These days, Hollywood is driven by sequels, remakes, comic books, and other old ideas. It’s gotten so bad that it’s as though there’s no room left for original ideas, and even if there are, they always get undermined by those big Hollywood blockbusters which reel in the money every summer. It’s particularly sickening because it’s literally the same thing over and over again. Hollywood doesn’t seem to have changed at all since the year 2000, and the movies that come as a result are getting less and less unique, and increasingly more dumb and boring.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this is Hollywood’s growing obsession with giving sequels to films that don’t need any, or resurrecting film franchises we thought were dead. This post is about the more egregious examples of this practice being developed by Hollywood even as we speak, and most importantly, why they could generally be considered bad ideas.
The Goonies 2
By now we’re all familiar with The Goonies, that adventure film starring a group of kids who go on an adventure to find the long-lost fortune of a legendary pirate. Written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner, this family-friendly matinee flick became a commercial success, and left its legacy as one of the most overrated films of the 1980’s. Despite its box-office success and obvious popularity, it never got a sequel, probably because the producers couldn’t come up with any feasible storyline for a sequel at the time. According to Richard Donner, however, this is going to change, as he intends to make a sequel to The Goonies with as much of the original cast as possible.
While I might admire Donner’s desire to be as true to the original as possible, I still can’t help but think that making a sequel to The Goonies in this day and age is an inherently bad idea. As overrated as it is, The Goonies was very much a film of its time. Back in 1985, noisy family-friendly adventure films like this were all the rage, primarily because they found a certain niche. They weren’t violent or serious enough to be rated R, but they weren’t cheesy enough to be just for toddlers. Perhaps that’s why the people who liked the film when it was new still like it to this day. Here in the 2010’s, something like The Goonies simply wouldn’t work, mainly because the cinemagoers of today aren’t the cinemagoers of 1985.
Indeed, today’s “family-friendly” films are a lot dumber than what we might have seen in the 1980’s, relying heavily on slapstick, cheap jokes, and committee thinking. Not only is there the distinct possibility that The Goonies 2 (for lack of an official title) will be beaten at the box office by dumber yet more profitable films, but it’s also feasibly possible that the Goonies sequel could try and stoop to the level of its competition, and the end result would be far worse.
Rush Hour 4
It would appear that Brett Ratner is interested in returning to his most reliable money-making franchise, and according to Jackie Chan, it looks like there will be a Rush Hour 4 after all. Basically, we’re going to have Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker team up for the fourth damned time in what is essentially a rehash of the previous Rush Hour films.
I don’t really have too much of a problem with the genre, but it’s an easily over-exploited one, and the Rush Hour franchise is a good example of this. The first Rush Hour film was hilarious, even if it’s dumb. Rush Hour 2 was flimsy, but still really funny. Rush Hour 3, however, was simply a bad film, primarily because it’s the same exact film as its predecessors with no improvement, and plagued with a terrible script. Bearing that in mind, what can we expect from Rush Hour 4 other than a cheap cash-grab sequel that’ll probably get pirated faster than you can say “Wheels on Meals”?
To be fair, at the very least Jackie Chan isn’t interested in doing just another sequel. When approached about Rush Hour 4, he said that he wouldn’t do the film unless it had a solid script. Given that Jackie Chan has made a lot of money doing original martial arts films, he could be forgiven for being tough on Rush Hour 4, or indeed Brett Ratner. Even though making a fourth Rush Hour film is generally a bad idea, we can at least hope that the producers are willing to listen to Jackie Chan’s demands for a quality script.
Indepedence Day’s sequel
Independence Day was a film that was garbage when it was new. It was little more than a trashy, overly long and overly expensive B-movie, and yet somehow it made millions of dollars, and is popular enough that its director, the painfully untalented Roland Emmerich, could go on to make more movies that were even worse, including an upcoming sequel for Independence Day. Apparently people liked the original Independence Day so much that the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, is set to be released next year, 20 years after the first film’s release.
Of course, there are several reasons why the original Independence Day was simply awful (aside from its equally shallow marketing campaign). By 1996, the whole “evil invading aliens” cliché had become so outdated that to this day, it’s still confined to the realm of parody. This was a few years after the Cold War came to an end, so the fear of utter annihilation from an enemy force would be a thing of the past. In terms of narrative, all Independence Day did was regurgitate the same clichés and repackage them for the cinema-going public of the 1990’s. Had it been made in 1988 or 1989, it would have been more believable. It’s also worth noting that the film has a strong tendency to wallow in gung-ho nationalism from beginning to end. In an era where American exceptionalism has been proven a myth, a film like Independence Day would be too out of touch with today’s world to even tread water.
I’m also very certain that the original Independence Day was only popular because Will Smith was in it. Of course, it’s been confirmed that Will Smith won’t be in the sequel, so I doubt that an Independence Day sequel would even be remotely profitable. Then again, Roland Emmerich is known for making bloated, overly expensive disaster films that leave a bad taste in your mouth, and given current trends, this film is destined to fail. It makes me wonder why he’s even bothering with this one?
Marvel’s untitled Spider-Man film
After The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony was going to make third and fourth film for what was the Amazing Spider-Man franchise. However, for some bizarre reason, probably dissatisfaction with the film’s performance, Sony decided not to go through with this arrangement, and a new Spider-man film franchise is now being developed for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Following this, and the cancellation of The Amazing Spider-Man 3, a new version of Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, is set to star in the next Captain America film, along with a completely new Spider-Man film, with the intention of completely rebooting the franchise.
Given that the Spider-Man films have proven to be consistently bad, why on Earth do we need yet another Spider-Man film to stink up the silver screen? If that isn’t enough, the next Spider-Man film is going to be another origin story. Hollywood has already told Spider-man’s origin story twice, and in both films it was really annoying to see Peter Parker as this whiny dork who constantly chases his so-called “dream girl”. Not only that, but if the new film is another origin story, then that means we’ll have to live with seeing Uncle Ben die again, and by now that scene will have lost all impact.
What really bugs me is that this is happening very quickly. It only took half a year for Sony to want to reboot the franchise, with the next film coming to theatres in 2017. Then again, all these superhero films are being made so quickly that they’re part of the background. It’s as though this kind of film is all that Hollywood wants to put any effort into, and that’s a very bad sign.
The planned Terminator Genisys trilogy
For the first time in 12 years, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to silver screen as the Terminator in what is planned to be the first film in a new Terminator trilogy. Unfortunately, Terminator Genisys opened to bad reviews and poor domestic box office. Also, it would seem that nobody even wanted the film to be made, and for good reason. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t a box office draw anymore. His latest films have been box office failures, including this film, which owes much of its failure to its ill-advised marketing campaign (putting an ageing action film star at the forefront of a summer blockbuster isn’t necessarily a good idea).
Although the film is doing fairly well outside the US, it still sounds like a very bad idea to do a whole trilogy for Terminator Genisys. After all, what is the point in making a whole sequel trilogy for a franchise doesn’t have much appeal for a younger audience (although I’ve heard that this film tones down the violence, which doesn’t help at all). By this point, the Terminator franchise has become another ageing film franchise that’s soldiering on as much as it possibly can. The two sequels being planned are probably going to be worse and worse, doing more damage to the Terminator name than even the awful Terminator Salvation could.
The point is that the Terminator franchise is one of those franchises from the 1980’s that passed its prime many years ago, and so a newer film in the franchise wouldn’t exactly be welcome, let alone an entire planned trilogy of sequels. What it does show, however, is just what’s wrong with the Hollywood of today. Hollywood is desperately short of ideas, and so they’ve resorted to resurrecting dead franchises to milk what’s left of them.
Of course, everything I’ve said in this post is speculation. Will any of these ill-advised films do well? Only time will tell what will become of them, but with Hollywood in the sorry state that it is, it’s pretty easy to predict a bleak future for them, and that will be all the more likely as the months and years go by.