Movies that Desperately Need Sequels

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Sequels are a fact of life these days. If a movie does well, there’ll be another one to follow it up. Or fill us in on what came before it. Or maybe they’ll just reboot it and pretend it’s a sequel. There’s a lot of options, and some days it seems a full half (or more) of the movies these days have titles ending in a number.

And yet, I notice that they can’t even make sequels to the right things! Sure, there’s successes like Iron Man 3 and interesting projects like Oz: The Great and Powerful, but they’re also making sequels to things like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Me, I’d much rather have another go at flicks like…

Eastern Promises

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My love of David Cronenberg is well-documented on this site, but Eastern Promises is a movie that most people can agree is pretty rad. It’s understandable. The movie is tight, and rife with the texture provided in the culture class of old-country Russia and modern London. Great performances abound, headlined by a possibly career-best turn from Viggo Mortensen. Howard Shore’s score is brilliant and evocative.

And yes, that fight scene.

Why we need more

It may be cinema blasphemy to some, but it’s easy to compare this first movie to the first Godfather movie. That classic drew a compelling, richly texured world and several memorable characters as it sketched the rise to power of its central figure. Eastern Promises does something similar, and it likewise ends just when it really gets good.

I’m a Godfather II guy, because I’m more interested in what happens after Michael hits the big time. The intro stuff in the first movie is great, but the second simply has more meat on its bones. To continue to compare these two (admittedly quite different) franchise, if we got an Eastern Promises II, there’s no telling where the story could go from here. To say more would be to spoil the first movie, but the story possibilities with Viggo and the rest are pretty vast.

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Why we probably won’t get it

Well, the short answer is because Cronenberg said it was. The longer answer is that apparently Focus Features doesn’t have any interest in continuing the project. Despite a comparable overall box office take to A History of Violence and an Oscar nom and stuff, Eastern Promises underperformed stateside. Maybe it’s for the best, as it’ll keep Cronenberg moving sideways, but it’s hard not to look at the movie and think “what might have been.”

 

John Carter

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I’ve written about this one before, but the short version is that most lighthearted, fun adventure movies suffer from any number of problems. Many of them plain don’t work. John Carter — though not without flaws — is one of the good ones. That alone gives it weight, but it’s also a fairly successful adaptation of A Princess of Mars, otherwise known as the first book in a series that inspired everybody from Frank Herbert to James Cameron.

Why we need more

John Carter is a full-blooded serial adventure movie. Emphasis on “serial.” It’s a setup in the vein of Indiana Jones or Star Wars, where a single movie is great but the worldbuilding is now in place for enless returns and many adventures to be had.

Much like Eastern Promises, the first (and only) John Carter ends just after all the pieces for a really great story fall into place. Not to take anything away from Carter’s first romp through Barsoom, but a second story featuring a hero in full control of his powers, with an established history in the world, sounds like a hell of a ride.

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Why we probably won’t get it

Box office totals. John Carter wound up with a $73 million domestic gross after a budget of $250 million. Whether much of that failure can be chalked up to marketing or not, that’s gonna be a hard sell.

Salt

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This remains a somewhat oddly underrated movie. I’ve talked about this one before, too (spoilers in that link), but in the morose climate of conspiracy-happy actioners, the essentially insane Salt is a breath of fresh air. Far from being just another Bourne ripoff, Salt is a spy thriller with a real sense of self that is also entertaining as all getout.

Why we need more

Well, aside from the gaping open ending, there’s… actually, mainly because there’s a huge open ending. Not an open ending where the movie can’t stand on its own, but the kind where the world you thought you knew while watching the movie suddenly gets a whole lot bigger right before the credits roll. I’m trying to skirt around spoiling the movie, but in a story full of absurd conspiracies, the biggest and most absurd is saved for a narration that plays right before the movie cuts to black.

Just a side note: I think this is only in the Director’s Cut. I could be wrong.

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Why we probably won’t get it

Actually, we might. I was reading reports back in December that a script from original scribe Kurt Wimmer was tossed out, and a new writer hired to give it another go. I guess it’s anybody’s game now, but it seems there’s real interest in the project from the studio. That said, it’s rather depressing to me that the same writer won’t be continuing the story, becase dude turned in a hell of a draft on the last one. So, this falls into the “wait and see” category.

 

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

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Am I allowed to put a sequel on a list of movies that need sequels? I’m a big ole of del Toro’s first Hellboy movie, and a slightly disappointing second flick doesn’t dull my enthusiasm for the series at all. The Hellboy movies represent an oddball combination that somehow works; an endlessly fun mix of demonic lore, folk tradition, and Hollywood action.

Why we need more

Both the first and second Hellboy movies hinted at an apocalyptic endgame for the character. Really, it’s an essential part of his appeal. This is a big red demon, destined to bring about the end of the world, and he’s chosen to fight for the good guys. Though the first movie toyed with the idea in its conclusion, the second promsed even more dire times ahead for Hellboy, Abe and Liz. A true Hellboy apocalypse is a cool, huge idea that needs to make it onscreen.

Why we probably won’t get it

This is the entry on this list that I have actual hope for. If Pacific Rim blows the lid off the summer like I hope it will, maybe Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman, and the gang can suit up for one more round of hellish fun. And yet, between del Toro’s constantly full plates, Perlman’s age, and the somewhat niche appeal of the material, that’s a pretty big maybe.

 

Dredd

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Paul has been pretty vocal about this movie on the site so far, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Dredd was one of the biggest surprises of 2012. In a year full of half-baked premises and failed ambition, Dredd represented a movie that knew exactly what it came for and kept every promise it made. Plus, though I don’t want to be too reductive, it’s just awesome.

Why we need more

Because this is the most legitimately badass comic book adaptation to date. No, it’s nothing profound — despite some Verhoven-esque moments of self-awareness — but it’s a movie fully in control of its own identity. Karl Urban owns, his supporting cast is solid, and the world seems full of all sorts of dark crevices that the Judges need to clean out.

Furthermore, from a filmmaking perspective, Dredd was a relatively modest picture. If the filmmakers got this much movie with a third of a typical action budget, just think what they could do with more.

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Why we probably won’t get it

Despite strong showings once it got released on home video, Dredd was ultimately deemed a financial disappointment. Sure, part of that owes to uninspired marketing, and a LOT of it owes to the last Judge Dredd movie being a joke, but thems the truths.

Allegedly, there will be a comics-only continuation of the story, which you and I recognize as “yeah, that’s not really a sequel like we’re talking about.”

What about you? Any movies you think deserve sequels more than the ones that are already getting them?

 

16 Comments

  1. John May 7, 2013
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