Thursday, April 03, 2008

Friday Feature, Best Posts Revisited: Good Ideas Gone Wrong

I don't know if this was a "best post," but it was certainly one of my most popular. And given the lack of comments these days, maybe I need to revisit the past.... I've noticed a disturbing trend among some of my favorite sci-fi movies; the inability to make a decent sequel. Am I the only one who has noticed this? Somehow I doubt it. The Star Wars saga IMO turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments ever. Granted, Lucas managed to make the first trilogy worth watching. Star Wars itself will always be the best one, but The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were worthy successors. But what the Hell happened after that? The second trilogy was such a letdown to me. I tried to like The Phantom Menace, I did. But there were so many things that bothered me. I wasn't a huge fan of the young Anakin and Natalie Portman brought new meaning to the description "wooden." And need I really get into the whole Jar Jar Binks issue? So when Attack of the Clones came out, I didn't exactly rush to the box office, and I humbly admit I haven't even seen Revenge of the Sith. ((ducks)) If I had to pick out one thing that ruined the last Star Wars trilogy it would be the over-emphasis on computer graphics and a complete lack of character building. I know I am not the first to say it, but that doesn't make it a less valid complaint. Another great idea that fell apart was the Matrix movie franchise. Man, I loved the Matrix too. I thought it was the most interesting, innovative movie I had seen in a long long time. I was so looking forward to the sequel and couldn't have been more excited that they were making THREE of them! *sigh* And then I saw The Matrix Reloaded. To be honest, I didn't understand but half of what they were talking about. And it seemed to me they were trying so hard to be deep, they forgot to make the story interesting. There were some good fight scenes, of which I am a big fan and the freeway chase scene was fun. But other than that, I was disappointed enough not to bother to see Matrix Revolutions in the movie theater. I did maintain enough hope to rent the final movie, but frankly, I couldn't wait for the darn thing to end. I think the makers of the third movie ended up making the same mistake George Lucas did and spent too much time on computer generated stunts and forgot the story. And the CGI at the end of the movie wasn't even convincing to me. I thought it looked terribly fake. The Terminator series did manage to fare better than most, with two really good films with the original Terminator and T2: Judgement Day. Nope this one didn't fall apart until T3: Rise of the Machines. The only thing I liked about this one was the Terminatrix; I guess I like strong women. The biggest mistakes here were that James Cameron didn't direct the film and it didn't include Linda Hamilton. I didn't mind Nick Stahl too much as John Conner, but I would've preferred Edward Furlong if only for consistency. Since I already mentioned Highlander in a recent post, I won't delve into that any further right now. Though it fits since the first movie is the only one worth mentioning. Let me know if you agree with my assessment or if you think I am way off. And as always, tell me if you think I left anything out.

8 comments:

Alice said...

CGI can be the bane of movies, it is true. This link is quite a funny list of why CGI sucks...

furiousBall said...

I agree with alice, CGI definitely became a crutch for the Matrix and Terminator sequels. T3 is one of the worst movies I've ever seen and I saw it in the theater. Like you, I thought episodes IV through VI were great and then they just commenced sucking. The problem with the prequels really lies with Hayden Christensen being such a poor actor.

Avery said...

I completely agree with you on all movies listed. I hated the newest Star Wars trilogy so much I pretend it doesn't exist. Seriously.

And the second Matrix movie? The film took a twenty minute break from actual storytelling to do a big, sweaty, drum-and-hopping filled Coca Cola commercial. Terrible.

DesLily said...

Now that they discovered they can even "invent" the characters (Jar Jar) they think it can be all about special effects.. this is so wrong.
It is wonderful when it's needed but lately they seem to go away from the characters and story for the effects...I recently saw a second trailer for Hellboy II.. I loved Hellboy and thought the first trailer was lookin' good... now with this second trailer I really fear they gave up a "story" for the effects... it's too bad they don't know when to quit ya know?!

Charles Gramlich said...

I agree pretty much down the line, although I really didn't care for Terminator 3, and I liked the matrix sequels a bit more than you did. That freeway scene in matrix 2 was impressive.

but yes, the overreliance on CGI was particularly a problem for the new Star Wars trilogy and the matrix sequels.

paul lamb said...

I really wonder sometimes if Lucas is a guy who really only had one or two movies in him, but he made so much money on them that he can afford to keep going back to them, hoping that somehow the lightning will strike again. In interviews, he really comes across as clueless.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy worked because it wasn't really a trilogy. It was one coherent, whole story that just happened to be split into three movies. I think that helps explain why trilogies are so often disappointing. They start with one good story, but then they simply try to milk it without really giving any more story to it.

Gabrielle Faust said...

I have a huge distaste for sequels. Very, very rarely are they ever as good as the initial idea. Personally, I am in the opinion that, unless it is a tale of epic length such as Lord of the Rings, if a movie can't be brought to conclusion in one film, then the script needs to be revisited before production. I understand the capitalistic attraction of movie franchises, but are they actually worth the money put into them?

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Funny thing is, on my VHS tapes of Star Wars, Empire, and Return, there's an ad for a "Making of the Trilogy" type of video and there is an actual quote from Lucas saying that the effects aren't what's important. You need them, but without a compelling story behind them they're nothing. He should have thought about that for 1, 2, and 3.