Comments on "What makes a good sequel" - Faerye Net 2011-01-23T17:32:35+00:00 another good one 2011-01-23T17:32:35+00:00 2011-01-23T17:32:35+00:00 <p>The Dark Knight. Possibly even better than the original.</p> sister_sledge Toy Story 3 2011-01-20T23:37:02+00:00 2011-01-20T23:37:02+00:00 <p>I recently watched Toy Story 3 and in all respects you name, it’s one of the best sequels ever.</p> sister_sledge Re: Indeedy 2011-01-09T14:14:37+00:00 2011-01-09T14:14:37+00:00 <p>Kath — Yes, I haven’t thought about the differences between book and movie sequels much. One difference that springs to mind is that most series books are originally envisioned as series. Movies, especially the iconic 80’s adventure and action movies that form my lexicon, were often made as stand-alones, then driven into sequels by their success (as Jared notes with distaste.)</p> <p>In some ways, a stand-alone movie is like a short story or novella*: the threads need to tie off. Everything should be self-contained or tidy. When you make a sequel, you’re not just writing a follow-up, you’re expanding the original from short fiction to a novel.</p> <p>*I’m using the John Gardner position on novellas here, which is one I find useful. I can’t put my hands on my copy of <em>Art of Fiction</em> at present, but basically, he says a novella should be self-contained and aspiring to a kind of gem-like perfection, whereas novels reflect the world and thus should include a certain amount of messiness and threads that don’t connect, just exist.</p> Felicity re: Part 2 2011-01-09T14:13:15+00:00 2011-01-09T14:13:15+00:00 <p>Jared — Yes, when Ryan and I started this conversation after watching <em>Empire</em>, I objected to the Star Trek movies first coming into play. Those characters and universe have had plenty of time to get deep!</p> <p>Changing actors does require a huge suspension of disbelief. But I can understand filmmakers going ahead when it’s not a protagonist and there’s no other choice (they would have had to suspend disbelief in an entirely different direction to retcon Jennifer out of the car, and you can’t force people to leave their cancer-patient moms and make movies against their will!)</p> <p>There are <strong>very</strong> few movies that hit every do and don’t I’ve listed. Maybe, o ultimate sequel hater, they have to hit all of them to please you! Judging whether a sequel is good is partially subjective, and many of us would argue <em>for</em> a given sequel in spite of its broken commandments. (I like both <em>Back to the Future 2</em> and <em>Return of the Jedi</em>, despite their repeat-y aspects, for example.) You sound like more of a purist!</p> Felicity re: I'm saving this one. 2011-01-09T14:12:13+00:00 2011-01-09T14:12:13+00:00 <p>Thanks, Jan! Don’t think I’m cut out for screenwriting, however. :P</p> Felicity Indeedy 2011-01-09T08:28:32+00:00 2011-01-09T08:28:32+00:00 <p>I’ve never thought about what makes a movie sequel good, not specifically, though I know if I enjoy one or not, and usually where something failed for me. Book sequels have many of the same requirements you listed, though, over all, I find that if the plot isn’t tight, the rest of the story experience suffers, regardless of media. That was my issue with <i>Terminator Salvation</i>, well … one of them at least.</p> <p>Great post! (tucks this one into her ‘tools of the craft’ notebook)</p> Kath Nyborg Part 2 2011-01-09T07:45:13+00:00 2011-01-09T07:45:13+00:00 <p>Great post on a topic I’ve have many similar conversations about.</p> <p>I AM the ultimate hater of sequels. My question is usually “Is there a sequel that is as good (or better) than the original?” Once we weed out the fan boys and take an objective look, ONLY Empire Strikes Back fulfills my desire.</p> <p>Part of the issue for my conversations comes in defining the sequel. I don’t count the Star Trek Films as sequels, for example. There are more episodic (maybe 2, 3 and 4 are sequels – but I think my point is clear). Many films labeled as sequels are not really such. I haven’t seen the latest Terminator, but it sounds like it’s more “set in the same universe” or even a “semi-reboot” than a sequel. I’ll watch it sometime soon.</p> <p>And, I think my hatred of the sequel comes because there are so SO many bad sequels. Back to the Future 2 and 3. Really? Could we not be satisfied with the wonder of the adventures that Marty and his (mysteriously changing) girlfriend will be having? Most sequels are not based on having more story to tell but having deep pockets to fill.</p> <p>So, there are a few things that will immediately kill a sequel for me, a-la Jump the Shark style (in no particular order, feel free to elaborate as eloquently as you do if you feel the need):</p> <p>1) Changing actors. It’s petty, but as soon as you’ve done this, you’ve lost me. Marty’s GF in Back to the Future. Saavk in Star Trek. Let’s imagine Empire where Tom Seleck plays Han Solo. See my point.</p> <p>2) Going over the top. The Matrix is a really good movie. Pirates of the Caribbean is a really good movie. These are two great example of the sequels going WAY over the top. Just because I like something doesn’t mean I want to be choked with it.</p> <p>3) Plot? What plot? Due to the focus on money and flashing Iron Man on the screen 206 times, who needs plot? The plot needs to be good. This is similar to several points you make.</p> <p>Anyway, it’s still early and I’ll come up with more.</p> <p>Thanks for a great post.</p> Jared I'm saving this one. 2011-01-09T07:23:47+00:00 2011-01-09T07:23:47+00:00 <p>Excellent work here, Felicity. They should hire you. (All those people trying to make sequels.)</p> Jan Priddy