Can a sequel damage an earlier film?
Right. So here is what I do not mean. I really didnt think much of Avengers : Age of Ultron. But however disappointing that film was for me, it didn’t change how I view the first Avengers film.
The sequel didn’t try and change the premise of the original film, not do something so dramatic as to invalidate the original film.
What I’m talking about here is whether in creating a sequel, an earlier film can actually become less enjoyable to watch. Almost the film equivalent of whether ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ makes ‘Please Please Me’ any less enjoyable. (It doesn’t by the way)
Some thoughts….Please note – If you haven’t seen these films, there are spoilers so look away…
Firstly – Highlander. A classic 1986 action film where immortal warriors are battling through the centuries in order to be the final survivor (there can be only one). No one knows exactly why these guys are immortal but we’re going with it. Sean Connery is fantastic in it and his death is a huge moment in the movie. Overall, it’s mysterious, packed with action but also some real emotion. Love it.
But then rocks up Highlander II : The Quickening in 1991. Now all of a sudden, we’re on the planet Zeist. And Connery knows Lambert on this planet. But then they have to forget each other. and then we’re in the future. And aliens are here on hover boards. And they kill Macleod. But he’s not dead. AND HE’S BROUGHT CONNERY BACK FROM THE DEAD?!?
I can’t watch Highlander without part of me thinking about Highlander II. Through its attempt to build out the story for a sequel, it tried to explain what was mysterious in the first. But it actually ends up diminishing it.
Second case. And for me – this is the bigger one. Alien 3.
But lets start with Aliens… We’ve all seen it now. Ripley is back fighting that pesky Alien (and its offspring) and this time she’s with Marines. We spend the movie rooting for her to get away. Plus, she finds Newt – a young girl who has been orphaned. By the end of the movie, Ripley just about escapes with Newt, Hicks and a nearly destroyed Bishop. But its a great ending. She’s going home, and she’ll look after Newt. And that will make up for her daughter having died in her fifties whilst Ripley was in hyper sleep.
But then Alien 3 rocks up. And straight from the start? Newt’s dead. Literally right at the start. The ship that they left on caught fire, and sent an escape pod and now they’re dead. So the end of Aliens where they get away? Its false. They basically now die at the end.
Again – I can’t shake it when I watch Aliens now. Not that ultimately characters die in later films (I get that people can tell other tales about characters, but the such immediate revised end to a film within the sequel.
It’s the equivalent of Rocky 3 starting in the next shot of Rocky 2 disqualifying Balboa from the fight where he just wins the title. Im ok with him going onto lose it, thats a different story. But find a way of telling your story without drawing a line through someone else’s.
Rant Over. Enjoy your day.