Friday, June 5, 2009

Weekly Top Tens Part 2: The Ten Worst Sequels of the Decade

The only rule I had to this one, is that at least one of the movies in the series before the film of this list had to be good. I didn’t see much of a point in putting something like Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle or Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, because the original movies sucked so much to begin with, what did you expect from the sequels? Anyway, here are the worse ten sequels I have seen this decade.

10. The Matrix Revolutions
It’s not that the third Matrix film is bad in any real way. It is quality action filmmaking in every way. It’s just that after the intelligence on display in the first two films, this film chucks it all for a lot of shots of non space ship spaceships flying around and action scene after action scene. It felt like they were building to something at the end of the second film. I just didn’t think it would be this simple.

9. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
At World’s End, the third Pirates movie, suffers because it just tries too hard to be to stuff so much into its bloated running time. Why they felt the need to introduce seemingly tons of new characters into its plot. Even Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow was starting to wear thin. For movies with such simple plots, they sure do last a hell of a long time.

8. Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Why director Shakur Kapur decided to make the sequel to his best picture nominee classical costume drama into a campy epic, I’ll never know. At times, the movie plays like a bad Monty Python sketch, with all the double intenders flying around. When that’s not going on, then it’s all over acting by Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen, and cheesy action sequences shot in slow motion. Simply poor filmmaking.

7. X-Men III: The Last Stand
Everything that went right in the second film, went wrong in this one. The story was nowhere near as well thought out or written (why they decided to truncate the Dark Phoenix saga into a subplot of one movie I’ll never know), the action not as crisp or clean, the performances weaker. I did not expect that Brent Ratner would do as good of a job as Singer did, but I thought he’d do better then this.

6. Ocean’s 12
Ocean’s 11 was on my list last week of the best remakes of the decade. But Ocean’s 12 is a heist movie that forgot the heist! It was two hours of good looking, charming people standing around looking good and trying to be charming. In the last act it seems like they remembered they needed a heist, so they threw in some ridiculous crap about an egg, and Julia Roberts playing someone who impersonates Julia Roberts. It’s all so meta as to be annoying.

5. The Hills Have Eyes II
The first film (which barely missed my remake list last week) is one of the best American horror films of the decade. While it was stomach churningly violent and disgusting, it never devolved to the level of torture porn, not even during the rape scene. It was also wonderfully politically aware, and was essentially a modern day Sam Peckinpah movie. But everything that the first film was, this film is not. It is horribly violent, but with no sense of purpose. The rape scene is there to titillate, not to horrify, and the director has no idea how to bring out the political subtext. The best thing about this movie is the poster.

4. Blade Trinity
As much as I love Blade II, I hated Blade Trinity. Ryan Reynolds humor, and Jessica Biel’s outfits, were not enough to make this terribly written movie watchable. Wesley Snipes seems downright bored in the role, and you know when a vampire movie not named Dracula, works Dracula in as a character, the writer has simply run out of ideas. The action scenes are poorly handled as well. David S. Goyer may be a good writer (most of the time, not here), but he is a terrible director.

3. Scream 3
The original Scream was the best of the horror/comedies of the 1990s, and reinvigorated the genre with its original take. The second movie was almost as good, as again, it did for horror sequels what the original did for the slasher genre. The third movie, which was not written by Kevin Williamson who did the first two, tried hard to keep the same spirit, but just was not able to pull it off. Director Wes Craven is simply going through the motions, as are actors Neve Campbell, Coutney Cox and David Arquette. The only one having any fun, and who makes the film at all worth watching, is Parker Posey, playing an actress playing the Courtney Cox character.

2. Shrek the Third
I was never quite the fan of the Shrek movies as some were, but I did highly enjoy the first film, and thought the second film was fine, if disposable, fun. But the third film in the series was just downright awful. The animation is just as good as it always was, but it seems like the writers took the movie off - it’s such lazy screenwriting as it never really bothers to tell a story. It’s just one lazy joke after another.

1. Spider-Man 3
What happened to this series? The first installment was good, the second great, but the third one was just downright awful! The writing in the film is so incredibly lazy as to be insulting. I mean a supernatural ooze from outer space just happens to land right next to Spider-Man? When you consider the comics already gave a perfectly logical explanation for the Venom ooze, this is just plain silly. Not only that, but the action isn’t as good, the characters are ill defined and the emo-Peter Parker is just bad. Apparently, they are making a fourth film – I hope someone actually reads the screenplay this time.

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