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Thanks, Hollywood! The joy of unneeded sequels

Posted on Friday, August 1st, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Author: Joe Sapien

We see it on blogs, websites, magazines. We hear it on radio shows. We even comment on it to each other. Believe me, I know how cliché it is to say that Hollywood is out of ideas. But in that same vein, it’s also cliché to say things like “Gravity points down,” or “1=1”. So you see what I‘m getting at.

Now, historically, Hollywood has always done one of two things: it has produced good movies or really bad movies. Some of the more baroque and stylistically bad movies were passed off as good movies, everyone swigged some red wine that they all secretly didn’t care for, and everyone did their best to ignore the fact that the Oscars should only be held once every four years. However, the new trend that has emerged in these last few years is far more forbidding.

These days, the directors and producers are all either remaking or producing horrible sequels to any film they can lay their grubby hands on. In effect, this takes every single movie from the past few decades and makes them all worse. The good movies we’ve enjoyed for so long are shot in the back of the head and toppled into unmarked graves near lonely metaphorical highways. The bad movies are actually brought back from the dead as slavering zombies, cursed in the sight of God (not a metaphor; every theater that played the new Pink Panther should have been required to sell wooden stakes and pieces of the One True Cross at the concession stand).

That being said, I wanted to give everyone a warning as to what remakes and sequels are being produced, and why going to the theater might actually give you a brain tumor in the upcoming months.

Tr2n: Believe it or not, this is the sequel to Tron. Remember the movie that you never actually saw, but know from throwaway references in shows like Family Guy? Or that video you nearly rented, until you realized you didn’t want to watch a VHS about a man riding a lasercycle while dressed up as a flamboyant circuit board? Well, at any rate that’s as much I know about Tron, and it’s more than enough. In the sequel, I’m guessing we can see whatever revolutionary/ridiculous special effects were left over from the colon blast that was Speed Racer. That should be, well… something.

Also, “2” doesn’t even look like an “o.” It’s not a loop or anything, it’s just a shitty prime number.

Another Robocop: I’m not sure if it’s a sequel, or a remake, or if it even matters (no). But for those of you with more nostalgia than common sense, Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain) is set to direct a remake of the classic series about a man who became a robot that became a hero that later became a flying hero. And then there were some Japanese cyborgs, I think.

All I know is that they’re going to make Robocop more modern and hip for the new generation, which means he’s going to play MP3’s, poop iPhones, and have a “breakdance mode” that he uses to befriend inner-city youths. Or maybe he’ll stay true to form and just end the movie with a 30 minute montage of disturbing footage scored with terrifying music. Requiem taught me that drugs were bad, so maybe this new Robocop will scare me off of downloading movies or using my iPod.

Of course, there were some good things about the first Robocop movie. One was that it was set in the future, and you knew this because Detroit was now referred to as “Old Detroit.” Then, the city government’s solution to gang warfare was to make a killing machine and then sort of point it at the bad areas of town. We must consider that Robocop was a policeman made out of unbreakable steel, which means that every bullet that hits him had the potential to ricochet and kill one or more civilians. Also, the final bad guy in the movie was another robot, only it looked like the front end of a Ford Taurus, but with stork legs and machine guns for hands.

Everything in that last paragraph is factually true. With all of this taken into account, how could anybody really want to make a sequel?

Rocky Horror Picture Show – The MTV Remake: I’ve never seen the actual movie, but from what I gather, it’s supposed to be a “groundbreaking-but-lighthearted cult classic.” I can honestly say that I‘ve rarely liked any movies that had even one of those words used to describe them. Everything I’ve seen about this Rocky Horror business involves leather-clad creepers dripping rouge, eye liner, and possibly human blood.

My hypothesis is that they’re sort of like vampires, but they can only be slain with dildoes. In addition to all of this, I hear that the audience pelts each other with uncooked hot dogs and rice. Frankly, I would sucker punch somebody for that even if I weren’t watching one of the worst movies of all time.

All that being said, I am sort of happy about remake. It’s going to be a new-agey, chock full of The Hills-quality talent, and it’s going to piss off the entire goth movement. At the same time, it’s a completely shitty musical that will yield abysmal box office numbers, and hopefully cost the emo-friendly producers a ton of money. So I guess what I’m really saying is, I win.

Top Gun 2: The original Top Gun has been mathematically proven (by me, on the back of a Denny’s placemat) to be one of the greatest movies of our time. So of course, Hollywood had to ruin it all with the cinematic equivalent of a gorilla-punch to my junk.

“The idea is Maverick is at the Top Gun school as an instructor — and this time it is he who has to deal with a cocky new female pilot.”

Seriously. That’s the idea. Firstly, everything from the first movie has changed. The F-14s have all been decommissioned, it’s common knowledge that all fighter pilots are cocky (regardless of the status of their genitals), and Tom Cruise is the lilliputian high priest of a religion involving lasers, space monsters, and really bad sci fi novels.

Also, Hollywood gets incredibly predictable as it tries to be “progressive” and address “the issues of the day.” I mean, how am I supposed to respond to the same tired moralizing that we’ve been force-fed in a thousand other movies? “What a shocking twist! A woman pilot?! I hope she has enough sass! Ooh, and you know what would be really surprising? If she was actually vulnerable underneath her tough exterior!”

My guesses: I bet she’ll also be the single mom of a sick child, and fix her fighter jet so that it runs on ethanol instead of jet fuel. Also, she won’t shoot missiles at people, just at faceless corporations that ruin the environment, because we need Hollywood to tell us that the war in Iraq and pollution are evil. Finally, they’ll make a sequel to this sequel about her disabled son who cockily turns his wheelchair into a fighter jet, and then Goose will return from the dead.

(Actually, I would watch that last one.)

Red Sonja: I’m not really familiar with this character. All I know about Red Sonja is she’s got huge lady parts, wears a chainmail bikini, and swings around a giant, medieval sword. So, basically, she’s Dungeons and Dragons + porn. Apparently there was already a movie about her back in the 80’s, starring Brigitte Nielsen- the evil Russian chick from Rocky IV.

What‘s really important here is to note that Rocky IV was a cinematic masterpiece about how the power of hope, dreams, and reduced reading ability can end Cold Wars. Also useful in ending Cold Wars: killing Carl Weathers off and revenge-based boxing matches in which weight class clearly doesn’t matter. This movie was very much in the vein of The Godfather, part II, only it had less Italian, and much, much more Italian Stallion. Remember that line? “If you can change, and I can change, then everybody can change!” Learn how to feel, you heartless bitches.

Oh yeah, and Red Sonja is going to be stupid.

Alice in Wonderland… by Tim Burton: I know, I think it’s a great idea too. The old Alice in Wonderland was nothing but a cute children’s movie that was obviously also a drug-fueled fantasy. All it ever accomplished was to delight little kids and give tiny girls the hope that if they wished hard enough, they could make friends with a striped cat and ride around on a big mushroom. It clearly needed to be remade by a man whose entire career has been based on headless ghouls, horrifying prosthetic limbs, and Johnny Depp.

Honestly, I don’t think the ramifications of this film will be too severe. We’ll just have a lot more instances of small children doing things like stabbing their teachers with safety scissors, crawling down stairways backwards, or channeling the voice of the Dark Lord while all the lights in the room flicker. No big thing.

Here’s a simulated script excerpt from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland:

[haunting music plays]

Alice: Where are we, Chesire Cat?

CC: [Starts to laugh as his head falls off!]

Alice: Oh my! Wonderland certainly is a strange place!

CC: [Starts to laugh as Alice’s head falls off]

Alice: [Screams because she can’t get her head back on; music starts]

Johnny Depp: In Wonderland, everything is strange! Especially… my eyes! [zoom in on Johnny’s delicious chocolatey eyes that I just want to drown in and never ever swim out of and they also have eyeliner around them to be scary]

CC: [starts to laugh as his entire body disintegrates into a mass of carefully-rendered CGI limbs which get somehow eaten by dogs that don’t have heads. Kids love dogs, right?]

Alice: [screams and drowns as the entire screen fills up with olive oil]

Johnny Depp: [throws my nagging wife into the Grand Canyon and flies me away in his jet to Morocco and stays covered in olive oil]

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I actually wrote this entire piece on 7/27. On 7/30, it was announced that Johnny Depp has been cast as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice remake. I guess, in retrospect, that isn’t terribly surprising. I wonder if he’ll do the whole child-molester-as-a-child-icon motif again. Stay tuned to see what other jokes of mine turn out to be less disturbingly funny than reality.

A CGI Thundercats: Right now, all of you, think back to 1987. Remember how bitchin’ it was? 1987 was a magical, naïve time in which there was nothing wrong or hilarious about having a team of… unwell people celebrating their cat fixation on your lunchbox.

In case you weren’t a fan: Everyone had a cat name, and also some slightly disturbing cat-like facial features. They lived in a giant cat statue that shot lasers out of its eyes and (I wish) mortars out of its six nipples. Also, like most cats, none of them wore pants. Some of them sported form-fitting bike shorts, but for the most part, they just had unitards, feathered hair, and heads full of dreams. So if you want a really clear mental picture, just think of a super-hero team whose theme song is Abba’s Supertrooper.

Now, there was one Thundercat in particular that we all remember: Panthro. He was the black Thundercat. I mean, he wasn’t actually black, he was sort of a dusty blue. But let’s compare him to all the other, untinted Thundercats.

Panthro – All the other Thundercats

Tall – Average height

Extremely Muscular – Generally built like emo rockers

Bald – Haired

Blue – Caucasian

Deep voice – Squealing.

Had a slick ride – Made Panthro do all the mechanical work for the entire damn Cat-base.

So you see, he was pretty much the media stereotype of what it meant to be black on a 1987 Saturday morning cartoon show. Also, in this CGI version, Tyrese Gibson (the muscular, burger-stealing star of 2 Fast 2 Furious) is being tapped to play Panthro. Case solved.

Underworld 3: I’m not sure how many of you saw the first Underworld, nor the second, so let me give you brief recap. In the first one, we see Kate Beckinsale pretty much acting like Neo with lady-parts. There’s a plot about werewolves and vampires, but they never explain why everything in the entire movie is gray, dark green, or black.

The entire series is basically the basement brainchild of some high school kid that loves The Matrix, loves Mountain Dew, and loves what he imagines breasts to be like. “I’ll have vampires, but they’ll be like super fast, and then I’ll put in werewolves, and they’ll be all like ‘RAAUUGH!’ And then vampires are all going to have like these sweet-ass coats with a million pistols inside! The soundtrack is going to be like all Evanesence and shit and I’ll also make the werewolves cuss so that it’ll be R-rated so we can show a boob or something!!!1”

This third movie should be an improvement since Kate Beckinsale isn’t even in it. Also, it’s called Rise of the Lycans. Now I’m not sure of what a Lycan is, but (possible spoiler) it would a general improvement on the overall theme if the entire movie was just Lycans going up escalators.

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  1. Fantastic… I am looking forward to you hopefully writing about the woefully pathetic turn Broadway has taken… Legally Blonde the musical.. Need I say more.. Doesn’t anyone write plays or musicals anymore??? Why are we taking a movie that was insipid and stupid to begin with and suddenly turning it into a musical? I’ll tell you why people are stupid and have the attention spans of 1st graders…

  2. Parts of Alice in Wonderland are being filmed in Plymouth, UK, where I live. There were queues for miles down the street when they were casting for extras. People started to queue at two in the morning when it opened at ten. Madness! I cannot say I am a big fan of Burton, and I doubt that his version of Alice will even touch Svankmajer’s version, which is amazing!

  3. Serious kudos for this article! Agree with you on many, many points. However, agree with Mr Fry regarding Burton. I used to be a big fan until I realised all his movies are basically exactly the same – there is no stylistic variety at all. And I think that unfortunately all he can do is the absolute obvious with Alice in Wonderland.

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