandit II and III? Bah!

Posted by: Ryan on December 21, 2004 09:12 AM

I can't believe you thought the Foundation series was even tolerable.

Rene Russo has ugly skin. And yes, Liv Tyler's a babe. I like The Hobbit far more than the LOTR. Why can't the LOTR team go make that movie?

Posted by: Squidley on December 21, 2004 09:34 AM

You and Kim don't have exclusive rights to the LOR sucks club. I read sci-fi voratiously, and find most fantasy sucks, but LOR is particularly wasteful of paper.


Posted by: ian on December 21, 2004 09:43 AM

Read 'The Hobbit',then tried to read 'Fellowship of the Ring'. Made it about 1/4 through and gave up. My daughter describes Tolkein as 'fantasy written like the Bible'.

Posted by: Mark on December 21, 2004 10:38 AM

"Dirty Dozen" I = Great movie
"Dirty Dozen" II = Sucky movie -so bad, they will NEVER try and sequel that again.

You should make a bowl of popcorn & screen "It's a Wonderful Life"; watch for Bert & Ernie in the film.

"Christmas Story" has something for everyone.

"Miracle on 34th Street" has (due to political-correctness) been renamed "Incident on 34th Street".

Posted by: Dan S on December 21, 2004 01:10 PM


Have you ever seen a great older film and thought, "Wow, I'd like to see what they can do with that these days, using modern cinematography (not necessarily special effects, just better use of cameras and recording)." Then when they do, they f' it up by changing the movie too much.

Example: Manchurian Candidate. The original was great, although the book was probably better. Then its re-made by bed wetting anti-capitalist hollywood liberals, so now the bad guy is an evil corporation instead of the commies. Thanks for screwing up a good movie.

Same goes for 12 Angry Men. Wanna know why Henry Fonda is so highly regarded as an actor? See this movie. The original. Not the one with Tony Danza.

And I swear, if they remake To Kill A Mockingbird and make it PC, I'll never watch anything else that comes from Hollywood.

(and I second Ralphie for great Christmas movies. who doesnt remember wanting a daisy red ryder bb gun - "but you'll shoot your eye out").

Posted by: daniel on December 21, 2004 01:16 PM

Aliens 3 was enough to put me off my food, but then a friend of mine who bought that Alien Quartet DVD set tells me the commentary for #3 really explains a lot about how things get done in Hollywood. Once someone in a suit - who more often than not was parking cars a week ago, it seems - starts thinking he knows film better than the director then you're looking at a train wreck of a film.

Liked Dune. Tried to read the others. Bleah.

Yay, Honor Harrington. Space opera done right. Just started on Shadow of Saganami but was sidetracked into David Gerrold's Star Wolf books. You might want to try the Miles Vorkosigan books as well. Lois McMaster Bujold.

Posted by: Wayne on December 21, 2004 01:39 PM

The only sequel I ever liked was 2010. 2001 sucked rocks but at least 2010 tidied up all the WTF? questions that 2001 left behind.

And I've tried to read LOTR 2 times and can't make it through.

And to me the best 3 science fiction writers of the 20th century were Heinlein, Asimov and Norton. Blish comes in 4th.

Imperial Keeper

Posted by: Elizabeth on December 21, 2004 02:56 PM

I think they did do a remake on "It's a Wonderful Life". If I remember correctly, Marlo Thomas took the lead role. It must have bombed, because I don't remember seeing it in years.

Posted by: Belhaven on December 21, 2004 04:30 PM

You are right on the money on this post GOC. Although I thought The Road Warrier was an awesome sequel to Mad Max, Mad Max III-Beyond Thunderdome was dismal. I hear they are talking about a Mad Max IV and an Alien 5. (those ought to be winners...*heavy sarchasm*)
And who in Hollywood thought it was a good idea to remake Psycho? I like Vince Vaughn but that move was lame as hell. What director thought they could best Hitchcock???

Posted by: Shane on December 21, 2004 04:42 PM

Tim Burton is actually remaking Willy Wonka...only they're using the book's title instead of the movie's title (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). I'm torn about how I feel about this. It might be cool, but I don't think even Johnny Depp can outdo Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.

As for Tolkien...his stories and ideas were amazing. His actual storytelling left something to be desired.

I suspect that the secret to writing decent sequels comes out of the intention to continue the stories. If a single stand-alone story is written, with no intention by the author to revisit the characters or the world, but it makes a lot of money and they decide to cash in, then the odds of getting a good series out of it are low.

Posted by: Samira on December 21, 2004 08:27 PM

I can't believe I paid to see Blade III, or II. Just bored.

Asimov's history of the Dark Ages is the best account of the period I've read.

I refuse to see the remake of Thomas Crown Affair or The Getaway. How could you top McQueen, Dunaway and Slim Pickens?

The best cinema is actually on HBO.
Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Carnivalle, Deadwood. Awesome character development, keeps you guessing and great story lines.

Sayyyy, how's about a sequel to Bonnie and Clyde?
The Wild Bunch, 300 Spartans?

Best way to see Alexander the Great: Go to another movie. When it's over, slip in and watch right up till the end of the battle with Darius, then sneak out before you are seen watching the virtual fudge packing.

Posted by: utopiatex on December 21, 2004 08:38 PM

Squidley - Foundation. Classic. Psychohistory.

Daniel - You're right. Manchurian Candidate the book was better than the movie (Books are almost always better than the movie.). Condon was great at satire and, of course, John Yerkes Iselen was McCarthy. The movie, however, was a classic and I cannot imagine how a remake could have been better unless they modeled Raymond's mother on Hillary Clinton. Angela Lansbury did such a phenomenal job in that picture that I despised her for years.

Shane - Of the three Mad Max films, Road Warrior was the best of them all. In Mad Max, they dubbed the dialogue to elimninate the Australian accents.

utopiatex - I don't know what happened to the Richard Burton version of Alexander the Great. I thought it was a pretty good movie.

Posted by: Denny Wilson on December 21, 2004 11:04 PM

Samira -LOTR is just a rip off of Wagner's Ring Cycle.

Posted by: Denny Wilson on December 22, 2004 12:18 AM

Small tip for those of you who can't make it through LOTR... Skip from Farmer Maggot to the Prancing Pony. The Old Forest (where they meet Tom Bombadil) is intensely boring and doesn't really move the plot anywhere. And it might be good to skip the entire council chapter. It's all silly dialogue that allows the Fellowship to go its merry way, and much too long.

That being said, LOTR is simply amazing. While the actual writing style and prose leave some to be desired, what's going on and the ideas behind the books are amazing. Also, his vision is the basic makeup of the ENTIRE fantasy genre today. Elves, dwarves, trolls, etc? Pretty much all based on tolkien design nowadays.

And the movies... well, I'd say they are better than the books. They just bring it so much more to life... Ever time I see a part... I sit back in sheer awe of what I just witnessed.

Spider Man 2... better than the original.

X-men 2= MUCH better than the original.

Harry Potter 3= best one yet.

Then again both of these movies were planned to have sequels.

Posted by: Robin Palm on December 22, 2004 12:42 AM

Remakes are alright. If you you go at them as if you were there to see a comedy.

Same for sequels.

Posted by: The Moose on December 22, 2004 01:31 AM


I'm perfectly aware of just where and how Tolkien got his ideas for his books. He has a lot of respect from me as a scholar. But, having gone back and read (translations of) a lot of the source material, I have to say...I can never forgive him for what he did to elves and the sidhe in general.

And his choice for his portrayal of orcs still boggles me.

And worse, the entire fantasy genre (of which I am a huge fan) is now riddled with Tolkien-esque watered down pointed-eared pretty humans instead of real elves.

Fantasy plucked out of mythology can be some of the most riveting (if you can find it, Gregory Frost's Tain and it's sequel which I can't spell, Remscella, are based off of the Irish epic about Cu Chullain, and is breath-taking), and Tolkien helped get the ball rolling on it. But considering the better authors out there doing the same thing (Leiber, especially with his Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Howard, etc), he gets far too much credit over a series that isn't that amazing.

Posted by: Samira on December 22, 2004 11:46 AM

Amen on books being better than the movies. Case in point: The Bourne Identity. Robert Ludlum's book was infinitely better than Matt Damon's acting. I can't believe Then Bourne Supremacy will be any better.

As for movies and sequels, George Lucas has done OK with the Star Wars series. But again, the sequels and prequels (WTF?) were planned.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on December 22, 2004 01:21 PM

The Burton version of Alex. the Great was fine. The new one is the flic I'm panning.

Posted by: utopiatex on December 22, 2004 05:28 PM

Why no Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke, simple, they can't write to save themselves ! Asimov, good ideas, boring style; Heinlein, one good idea (SIASL), crapulously awful style (you know, first I tells them, then I tells them what I told them, then I explains it again in case they didn't get it) and an almost complete lock on the inventory of fabulously prolix and boring "heros"; Clarke, vastly overrated and another awful stylist.

However, it is all taste, and, IMHO, anyone can have their own list of "the best of..." and who is to stop them.

Posted by: Ed Snack on December 22, 2004 09:43 PM

It's okay not to like LOTR, just as it's okay not to like Shakespeare, The Macallan scotch, or Valhrona chocolate.
But they are all still the best of the best in their class.

Posted by: Toren on December 24, 2004 04:43 PM

Well said, Toren. If Denny thinks Liv Tyler is anything more than mediocre and LOTR less than amazing, I'd have to say that he must be esthetically dyslexic!

As for Asimov, his short stories (including I, Robot) are pretty good. The initial Foundation trilogy was pretty good, but verbose.

As for Heinlein; his other writings may be lacking, but Starship Troopers is possibly the best SF book ever.

Weber's Honor Harrington series in excellent, up until he turns it into Danielle Steele-type romance in "In Enemy Hands". "Echoes" rebounds a bit, but "Ashes" continues the decline. I'll probably get whetever comes next out of the library before I commit to buying it.

Posted by: Grognard on December 25, 2004 05:25 PM

Grognard - I don't think Liv Tyler is a good actress, she's just nice to look at. I prefer The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to Starship Troopers.

Posted by: denny on December 26, 2004 09:47 AM

Sorry, Denny, I still disagree with you on Liv. She has the figure of a 14 year-old boy. Her lips are bigger than her boobs, fercrissakes!

I do agree, though, that Moon is a great book. I'll have to pick up a copy and reread it; it's been at least 20 years since the one time I did read it. On the other hand, I reread Troopers (and the Hobbit and LOTR, BTW) at least once a year.

By the way: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours, Denny. Thanks for all you do to stoke the home fires.

Posted by: Grognard on December 26, 2004 11:26 AM

Whoops. Should have closed the italics after LOTR. PIMF, dammit.

Posted by: Grognard on December 26, 2004 11:30 AM
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